I'm interested in the environment. What can ASL offer?

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Katie Kennedy

For New York native Katie Kennedy, going to law school was initially a "back-up plan."

The Class of 2013 member is a scientist at heart, but she wanted to "take a more proactive stance" on changing the environment by pursuing a law degree. The Long Island native chose ASL because of its environmental law courses and graduate certificate in Natural Resources/Environmental Law, a partnership with Virginia Tech.

The SUNY-Stony Brook graduate connected with future classmates through Facebook before coming to ASL. The "very diverse" group helped her feel at home in small-town Grundy. "My friends from Nevada and Florida made me feel like I'm not an outsider because we are all from different places," she said.

Katie is a first-year student senator and the secretary of the Black Law Students Association. Her busy life at home in New York drew her to become involved in student life, she said. Staying involved "helps with the transition and keeps me motivated academically," she said.

This summer, Katie will complete an externship with the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. Her work will focus on policy enforcement: specifically, compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires federal agencies to consider environmental factors before taking action. She previously interned with the CARIACO Project, where she worked on finding cleaner energy solutions and documenting oceanic climate change.

So far, Katie has enjoyed her Contracts class the most. Her professor, Steve Parsons, "is someone I look up to," she said.