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Student Spotlight

From Bioethics to Boxing, Woodley '16 Opens New Paths

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By Lauren Hammont

After meeting with a U.S. Supreme Court justice, interning with the attorney general’s office and this summer at an insurance firm, Mishka Woodley '16 hopes to make legal help more accessible to the general public.

“I am not sure whether I will end up working in the public or private sector, for the government or for a firm that advises and defends individuals and organizations,” said Woodley. “Either way, my ultimate goal is to make a positive impact, wherever it may be.”

Woodley was originally on a pre-med path at the University of Virginia, where she received her undergraduate degree in biology and bioethics. However, while studying bioethics, the Kingston, N.Y., native was exposed to the fields of philosophy, psychology, policy, and law – all of which fascinated her. Prior to law school, she began her professional career teaching children with autism, assisting social security disability applicants as a paralegal and playing an administrative role in the Education Division of CFA Institute.

“Transitioning into law made sense for me with my interdisciplinary and public service background,” said Woodley. “I am now able to incorporate the humanities and social sciences with my health care interests.”

She is currently working toward her M.S. in bioethics policy from Union Graduate College and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, while simultaneously working on her law degree at Albany Law School.

When asked how she manages to pursue all of her interests and still maintain a healthy work-life balance, Woodley states, “My mom and dad have always encouraged me to 'bloom where you are planted' and I have tried to follow that advice by participating in new and diverse experiences at Albany Law School and in the community. My M.S. program nicely complements my law school experience because I have the opportunity to engage with professors and students academically and socially from all over the world.”

When needing a break, Woodley spends time with family, friends, and loved ones.

“A friend of mine owns a boxing gym in Albany that I like to go to with my classmates,” laughs Woodley. “We just go and box together; it's a really great mental activity. It helps me clear my head.”

While at Albany Law, Woodley has gained regulatory and prosecutorial experience through field placements with both the New York State Attorney General's Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She also had the opportunity this past March to travel to Washington, D.C., with one of her peers and represent Albany Law School in a meeting with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Woodley maintains that this has been the highlight of her time so far at Albany Law.

“We had a meeting and a Q&A session with Justice Thomas which was really informational and inspiring. We were able to see oral arguments before the Supreme Court – the experience really symbolized the impact of our profession and the work that we do back here in Albany.”

Woodley is currently interning at Guardian Life Insurance in Pittsfield, Mass., where she engages in legal and investigatory research and writing related to life and individual disability insurance issues.

She advises incoming law students to resolve their own visions for their futures.

“Choose wisely and follow your own path according to your strengths and interests rather than always following the path that other people say you should. Engage in every class, internship, event and social interaction with professionalism. Be present, be in the moment.”