Environmental Mission Scholar Alumni

The Environmental Mission Scholarship supports students who come to VLS with a cause, and who want to use the power of the law to make a difference in their communities and the world. Mission Scholarships are available to students pursuing careers in public service, environmental stewardship, global advocacy, and innovation—the core values of the Vermont Law School education. The scholarships aim to provide not only financial support to students, but to offer mentoring and research opportunities in the student's chosen field. Below are profiles of Alumni Scholars.

2015 Environmental Mission Scholar Alumni

CHRIS DENNY,  JD MELP '18

Chris Denny '17
Alumni Update: Summer Legal Intern at Office of Chief Counsel, Pennsylvania Dep't of Environmental Protection, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Undergraduate:​​​​​ Villanova University, BA, Environmental Studies, Classics

Hometown: Havertown, PA​
Professional Mission: In whatever position I hold, I hope to combine my passion for the environment with my talents as a leader and an advocate.

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? ​

​My involvement with the Boy Scouts of America planted the seed for my environmental interests. In an ecophenomenological sense, I loved being in the environment when I was camping or hiking. From a scientific perspective, the Scouts gave me an opportunity to learn about soil and water conservation, environmental science, and world conservation. I continued learning about the environment as an Environmental Studies undergraduate student. After college, I worked as an environmental educator outside of Philadelphia, where my enthusiasm inspired students to value our creek and its surroundings.​

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?​

​I chose to become part of the Vermont Law School community because I wanted to study law with others interested in using the power of law to create positive change. VLS makes a promise to developing those types of leaders. Individuals who study law with purpose and a vision are what make the VLS community so invigorating. Vermont Law School also has the country’s leading environmental law opportunities for their students.​

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

I plan to utilize land management techniques that will mitigate poor storm water management in order to create healthier watersheds and healthier communities. My dream job will involve protecting water resources and open space as well as promulgating environmental justice.​​

 

TRISTEN DURAND​, JD LLM '18

Durand
Alumni Update: Legal Intern at Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Litigation and Enforcement Section

Undergraduate:​​​​​ SUNY College at Oswego, BA, Criminal Justice​

Hometown: Alexandria Bay, NY
Professional Mission: To go beyond environmental sustainability and develop a thriving environment through the power of law.​

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? ​

I was born and raised on the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York. My love for the river sparked my interest in water conservation and natural resource protection. The environmental experience I gained was through interning with the Watertown Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General in 2014 and 2015. As an intern, I was given the opportunity to create a proposal for groundwater legislation in New York State.

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?​

I chose Vermont Law School because Vermont Law produces students who enter the legal workforce with a passion and drive to better the world. And, the students have proven to do just that! ​

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

I aspire to become an environmental lawyer focusing on water law. I want to wake up each day excited to go to work. I want to fall asleep each night knowing that my contributions are making the world a better place. A job that satisfies both is my dream job.

PETER ALEXANDER INFANTE, JD ‘18​

Infante
Alumni Update: Research and Policy Intern at Food and Water Watch

Undergraduate: Union College, BA, Sociology​

Hometown: Falls Church, V​irginia​

Professional Mission: To protect our environment and those living in it through advocating for precautionary rather than reactionary laws and policies.​

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School?

In OSHA’s Office of Emergency Management, I provided guidance for workers during the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In Senator Sander’s (I-VT) personal office, I provided policy research for his Environmental Legislative Assistant. At Food & Water Watch, I documented the impacts of fracking and assisted Maryland communities in applying pressure on their legislators to pass a moratorium on the process.

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

I only applied to Vermont Law School because of its core environmental values and the professors that espouse them here. The school also offers the most comprehensive environmental curriculum in the country.

What are you career goals? What is your dream job?

Generally, my career goal is for polluters to fear my filings. My dream job is to work for the U.S. Department of Justice in pursuit of environmental protection.

​JULIA MUENCH RUMBURG, JD '18​

Muench
Alumni Update: New York Bar Candidate

Undergraduate: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, BS, Forestry​

Hometown: Hicksville, NY

Professional Mission: To leave this world cleaner than I found it.

