Students Dive into Summer Ocean Work

​By Sarah M. Reiter, Associate Director, Career Serv​ices and Adjunct Faculty ​​​​

Our students will be traveling far and wide this summer to experience law for the community and the world. We’d like to wish fair winds and following seas to Jaime Neary, Nicole Webbert, Vincent Puleo, Kaelyn Barbour, Amy Stevens, Simonne Valcour, and Rachael Swiatek as the embark on ocean-based work for their 1L summer. Spanning the waters of the continental U.S., our students will be tackling the major issues facing our ocean.

Splitting her time between National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offices headquartered in Washington, D.C. and her home state of California, Jaime heads to the National Marine Protected Areas Center, where she will be exploring the legal authorities for adaptive management in the face of climate change and contribute to the governance toolkit for Large Marine Ecosystems.

Nicole will also be interning at NOAA this summer, with the Office of General Counsel, Natural Resources Section’s Southwest Office in Long Beach, California. It was nearby in Torrance that the Montrose Chemical Corporation operated one of the largest DDT manufacturing plants in the world, releasing contaminated wastewater into the ocean through an outfall pipe offshore. Work on the site began over 15 years ago to restore the natural resources harmed by the chemicals released offshore, and is conducted through the Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program at NOAA.

Two students will work at boundary organizations—institutes that link science with decision-making—housed at other universities. Vincent accepted a position with The Earth Institute at Columbia University where he will gain exposure to the intersection of law and science as it pertains to ocean issues. Kaelyn journeys south to the National Sea Grant Law Center, which is based at the University of Mississippi. Here she will contribute to providing legal analysis to a broad constituency base of policy-makers and the general public.

Amy returns to her roots on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, with an internship at Chesapeake Legal Alliance, which is a network of attorneys providing pro bono legal aid to those working to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. Amy brings considerable expertise to this position, having completed an undergraduate semester focused on the interdisciplinary challenges facing the health of the Chesapeake.

Finally, two students will contribute to the ocean movement from inland states. Simonne will be by the banks of the White River taking courses, and plans to build on research conducted by Monterey Bay Aquarium to determine the legal strategies for addressing plastic pollution in the ocean. Rachael travels back to the Rocky Mountains, where she will work remotely for The Nature Conservancy on coastal resilience initiatives. We look forward to following the ocean journeys of these inspiring law students over the coming months, and wish them well in their summer endeavors!

GET INVOLVED

Learn more about Vermont Law School's JD program and the Water and Justice Program. Discover how you can get involved with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Vermont Law School and advocate for water rights.


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