Since graduating from the Professional Writing (PW) program in 2015, Simon Zagata has made the transition from MSU to William and Mary Law School in Williamsburg, VA. He is on track to graduate with his law degree in the spring of 2018 and has several professional goals he hopes to pursue after completing law school.
One goal is to work with survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse. “I want to go into domestic violence prosecution because I think there is a place for people who look at those issues and say something has to change here instead of just enforcing the status quo.” He says his interest in this issue originated from working with WRAC faculty member Professor Stephanie Amada, conducting research about hookup and rape culture on college campuses.
Simon also has plans to run for public office. Thinking big, he is considering running for the Federal House of Representatives as a Michigan representative as soon 2020, but also notes he can gain a lot from starting at the State House here in Lansing. He says his desire to run for public office was influenced by witnessing the kind of divisive campaign rhetoric seen in the recent presidential election, something he would like to see change. He also hopes to help make access to societal opportunities more equally available.
“I think it’s pretty clear that no matter your race, creed, or culture, if you have children, you want your children to have a better opportunity than you did,” he said. “I think there are a lot of policies right now that don’t reflect that reality or don’t treat people equally. It is important to me to provide legitimately equal opportunities to people no matter where they are from.”
Outside of school and work, Simon is involved with the William and Mary Moot Court Team, traveling to competitions and enacting mock appellate or Supreme Court arguments. He can also be found volunteering with the school’s public service fund to raise money for students going into public service positions over the summer. In his spare time, he coaches the William and Mary club hockey team.
As Simon looks ahead to his future, he mentions how the PW program helped prepare him for law school. “I still remember my first day of my legal writing course [in law school]. The professor said writing briefs for the court is all about knowing your audience, and I had a flashback and thought I accidentally walked into a PW class!”
In particular, the courses he took on the Communities and Cultures track helped prepare him for policy discussions in law school. “I think PW helps diversify your viewpoint a lot, in ways other majors might not.” He notes that these courses also prompted him to begin to consider what communities he would like to help and how he could use his legal training to help them.
Written for WRAC by Rachel Nanzer