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? ​

I graduated with a B.S. in Natural Resources Management from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 2008. I also worked as a community organizer for Community for Sustainable Energy, an independent 501(c)(3) in Fort Collins, CO from 2010-2011. From 2012-2014, I served in Peace Corps as a High School Biology teacher in Kenya, where I actively incorporated environmental education into the usual curriculum and started an “Environment Club” for students.

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

“Because the status quo is no longer acceptable.” – VLS’s Promise

After studying the school’s programs, reputation, relationship to its students and the community, and atmosphere of the student body, I determined that VLS and I share the same goals, and that VLS was the right institution to transform me into the lawyer I want to be.

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

I plan to be a lawyer of distinction in the field of Environmental Justice. I see myself working with an esteemed NGO, such as Earth Justice or the Union of Concerned Scientists, though facilitating change through government work is also appealing. My dream job changes on a practically daily basis, but right now Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice sounds fun.​

LUKE DONIGAN, AJD '17

Luke Donigan
Alumni Update: Phillips Lytle LLP

Undergraduate:​​​​​ University at Buffalo, BS, Environmental Engineering

Hometown: Syracuse, New York
Professional Mission: To become a legal expert to facilitate feasible solutions to environmental issues through a harmony of innovative engineering and legal theory. 

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? ​

I have grown up enjoying the outdoors through hunting, fishing, and camping. These activities have helped form my appreciation for the environment and all that it has to offer. My undergraduate studies helped form my belief that science, technology, and the law could all be used to develop sustainable solutions to today’s problems. 

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?​

I chose Vermont Law School because it is consistently the top environmental law school in the country.

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

My goal is to work in private practice, utilizing my engineering and law degrees to advise clients on sophisticated problems. My dream job would be general counsel for a large energy company.

 

2014 ENVIRONMENTAL MISSION SCHOLAR alumni

GREGORY BERRY, JD '16

Gregory Berry

Undergraduate: ​Shepherd University, BA, Mass Communications and Photography

Hometown: Manassas, Virginia

Professional Mission: To work for an international NGO as an advocate for sustainable policy

Summer Stipend: Legal Intern for Vermont Natural Resources Council, engaging in Act 250 Land Development hearings and providing legal analysis  that addressed property rights of dam ownership, statutory approaches to mitigate forest fragmentation, and successful countywide approaches to natural resource conservation using "smart growth" principles of development.

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

Prior to coming to VLS, I worked eight years with youth, using outdoor environments as therapeutic milieus to promote health and wellbeing, self-confidence and team values. From summer camps specifically for kids with medical needs to educational facilities and residential treatment centers, I’ve seen that the great outdoors possess great healing power. Nature can challenge or it can calm. It can invigorate the body or quiet the mind. It is at the very least a valuable tool to be preserved and available to all as a resource, a respite, and a refuge. I have also been fortunate to travel the globe as a field leader for an ecotourism/’volun-tourism’ organization that connects teens with local communities, nonprofits and government-run programs that address the global issues of species conservation, literacy and education, urbanization and the movement of people, and in the promotion of microfinance and economic growth, public health and religious tolerance. I have led large groups of teenagers to volunteer in Costa Rica, Belize, Turkey, Greece, China, Thailand and the American West.

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

I came to VLS because I have a desire to limit environmental damage created as a result of unhealthy human population and expansion. Courses at VLS provide an opportunity to craft laws that could help address such a pressing and sensitive issue, and the experienced faculty provides insight to the practical, political and social application of the law.

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

I would like to help governmental and corporate institutions realize what true positive growth is by advocating for those conservationist ideologies that are presently overlooked; business and government can succeed economically without exhausting valuable natural resources or putting other communities or wildlife in danger through the irresponsible use of water, the negligent disposal of waste products or the development of land without the conservation of open spaces in mind. My dream job is to work for an international NGO, as an advocate for policy that pushes the envelope toward reverence of the limited resources of the earth.​​​​

 

HANNAH BRUBACH, JD '17

Hannah Brubach
Alumni Update: Natural Resources Planner at Maryland Department of the Environment

Undergraduate: ​Elizabethtown College, BS, Environmental Science with a minor in Political Science

Hometown: Wesminster, Maryland

Professional Mission: To save the Chesapeake Bay

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

Before law school, in addition to my environmental science course work, I interned with the Lancaster County Conservation District where I worked with the Watershed Specialist and the outreach education department.

