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College of Arts and Sciences

Zoey Costanzo: ‘My law course challenged me in completely unconventional ways’

April 29, 2019

Zoey Costanzo


Laguna Beach, CA 

What was your favorite class and why?

The Death Penalty in America (LAW 4051). I took this course my sophomore spring and it inspired me to officially become prelaw. This course challenged me in completely unconventional ways. I constantly had to push through my emotional responses to a crime and force myself to only apply the legal logic I was learning to a given case. I constantly felt my boundaries being pushed in this course, and these challenges, along with the rigorous coursework, inspired me unlike any course ever has.

What is your main extracurricular activity — why is it important to you?

My main extracurricular activity has always been research. I was lucky enough to gain a spot as a research assistant as a second-semester freshman in Michael Goldstein's laboratory. Joining his lab has shaped my entire college career. Though I eventually switched into Stephen Ceci's lab to focus on the application of psychological science to legal issues, being consistently involved in research and having the opportunity to network with some of the most prestigious scholars in these fields exposed me to so many fascinating ways to engage with a subject. I love that research not only allows people to better understand a certain phenomenon but also how influential research can be in instigating real change.

What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

Next year I will be working in Washington, D.C., at a federal consulting firm. Last summer, as an intern at the same firm, I worked with web developers and business interns to create an anti-bullying web application that could ideally be deployed by a federal health agency. I do not know what my project will be upon my return, though I hope it will be related to health or justice. In 10 years I hope to be graduated from law school, practicing criminal law, hopefully still in Washington, D.C., with the end goal of becoming a law professor or judge.

 Zoey Costanzo

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