Teachable moments lead to a career in law
December 3, 2012
Penn State Law student Joy Simpson '15 has devoted her career to helping young people fulfill their dreams. She taught in Florida public and parochial high schools as well as community college, typically focusing on English literature, writing, and composition. Yet when a teaching colleague died suddenly, she asked herself whether teaching was the career in which she wanted to spend the rest of her life.
“I always taught my students to be the person they want to be, to follow their dreams and live a life without regrets. I taught Thoreau. We discussed living deliberately, living an examined life, and sucking the marrow out of the bones of life, so to speak.” She paused to explain that she is not normally a big Transcendentalist and did not really talk about bone marrow that often. “I knew I was talking the talk and now it was time to walk the walk and act on my dreams.”
Excellence in Teaching
To Simpson, law school is “boot camp for the brain.” She appreciates the teaching styles she has encountered so far, including Professor Nancy Welsh and her enthusiasm for pushing students to be better thinkers and advocates, and Professor Gary Gildin’s passion for civil rights and courtroom advocacy.
Simpson is particularly motivated to pursue a career in education law. In addition to her time in the classroom, she is the parent of a son who is on the autistic spectrum. “Pennsylvania has been fantastic as far as social services and helping my son acclimate to a new school,” she remarked. “It’s a much different attitude than you see in Florida, where lots of special needs kids are just on their own.”