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

I was attracted to the interactive classroom environment and friendly students.  I also was very interested in the combining my law degree with the Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP).

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

My main goal in life is to save the Chesapeake Bay from water pollution.  I would like to work with local non-profits throughout the bay's watershed to develop higher standards and greater regulations.

 

NATALIE COLAO, JD '17

Alumni Update: Law Clerk, New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division

Undergraduate: ​Fordham University, BA, Anthropology with minor in Environmental Policy

Graduate: Hunter College, MA, Anthropology with a thesis on Urban Gardening and Sustainability

Hometown: New York, New York

Professional Mission: To provide a legal advocate for NYC’s urban farmers 

At VLS: Vermont Law Review, Volume 41, Editor

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

 I had experience as an urban gardening and sustainability advocate in New York City prior to coming to VLS.

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

I chose VLS because of its Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.  Aside from its unique nature, I was especially interested in its potential for growth as a newly established Center.  I hope to develop an aspect of the Center’s work focused on urban agriculture. 

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

I hope to use the knowledge I gain at VLS, specifically regarding Food and Agricultural law, and apply it to unique urban issues.  I have every intention to return home to NYC and provide an even stronger voice for urban farmers and the legal issues they face.  I am also interested in family law, with previous employment related to child welfare.  As there is an undeniable intersection between family and food, I would love to find a way to incorporate these two passions.

 

HANS EYSENBACH, JD '17

Alumni Update: Law Clerk at Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Undergraduate: ​Connecticut College, BA, International Relations with focus in Sustainable Development and Latin American Studies

Hometown: Newton, Massachusetts

Professional Mission: To enforce environmental laws and promote sustainable development

At VLS: Vermont Law Review, Volume 41, Editor

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

I used to work on environmental impact assessment and international development project management. I lived and worked for two years in Quito, Ecuador, for a small consulting company, Sun Mountain International, LLC.  While there I traveled around the Caribbean, Central America and Africa to complete environmental short-term technical assistance assignment for projects funded by USAID and other international donors. I moved back to the U.S. and worked as a sub-contractor for two years on a U.S.A.I.D. Global Environmental Management Support contract implemented by the Cadmus Group, Inc. 

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

I choose VLS for its top-ranked environmental law program, wonderful location in Vermont, a leader in the environmental movement in the U.S., and a chance to re-focus my environmental work in New England.

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

I hope to work on environmental issues that are threatening communities in the U.S. and the world. My dream career path would be working for the government on environmental regulatory enforcement or a private firm working to keep business and community on a path to “do-no-harm” while pursuing sustainable development.​

 

LOGAN HARRELL, JD '17

Logan Harrell
Alumni Update: Litigation Attorney at Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Undergraduate: ​Texas A&M University at Galveston, BS, Ocean and Coastal Resources with a minor in Economics​

Hometown: Arlington, Texas

Professional Mission: To contribute to an interdisciplinary team focused on coastal issues

At VLS: Vermont Law Review, Volume 41, Articles Editor

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

Outside of my coastal environmental science courses, I worked on a few research projects. One such project was an exploratory study on the impact of Texas coastal wetlands based on wetland permit data. Another project evaluated disaster management procedures for Texas coastal counties as a subset of a Gulf Coast study. 

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

I initially chose VLS for the prestige. I asked multiple advisers when applying to law school and VLS was repeated if I wanted to focus on environmental work. I confirmed my choice after visiting because VLS offers so many great opportunities through course work and experiences. I also loved the atmosphere at VLS. 

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

My career goals are broad at the moment until I start taking more environmental courses. My dream job is contributing to an interdisciplinary team focused on coastal issues. I believe collaboration efforts are necessary when solving these complex issues.

 

LAURA HARTZ, JD '17

Laura Hartz
Alumni Update: Attorney at Orr & Reno

Undergraduate: ​Hamilton College, BA, English Literature and Biology

Graduate: Tufts University, MS in Agriculture, Food & Environment Program 

Hometown: Wiscasset, Maine​

Professional Mission: To decrease the environmental impacts of agriculture and promote agricultural sustainability

At VLS: Vermont Law Review, Volume 41, Articles Editor
Summer Stipend: Legal Intern at Conservation Law Foundation in Portland, ME,  providing legal research on a variety of environmental law issues including ocean acidification, microbead legislation, farm labor, food policy councils, and public utility commission proceedings. 

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

I completed my MS with a focus on agriculture, climate change, and environmental policy. I worked for an environmental consulting firm on energy and agriculture issues, taught sustainability at an honors high school, and worked as the assistant director of a farmland tenure/social investment start-up.

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

I chose VLS because it is the best environmental law school in the US!  VLS fit my goals because it has the programming and resources to evaluate our current agricultural system with an environmental law lens.

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

I hope to work on the national level to decrease the environmental impacts of agriculture. At the moment, I think that my dream job is to litigate to reduce environmental pollutants and/or to design agricultural policy that meets the twin objectives of reducing environmental impacts and promoting agricultural sustainability.

 

BRYANNA KLEBER, JD '17

Bryanna Kleber
Alumni Update: Associate at Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green PA

Undergraduate: ​Middlebury College, BA, Double Major in Environmental Studies with a focus in Nonfiction Writing and Russian Language

Hometown: Pepperell, Massachusetts

Professional Mission: To work as an environmental attorney for a firm or a government agency

At VLS: Vermont Law Review, Volume 41, Articles Editor, 2016 Debevoise Moot Court competition; Best Argument Petitioner

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

Before going to college, I spent a year in South America on an environmentally themed expedition: I worked at a sustainable urban planning office in Curitiba, Brazil and implemented strategies and practices on a farm in Costa Rica to make it 100% self-sustaining. While at Middlebury, I spent a semester at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, VT and The Sustainability Academy in Burlington, VT teaching elementary school children outdoor education and sustainability. In my Environmental Studies thesis work, I analyzed the effect sustainable dietary lifestyles have on women of childbearing age. I lived in Russia for a semester to research my Russian senior work, which was focused on environmentalism in Russia and explored the way “The USSR dictates Russian forestry today.” In Vermont, I have directed my efforts to promoting The Way to Go Challenge in Rutland County: I co-authored a study for Vermont Agency of Transportation and presented it to Mayor Louras. This study included a complete GIS analysis of the live/work communities in all of Rutland County. 

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

 I chose VLS specifically for its excellence in environmental law.

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

I hope to work as an environmental attorney for a firm or a government agency. ​

 

​PATRICK MARASS, JD '17

Patrick Marass
Alumni Update: Law Clerk at Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Undergraduate: ​University of Maine, BS in Biology, BA in Political Science

Hometown: Springvale, Maine

Professional Mission: To advance long term water protections and promote the public interest in Maine

At VLS: Vermont Law Review, Volume 41, Head Notes Editor, 2016 Debevoise Moot Court competition; Best Brief Respondent and Best Argument Respondent
Summer Stipend: Cavers Legal Intern at the Conservation Law Foundation in Portland, ME, completing legal research and writing assignments on wide array of topics including: Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, Clean Water Act permitting, Maine Public Utility docket proceedings, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission jurisdiction and licensing.

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

After graduating in 2009, I worked as an AmeriCorps Volunteer for the Watershed Management Division of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection where I worked with non-profit organizations in watershed protection efforts throughout the state. I then worked as an environmental consultant at FB Environmental, a small water resource consulting firm in Portland, ME. My work focused on watershed management plan and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development and implementation in lake and stream watersheds throughout New England. For the last two years, I worked at the Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District where my work focused on watershed management plan development and implementation in urban stream watersheds throughout Cumberland County, Maine. I managed watershed restoration projects aimed at characterizing and addressing non-point source pollution by collaborating with state and municipal officials as well as watershed residents and businesses.

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

I chose VLS because I have a desire to use the power of the law to effectuate change. Here, I can be part of an entire community with that same focus. 

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

I plan on returning to the great state of Maine and working on public interest environmental issues. Eventually, I would like to work on injecting a more long term approach into the decisions addressing the threats facing freshwater and marine environments so future generations can continue to utilize these essential resources.

