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Charlotte Cohn
IEE Graduate

Charlotte Cohn

Utility Policy Analyst
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

MERL, 2019

Charlotte Cohn


"When I realized I wanted to pursue a Master's degree in energy policy, most degree programs I looked at in that field still focused on fossil fuels. Only VLS had a specific focus on renewable energy, and a robust legal education besides. I knew that I would be surrounded by like-minded people passionate about protecting social justice and the planet. I wanted to understand our national energy regulatory system in order to work within it and change it for the better. The MERL program allowed me to focus in on that, while at the same time providing a legal background, including land use law, environmental law, and legislation & regulation, to understand the broader context in which these systems operate. The fact that the program was only a year allowed me to reenter the workforce and deliver practical, human-focused solutions to the global crisis of climate change. I would never have found this opportunity were it not through VLS. I learned about my job through the alumni network, relied on my experience working in the Energy Clinic during my interview, and my references were people I'd worked closely with at VLS as well. More broadly, I would probably not have considered moving to Washington, DC to work in energy policy, had it not been due to the influence of the MERL program and the people I met here."