Alumni Bios – Original Phillips Scholars

Scholars from our original 1991 cohort of awardees share how the Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship impacted their education, community, and life.

Deidre Johnson

Deidre is a corporate attorney at Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, where she leads the Pre-merger Group under the Antitrust Group. Her team analyzes and obtains clearance in the US and globally for corporate mergers and acquisitions. In 2021, Deidre was named Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers for her antitrust work in Massachusetts. Deidre is a graduate of Northeastern Law School and Boston College. When she was a Phillips Scholar at Boston College, she felt the scholarship was instrumental in helping her advance her education. She continues to carry on the spirit of the Phillips Scholarship both at work and beyond. She writes, “in the days since being a Phillips scholar, I have come to recognize that service includes even seemingly small informal acts and actions – for example, everyday kindness and mentoring – to help others advance in their personal and professional lives.” More formally, Deidre serves as Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Public Service Committee and has participated in several pro bono cases at her firm, primarily helping victims of human trafficking and those seeking asylum.

Rachel Miller

Rachel is a National Board-Certified high school English teacher in West Virginia who is passionate about supporting underrepresented students in their educational journeyShe serves as the advisor for a health and sciences program at her school that mentors students who are economically-disadvantaged, rural, African-American, or the first in their families to attend college to prepare them for STEM-based majors  in college. Rachel reminds her students that she would have been in the same program when she was in school because she also came from an underrepresented background. Rachel was a Phillips Scholar for four years at Bethany College, where she majored in public relations. She writes that the scholarship allowed her to attend her dream school, and “the fact that the Phillips scholarship assisted the family was truly a difference-maker. I’m sure I would not have been able to attend Bethany without it.” Moreover, leaving college with minimal student debt allowed her to eventually follow her heart and become a teacher. She writes, “The Phillip Scholarship helped me have the financial freedom to pursue what I believe to be my calling rather than feeling the pressure to keep a job strictly for financial reasons.” In addition to teaching and mentoring within her school, Rachel mentors other teachers going through the National Board Certification process, as studies have shown that the certification has a positive impact on student learning. 

Henry Soo Hoo

Henry graduated from Dartmouth College and has been living in New York and working in the financial services industry ever since. Having spent time as a technology executive at firms JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and TIAA, he recently took a position at Wells Fargo working to transform the organization into a tech-forward digital-first company. Beyond his regular duties, Henry has engaged in sustainable living efforts and initiatives to promote awareness of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) cultures and history. He shared that the Phillips Scholarship was a blessing. He writes, “the scholarship gave me confidence that I was deserving of such a prestigious award. And I took that confidence with me through college and beyond.” 


Jim Tierney

Jim leads the New England region business for global real estate services firm JLL. Though his path there was winding, law, government and real estate have intersected in each phase of his career. Following graduation from Georgetown University, Jim worked for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and for a consulting firm in Chicago. After earning a JD from Boston College Law School, he practiced law in the Boston office of a large international law firm focusing on civil litigation and election law. He then served in the administration of former Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino during his final two terms in office. Jim notes that service has always been a part of both his professional and personal life. In addition to working on Capitol Hill and in municipal government for a city that he loves, he has served for more than 20 years on the boards of directors for two non-profit organizations – one dedicated to serving high school students and families with unique social and educational challenges and the other focused on the power of using student writing to improve their lives and bring about a more just society. He also serves on four boards of directors for business organizations working to strengthen our communities. On top of all this, Jim is a frequent volunteer for a number of youth-oriented organizations in his home community of Melrose as well as in direct service to causes like ending homelessness and eliminating hunger in our region. He writes, “service has been an essential part of my life since my days as a Phillips Scholar. I am grateful that the Phillips Scholarship helped me develop the confidence to chart my own path in college and beyond.”