WMU-Cooley Law Dean's Fellow Mya Hurwitz: Teaching and learning goes both ways


WMU-Cooley Law School

WMU-Cooley Law School student Mya Hurwitz never really thought about what she wanted to do as a career as she was growing up, but she absolutely understood that her parents expected her to be a doctor or a lawyer. It’s almost cliché in many families, and Hurwitz was no different as she began her career journey.

With her parents’ expectations as her initial guiding force, Hurwitz signed up as a biology major in her first year of college, only to realize that a medical career was not going to work for her. She quickly shifted to psychology, focusing on child development. She enjoyed many things about this path, like the home visits and interacting with children from varying backgrounds and family dynamics.

She wanted to clarify her interests though, so she started signing up for numerous elective courses; but it was an elective in an environmental law class that spoke most to her.

“It just sparked something in me,” said Hurwitz. “I really enjoyed it. We got to implement a new environmental plan for the city that got approved by the board there. It was such a cool and unique experience. Looking back, I am forever grateful I let my friend talk me into taking that class!”

Hurwitz continued down this path in college, then applied to Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus. She loved that Cooley offered smaller classes and greater access to professors.

 “When I first came here, I remembered in my first class of about 30 students, the hands-on attention I got from my professors. I also could get answers from TA’s and Dean’s Fellows. There were plenty of opportunities to get one-on-one attention whenever it was needed. I really utilized those resources, which is why I think I did so well my first year.”

But it was the student-on-student mentorship and her experience with the Academic Resource Center that moved Hurwitz to apply for a Dean’s Fellowship. She learned so much in her first year and she wanted to give back to her fellow students and colleagues, and “do what people had done for me.”

Hurwitz always knew that she liked helping people but found that working on problems with fellow students offered something she didn’t expect. She learned as much from them as they did from her.

“When I have helped students, I started noticing that I would always manage to learn something new myself,” explained Hurwitz. “It’s that back-and-forth conversation when you figure out someone else saw it in an entirely different way. I think that is the coolest part about being a Dean’s Fellow; realizing everyone takes in information and learns differently, and you both get to learn something new.”

The other thing that Hurwitz enjoys about being a Dean’s Fellow is being able to take bits of knowledge and piecing them together in an understandable way.

“Another very rewarding thing that I’ve experienced is when I get to see the light bulb go off in someone else, especially when they suddenly get a concept they were struggling with. Everyone comes to you with a basic understanding, but it’s that newfound ability to put together the whole story that is so remarkable.”

But teaching and learning isn’t cookie cutter. In fact, from Hurwitz standpoint, she tailors her instruction for the individual.

 “The process can be different, considering people can sometimes have different ways of learning,” explained Hurwitz. “I find that the best way to help someone is to come up with a few different strategies to approach a lesson. Sometimes it’s making a chart or drawing something out for a visual learner, or sometimes I just write something down to hone in on a tactic. I’ve noticed that many students like charts. Seeing how something flows has helped a lot of the students I’ve worked with.”

As busy as Hurwitz is in the classroom and as a Dean’s Fellow, she still finds time to be involved at Cooley, including being the current president of its Student Bar Association (SBA).

“I remember when I started at Cooley, I already knew that I wanted to be involved because, honestly, I have always been involved in college, high school, whatever,” shared Hurwitz. “I know that being involved allows me to make an impact and learn leadership skills. So, when I started, I immediately got on the e-board of the Student Bar Association (SBA). I started as the SBA alumni chair coordinator, which, of course, opened my opportunity to be a Dean’s Fellow and now the president of the Student Bar Association.”

For Hurwitz, each opportunity seemed to open a new pathway for involvement, including making headway on her networking skills to secure a position after she graduates. She is currently enjoying working at a civil litigation firm, although she doesn’t want to close any doors at this point.

 “I have a lot of interests,” shared Hurwitz. “I know that I like litigation and estate planning, but like the idea of considering trending areas like Artificial Intelligence. There’s also corporate law and working as a general counsel too. I have always enjoyed working with clients and people, so I’m hoping to fit that into whatever I end up doing in my career.”

Hurwitz sees herself staying in Florida, even though she and her family are originally from Michigan, just like Cooley Law School’s first campus.

“My mom always jokes about it, she’s like ‘oh you’re going back to your Michigan roots.’ I would consider working in Michigan, but I mostly see myself staying in Tampa. After all, I did decide to go to law school here, and have been developing and networking in the area. I also see myself raising a family here.”

Hurwitz has just a couple pieces of advice for law students: Make sure you utilize your resources and get as much advice from as many people as you can.

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