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Danielle Changala , MELP 2010 with energy certificate/JD 2013

A photo of Danielle Changala
The more tools you have, the more powerful a player you can become. That’s what I wanted.”

The path has been interesting for Danielle Changala. "I started out looking for a graduate program in environmental studies with an emphasis in policy. A one-year master's degree from Vermont Law School was ideal."  As she took upper level classes with JD students, however, she became more interested in the integration of law and policy from a lawyer's perspective. She also began to specialize in energy.

"Energy is the number one driver of climate change. That's where I wanted to have impact. I spoke with my Vermont Law School professors and realized that in order to advance positive change in energy and environmental policy, I needed a JD. The more tools you have, the more powerful a player you can become. That's what I wanted."

Vermont Law School has taught Changala the crucial importance of being at the forefront of policy initiatives and law. She has witnessed how much the energy industry, and Vermont Law's cutting-edge curriculum, evolves each year. "Professor Weisman's course on renewable energy is constantly changing as the industry changes. You can't stand still and be at the forefront of the energy discussion. Vermont Law is exceptional in part because it is committed to evolving its curriculum to reflect current changes in science, industry, and policy ."

Attending a conference through her first summer employer was a pivotal moment for Changala. "I sat at that conference with the energy program directors of all the major national and international environmental organizations. I was with brilliant, inspirational leaders in the field, and because of Vermont Law School, I understood the complex issues implicated by energy law that these leaders were there to learn for the first time. In that moment I realized how powerful my education is.

"This is the preeminent environmental law school. While the sequence of my degrees may not have been traditional, it has trained me to be an effective lawyer in the evolving practice of environmental law. Because of Vermont Law I have developed my own path-academically and professionally."