Michael Pratt

Major: Political Science/Legal Studies
Hometown: Redding, CA
Class: Junior
Program Position: Paralegal intern at CLIC and member of two AS councils

How did you first get involved in your multiple roles with the Associated Students?
I transferred from Shasta College where I was the President of the Student Senate. I was eager to be involved here, so I applied and was jointly appointed to Event Funding Allocation Council (EFAC) and the Multicultural Affairs Council (MAC). Then I heard people talking about CLIC (Community Legal Information Center) in one of my Legal Studies classes and decided to check it out because I want to be a lawyer. I ended up applying to be a paralegal intern for their Public Benefits Advocacy Program (PBAP).

How would you describe your AS council positions?
Both councils review proposals for student events. Our job is to safeguard students’ money to be sure it is used appropriately. EFAC considers proposals for any type of event that is open to all students. Proposals for MAC events have to have a multicultural theme which can cover a wide spectrum. It could be a cultural performance or activity central to a specific culture. The main objective of the event should be to expand students’ understanding of multiculturalism on our campus.

How would you describe your role at CLIC?
As a paralegal intern, I do research, writing, calls to clients, and gather information for attorneys at the Legal Services of Northern California. We advocate for clients who are seeking public assistance through Medi-Cal, Medicare, SSI, CalWORKs, etc.

What does working in these various arenas of the AS do for you personally, professionally, or academically?
My CLIC experience is so relevant to my Legal Studies major. I’m physically engaged in the legal process rather than just reading about it in a book or hearing about it in a classroom. And the work I do can potentially have real world legal consequences for someone. I get to see the scope of what happens in a legal office so I can decide if this is what I really want to do. I’m also able to network and make connections which will better prepare me for the legal world.

My council roles are personally rewarding. I get to help my fellow students. I feel like I am contributing to enriching the environment on campus. It’s a unique opportunity to give back, and I have a real sense of accomplishment through my work with the councils.

What do YOU bring to the table in your various AS roles?
At CLIC I can empathize with the clients because I have a firsthand background in working with people seeking public assistance. I can understand why they get frustrated with bureaucracy and contradictory information. I can share that knowledge with other interns so they understand the mindset of the people they’re trying to assist.

For my council work, I have great legislative experience (including Robert’s Rules of Order) from my Student Senate experience at the community college and state level. I think that helps me in guiding some of the council discussions and in helping newer members feel more comfortable with the process of decision-making.

What are your career plans and how does your involvement with the AS better prepare you for that path?
I want to go to law school, but not sure what type of law yet. There are so many options. Eventually I’d like to go into local politics. I’d consider returning home to Redding. I’d like to be able to have a local impact – to make a difference. All the skills that I’m learning at the AS, like event planning and conflict resolution will serve me well in any path I follow.