Centre connections pave way for exciting law internship
One Facebook post started a chain reaction this spring that enabled Centre College student Prathyu Matam ’17 to land a prime law internship, and the occurrence isn’t at all unusual. With Centre connections in every corner of the globe, students have a strong support group helping them to fulfill the Centre Commitment.
The message that Matam, an English major and history minor, was looking for a law internship in Lexington, Ky. was posted on Facebook by Mindy Wilson, assistant director of the Center for Career & Professional Development.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology Robyn Cutright saw the post and immediately thought of Walters Meadows Richardson, PLLC (WMR), the insurance defense firm in Lexington where her husband Drew Meadows is a partner.
Though she’d never had Matam in class, the fact that she was a Centre student was a strong recommendation.
“I was impressed that she was looking to do a summer internship relatively early in her time at Centre,” Cutright said. “I think it’s really important for students to try out potential careers and gain experience in different work environments that might interest them.”
Another connection involved Melissa Thompson Richardson ‘04, a partner in the firm. She was excited to help Matam and the school that had given her so much.
“When I was a Centre student, I participated in an externship with an attorney in Somerset,” Richardson said. “I hoped to later be in a position to share that type of experience with others from Centre, and I am thankful that I am able to give back in this way.”
For Matam, the internship is a perfect fit. She first explored law in high school while participating in the Teen Court program, in which students are trained on how to formulate opening and closing arguments, conduct direct and cross examinations, and also assume the roles of bailiff, juror and clerk.
She used that training to represent a teen defendant who had committed a petty crime, giving her a taste of the Fayette County legal system outside of mock trial organizations.
“I had the extraordinary power to affect a teenager’s—essentially a peer’s—perception of the judicial system,” Matam said. “I decided to seek out a law internship so that I could acquire a better understanding of how this judicial system operates on a larger scale.”
At WMR, Matam engages in research tasks for attorneys, has written and proofread changes made to the firm website and is reconstructing the medical records procedures with one of the law clerks.
“I interact with the attorneys regularly, all of whom are very approachable and never hesitate to provide me with guidance, whether that be with a task or discussing my future in law,” she said.
Other Centre alums work at the firm as well, giving Matam confidence to continue her education in law after graduation. She feels camaraderie with them and often gets solid career advice on her future goals.
“Being able to speak to somebody in the profession I one day desire to work in is certainly enlightening, but sharing the connection with their alma mater is a profound experience,” she said.
Richardson agrees. “I have always thought that the ‘Centre mafia’ was special—at various times in my life I have run into people who have helped me get ahead just because of our mutual connection with Centre. It is a special bond that is unexplainable to those who haven’t had the Centre Experience.”
Pictured from left to right: Drew Meadows, Prathyu Matam ’17 and Melissa Thompson Richardson ’04 at WMR.
by Elise L. Murrell
July 27, 2015