Food for thought: Law school student eyes career in FDA related work

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

With a love of math and science, Morgan Rogalke originally had medical school in mind—until, during her junior year of undergrad at Michigan State University, she discovered a passion for nutritional science and fitness.

“I added nutritional science as my second degree as a backup plan to med school, and then decided to go to law school after various shadowing experiences,” she said.    

Rogalke was attracted by the diversity of the legal industry, and the opportunities available to those with a law degree.

“I was at a crossroads. I examined my traits and personality, and the skills and lifestyle align best with a legal career where I can still pursue my passion of nutritional science,” she said.     

Remaining a Spartan, Rogalke is now a 2L student at MSU College of Law, and has particular praise for the faculty.

“Many of the professors have really enhanced my experience at MSU Law—they’ve shown me the sky’s the limit,” she said. “I can find my own niche in the legal field, and still purse my passions that are science related.”

Rogalke’s goal is to work with companies that produce food products or pre-workout supplements, and make sure they are compliant with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Anything that has to do with FDA compliance is of great interest,” she said.

Rogalke is a member of the MSU American Inn of Court that meets once a month at MSU Law’s Castle Board Room.

An amalgam of judges, lawyers, law school professors and students, an American Inn of Court is designed to foster excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility and legal skills.     

“It gives an insight that I can’t receive anywhere else at the law school,” she said. “The discussions are also usually really interesting and engaging, and I enjoy discussions with practicing attorneys while networking to get real world scope. They explain their experiences and life lessons that we can apply to our careers.”   

AIC membership is divided into “pupillage” teams, with each team consisting of a few members from each membership category; each team conducts one program for the Inn each year.  Rogalke’s team included Judge James Jamo, and attorneys Charles Barbieri and Christopher Patterson, among others.   

“I’ve really enjoyed working closely with attorneys and judges when choosing a topic to present to the Inn of Court members,” she said. “I’d recommend Inn of Court because of the opportunities it allows such as networking, and learning valuable insight in the current practices of the legal industry.”   

Rogalke spent last summer as a student clinician in the law school’s Immigration Law Clinic, where she enjoyed working closely with faculty, and with unaccompanied minor children.

“The most memorable part of the internship was attending an asylum interview with a client in Chicago,” she said.    

The summer also included a four-month internship at Robert J. Sayfie, P.C. in Grand Rapids, where she learned about patent and trademark applications, and worked on a few patent disputes that were going to litigation.    

A member of the Student Bar Association in her 1L year, Rogalke also is an MSU student ambassador.

“I have many experiences and insights to share,” she said. “I feel this is a great way to give back to the school, and I hope to leave every admitted student with a positive experience at MSU Law.”

Away from legal studies, her passion is fitness and nutrition. Certified as a personal trainer last August through the American College of Sports Medicine, she has been working in that capacity at MSU since last October.

A marathon runner, she also hopes to compete in a physique competition in the next couple of years.

“I work out 6 to 7 days a week on top of being a personal trainer and school — I try not to go a day without it,” she said.

Rogalke, who is a Eucharist minister and lector at MSU’s St. John Catholic Church & Student Center in East Lansing, also is passionate about sports.

A native of Lowell, east of Grand Rapids, who makes her home in East Lansing during law school, Rogalke plans to head to Florida or Texas after graduation.

“A southern state has always been part of my vision,” she said.

She is very close with her parents, sister Abby and brother John.

“Neither of my parents is an attorney, but are very successful in their careers,” she said. “I would not be in law school, or a personal trainer, without them. They’ve raised me with strong morals and work ethic and encourage me to pursue all of my goals. They are my best friends.” 

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