Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Austin Simko

Looking back: Throughout my Wheaton career, I built the knowledge and skill sets for the study and practice of law. I participated in student government, three singing groups, three musicals, a drama production, the campus newspaper, and a campus job – all enriching experiences. They instilled in me both personal management skills and self-confidence, illustrated how knowledge and systems interconnect, and showed me that varied and balanced living is a recipe for continuing growth. Wheaton’s liberal arts curriculum prepared me for the study of law by improving my written and oral communication skills, demanding high quality analysis, and by making me comfortable with ambiguity.

Personal attention: During the second week of classes my freshman year, my political science professor invited me into his office to pique my interest about upcoming scholarship opportunities. Another professor arranged an interview for me in the Government Relations Department of Sylvania, Inc. He drove two hours to attend my interview so he could, in his words, “Make sure they give [me] important work.”

Real experience: Wheaton is an environment of unparalleled nurturing. The fall of my junior year, the Filene Center told me of an internship opportunity at a local nonprofit organization. I won this spot and worked at that very nonprofit the year after I graduated as its Director of Public Policy. This internship-turned-job exposed me to aspects of the law such as land use instruments, drafting legislation, and analyzing statutes – dealing with these issues increased my comfort level with often dense legal materials and convinced me that “the law” was for me.

Current endeavors: Internalizing the lessons I learned at Wheaton has enabled me to multi-task now, from taking classes at Boston College Law School and competing in moot court competitions to serving on Wheaton’s Alumnae/i Board of Directors. Wheaton’s academic rigor trained me for the demanding study of law, and its liberal arts approach taught me how to analyze and advocate even when certainties are hard to find. Wheaton has made possible what I am doing and where I am going.