Derrick Raphael '06

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017
by jfaires

Meet FSI Alum Derrick Raphael ’06!

Derrick Raphael ’06 grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. At Princeton, he majored in Sociology and received a certificate in African American Studies. Derrick chose Princeton not only because it was the best university in the country, but also because he felt that Princeton provided a stellar academic environment. Attending Princeton, he says, was a huge achievement for his entire community as not many students left Fayetteville.

As an incoming first-year student, Derrick participated in the Freshman Summer Orientation Program (FSOP), currently known as FSI (the Freshman Scholars Institute). His favorite FSOP memories include frequenting popular restaurants such as Hoagie Haven with friends as well as building strong connections with his advisors and peers.

At Princeton, Derrick lived in Mathey College and was a member of numerous campus organizations. He co-founded the Princeton University Pre-Law Society, co-created the Princeton Caribbean Connection (PCC), and participated in both the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Black Men’s Awareness groups.

During his time at Princeton, Derrick decided to study abroad in Jamaica at the University of the West Indies. He loved it and describes it as a transformative experience. Studying abroad strengthened his belief that Sociology was the right major for him as did his relationships with Professor Miguel Centeno and Professor Patricia Fernandez Kelly (both of whom still teach at Princeton today in the Sociology Department). In fact, Derrick met Professor Centeno through a class he took during FSOP!

Derrick met some of his best friends at Princeton – a few of his groomsmen were even fellow Princetonians! He loved Princeton for its academic and non-academic aspects, and describes his experience here as impactful. The most important thing he believes Princeton taught him was that both relationships and networks matter, and that the two are intertwined. To him, the basic

information learned at Princeton can be learned at any other school, but the people surrounding you here are unique.

If Derrick could change something about Princeton, he would make all eating clubs more inclusive. He believes that all of them are heavy on tradition, and that it wouldn’t hurt for them to become a little more open to students of all financial backgrounds.

Derrick’s words of wisdom to Princeton students are to develop friendships with peers who are different – whether that be racially or socioeconomically – as it will expand your horizons. He also recommends that students utilize all of the resources provided while enrolled and to pursue what you are passionate about while young.

At A Glance: Derrick Raphael ’06

Major: Sociology, certificate in AAS (African American Studies)

Residential College: Mathey College

Favorite Activity: Bonding with friends and faculty

Current Occupation: CEO for the Global Trailblazers of Today (GTT), a comprehensive college preparation company working with young people around the world.

If you could be any building on campus, which building would you be and why:

The Carl A. Fields Center, because it was the building attracting the most diverse students on campus at the time. It was always filled with energy as well as a multitude of cultures.

You can contact Derrick by email at: