June 2, 2020
When it comes to climate change, Maeve McDermott is taking a global approach, not only to the problem, but to her own education. A native of Midlothian, Illinois (and a diehard White Sox fan), she earned a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with majors in biochemistry and Spanish literature, as well as minors in Global Health and Environmental Studies. She has completed four semesters through the Accelerated Juris Doctor program at Vermont Law School. In the fall of 2019, she arrived at the storied University of Cambridge to pursue an MPhil in Environmental Policy. Earning the degree will take approximately ten months. Maeve took a moment out to answer some of our questions.
Why did you decide to study abroad?
During my studies at VLS, it became apparent that environmental issues are incredibly multi-faceted and must be viewed from a variety of angles. The MPhil at Cambridge appealed to me because it focuses on the economic and legal aspects of environmental policies.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
After graduation, I hope to work in international climate change policy. I would like to start out in D.C. and eventually work in South America.
How do you think your time at Cambridge will support your ultimate career goals?
My time at Cambridge has already advanced me towards my ultimate career goals. I have had the opportunity to attend climate change conferences and learn from international policy experts. I have also been immersed in the world of environmental economics and am beginning my research for my dissertation. Next week, I will begin a volunteer research position with the Climate Change Law and Governance Initiative under the guidance of Professor Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger.
I hope that my time at Cambridge will allow me to apply what I have learned in law school on an international level!
What do you feel are some of your greatest achievements at VLS so far?
I think my greatest achievements at VLS so far have been internal. Law school has taught me how to grow in professionalism and how to analyze written works on a deeper level. Courses like Appellate Advocacy have taught me how to respond thoroughly to questions. My summer research with CAFs taught me how write and polish products that I can be proud of. All my experiences at VLS have given me a greater confidence to enter the workforce and push for change.
What advice would you give to a student who is considering attending school at VLS?
VLS offers so many incredible opportunities. Your future, however, depends on what you make of those opportunities. Pursue your passions and apply yourself. Every question you answer, every professor you talk to, every brief you write, is helping you to grow as a lawyer and a person, so do not waste any moments.
Also, be bold! I recommend stepping outside of your box and exploring things you never knew you were capable of.
As a final thought, eat all the M&M cookies that you can from the VLS café. There is truly nothing like them anywhere else.