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Checking In with Erin Magoffie ’20

Highly-involved and civically-minded, Erin Magoffie ’20 will attend the University of Virginia School of Law

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If there’s ever been a student to take advantage of everything Simpson College has to offer, that student is Erin Magoffie ’20. Three majors. Two minors. Varsity athletics. Greek life. Student ambassador. Study abroad. Exploreships. You name it, she did it. Thanks to her impressive — and very full — resume, the English, French and political science triple major from Arizona will attend the University of Virginia School of Law, a top-10 school in the nation. There, she will pursue her passions of environmental justice and environmental law.

About Erin

Hometown: Anthem, Arizona
Majors: English, French, Political Science
Minors: Biology, Sustainability Studies
Involvement at Simpson: Women's soccer, Culver Fellow, Model UN, Speech & Debate, Student Ambassador, Wesley Service Scholar, Tri Delta Sorority
Exploreships at Simpson: MSNBC (runner during Iowa Caucus), Earthjustice (in Washington, DC), Arizona Forward, Biosphere 2, U.S Consular Agency (in French Polynesia), Congressman Andy Biggs' Office, Senator John McCain's Office, Congressman Trent Franks' Office, was a finalist for internships at both Disney and NASA, both of which were canceled due to COVID-19
Graduate Program: University of Virginia School of Law
Recognition at Simpson Honors Convocation: Outstanding Senior in Political Science. Outstanding Senior in World Language and Culture Studies, Overall Outstanding Senior in Humanities Department, Alpha Lambda Delta Society Maria Leonard Book Award

Q&A

You had a lot going on at Simpson. Three majors, two minors and participation in countless clubs, organizations and Exploreships. What is the plan for your career?
I'm going to be an attorney! I'm particularly interested in environmental justice and environmental law.

Why environmental justice?
To me, environmental justice is the perfect combination of all my skills and passions. I really enjoy the natural sciences, the duality of law and social justice issues speak to me; environmental justice combines each of these areas in one platform.

Did you have an "aha" moment that drew you to environmental justice?
My love for environmental justice was solidified with two important experiences, my time in Tahiti and working for Earthjustice. When I was in French Polynesia, I learned about French nuclear testing during the 1960s and I became angry when I was told how the Polynesian people were treated during and after that period. I felt like they deserved someone to fight for their right to a healthy environment. I knew I wanted to be an environmental justice attorney after interning at Earthjustice because no task ever felt like a chore and I saw first-hand how environmental harms are intertwined with social justice issues.

Simpson College graduate Erin Magoffie shakes hands with U.S. Senator John McCain
One of Erin Magoffie's numerous Exploreships during her time at Simpson College was an internship with former U.S. Senator John McCain in her home state of Arizona. Magoffie has been accepted into the University of Virginia Law School and plans to practice environmental law.

You'll be attending law school at the University of Virginia, the No. 8 law school1 in the country. What made your application stand out?
My internships were pivotal in helping me land a spot at a prestigious law school. Virginia didn't accept me because I went to a highly-recognized national university like Columbia or Harvard. Instead, they recognized that I'm earning the attention of well-known organizations without a big-name school paving the way for me. This tells schools that Simpson prepared me for the real world and that I didn't rely on a school's name to open doors for me. Virginia accepted me because my résumé speaks for itself. 

Did you utilize the Office of Career Development at Simpson?
Oh absolutely! I used Career Development to help network, write letters of recommendation, practice with mock interviews and — most importantly — help edit my résumé. I can't say a big enough thank you to Bobbi Sullivan (director of career development) for all of her support!

Why did you choose Simpson in the first place?
It's funny, my one requirement for an undergrad was that I DIDN'T want to study in Iowa. I have family from Iowa and I used to visit for family reunions. The weather in Iowa is not my favorite — from buggy humid summers to icy winters and blizzards in May? No, thanks! But then I visited the campus and I fell in love! I knew the people here would support me and push me to excel in a diverse set of areas. 

What are you going to miss the most about Simpson?
The close-knit community! I love walking around and recognizing familiar faces on campus. Simpson is a small school, but it has big opportunities if you're willing to take the initiative and go after them. ROLL STORM! 

1According to U.S. News and World Report's 2021 rankings



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