 

VICTORIA SCOZZARO, JD '17

Victoria Scozzaro
Alumni Update: Associate at Law Offices of Wyatt and Associates

Undergraduate: ​Baldwin Wallace University, BA, Sustainability and Business

Hometown: Wadsworth, Ohio

Professional Mission: To lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

At VLS: Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 2016-2017, Notes Editor

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

With an undergraduate degree in Sustainability, I had the opportunity to take many environmental courses, as well as obtain several environmental internships. I worked with the Sustainability Plan Clinic, the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium, and Ohio Citizen Action. I was also the President of our campus’s Students for Environmental Awareness (SEA) club for 2 years. With this group, I hosted fund raising events, awareness events such as documentary screenings and guest speakers, and I was able to host volunteer opportunities such as beach clean ups through the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and volunteering at Earth Fest through the Earth Day Coalition. 

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

After working in a variety of environmental fields, I realized that my voice would be best heard through the use of law. My work with Ohio Citizen Action as a door to door canvasser not only humbled me but made me realize that I wanted to be the best lawyer I could be in order to speak for those who normally would not be able to have representation in the legal system. I quickly became acquainted with the environmental law program at VLS and that’s when I knew I would attend VLS. 

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

As a child I actually dreamed of sitting on the US Supreme Court, I guess you could say that is still a dream of mine! However, now I am more focused on leading the EPA of the United States. 

 

STACY SHELTON, JD '16​​​ 

Alumni Update: Associate Attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center, Atlanta, Georgia

Undergraduate: ​Georgetown University, BA, Political Science

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Professional Mission: To protect wildlife and provide legal counsel to a high level federal executive or legislative branch of government

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

I spent seven years as the environment reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and five years as a public affairs specialist for the Southeast Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

I chose VLS for its commitment to public service, its excellence in the field of environmental law, and its vast support system for students and alumni. I also chose VLS because it is one of the few law schools that offer a law degree in two years. ​

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

Generally, I want to help ensure we save room for wildlife as the global population continues to grow and expand developed areas. Specifically, I want to help update the Endangered Species Act by using the best science and legal means available to preserve ecosystems.  As for my dream job, I have several: Advisor to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; staffer on the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Senate Committee for Energy and Natural Resources or the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources; or the chief counsel or executive director for a non-profit conservation organization.

 

KORAL SKEEN, JD '17​

Koral Skeen
Alumni Update: Associate Attorney at Rhoades McKee PC

Undergraduate: ​University of Michigan, BA, Political Science and Spanish

Hometown: Muskegon, Michigan 

Professional Mission: To use the power of the law to transform food systems

At VLS: Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 2016-2017, Social Media Editor, 2016 Debevoise Moot Court competition; Best Brief Petitioner

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

I have been a vegetarian since I was fourteen years old, and my interest in the environment comes from my years of research about food safety. 

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

I knew VLS was the right school for me the moment I found it. There isn't another law school with comparable environmental courses and that is the type of atmosphere I wanted for law school.  I came to VLS specifically because of the specialized courses in food and agriculture. 

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

I came to law school because I believe lawyers have the skills and know how to use these tools for change, and I want to change how people think about food, how food is processed, and how the one thing that keeps us alive is actually killing us and the planet.​​

 

JACKLYN VELASQUEZ, JD '17

Alumni Update: Equal Justice Works Fellow at Midwest Environmental Advocates

Undergr​aduate: ​Central Washington University, BS, Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Social Sciences 

Hometown: Big Pine, California  

Professional Mission: To work with Tribes on cultural resource protection and environmental advocacy

What environmental experience did you have before coming to Vermont Law School? 

Prior to attending VLS I worked for the Big Pine Paiute Tribe as their Environmental Technician. I spent my time learning from and working with Tribes, local, state and federal agencies on various environmental issues that impact the Tribe and community at large. My experience working with the Tribe helped steer my legal career toward environmental advocacy.

Why did you choose Vermont Law School?

 After speaking with other environmental professionals in various agencies, I decided the high academic standards and environmental reputation of VLS would provide the best school for me. 

What are your career goals? What is your dream job?

 I’d like to work with Tribes on cultural resource protection and environmental advocacy. My dream job would be working with Tribes in California so that I can be close to home.