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Andrew Wilson ’10 qualifies as a pioneer of sorts: the first attorney in his family and a man with a somewhat remote upbringing.
Born in Anchorage, Alaska, Wilson grew up in the Adirondacks, and now lives in Delaware.
Today, Wilson is External Affairs Manager for the Medical Society of Delaware, a science-policy-and-advocacy position not entirely unlikely for a once-aspiring chemistry major.
“I spent my early childhood at Great Camp Sagamore,” said Wilson, “until my sister and I outgrew the two-room elementary school in Raquette Lake … my family moved to Saranac Lake” — where he graduated from high school.
Enrolling in St. Lawrence University as a chemistry major, he graduated in 2006 as an English writing major and philosophy minor: “My parents always said that two of the most important skills to have in life are to always be learning and to be able to convey ideas.”
“Law came onto my radar as an option well into undergrad,” Wilson said, describing a philosophical decision-making process. “I became galvanized to work on some of the great challenges facing the country and the world right now. I decided I wanted to dive in and do my part by pursuing a seat at policy tables.”
Exploring law school options, he said, “Albany won out because of the interconnection between the school and the state capital.”
Wilson soon found his interest in environmental law widening.
“Many of our most pressing challenges are interconnected,” he said. “So I studied a range of issues during my time at Albany Law and since graduation.”
Sharing a house with four friends from St. Lawrence who all remain close to this day, Wilson enjoyed Albany.
“The access to a tight alumni network, state agencies, the highest court in the state, and one of the largest and most prolific state legislatures in the country — all within walking distance of each other — is an incredible opportunity for any student,” he said.
Wilson was Editor–in-Chief of the Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology, a summer intern with a local firm, and a student intern at the Center for Law and Innovation. He graduated cum laude with the Gary M. Peck ’79 Memorial Prize in Environmental Law, then was a Graduate Legislative Fellow with N.Y. Sen. Jeffrey D. Klein and Counsel to the New York State Senate Independent Conference and to the Senate Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee.
At the Medical Society of Delaware, “I work directly with lawmakers and regulators on behalf of physicians to craft policy and law for the betterment of the health and welfare of Delawareans,” Wilson explained.
“The Medical Society of Delaware is a relatively small nonprofit of about 20 employees, with only two in-house working directly on policy,” he added. “In such an environment, there's not a lot of waiting around for something to get done because you're the one to do it.”
Of his experience at Albany Law School, Wilson said, “Professor Lytton pushed me the hardest academically; following him around for four classes in government practice single-handedly kept me out of magna cum laude, but it's a decision I don't regret for a moment. Professor Hirokawa really showed me the importance of branching out and seizing professional opportunities such as publishing, attending conferences, and building a professional network.”
Wilson noted he recently had a “small world” moment when he saw of photo of Professor Ray Brescia with U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) — along with U2 singer Bono. “It turns out that (Brescia and Coons) have been friends since their own law school days!”
Moving to Delaware required a second bar exam, but Wilson is enjoying the opportunities of his new position, as well as his experiences in professional development and running political campaigns — and now he’s engaged to a woman from Delaware.
“We’re getting married this spring,” Wilson said, “and couldn’t be happier.”