How I chose my academic concentrations: I originally came into Lafayette as a Biology major because I had an interest and passion for the study of life, especially the effects that humans have upon such life. However, it was not as interdisciplinary as I would have liked, so I decided to pursue the environmental science minor, which touches on aspects of biology, geology, chemistry, and policy studies. I have always been intrigued by the law, so I decided to major in government and wanted to focus specifically on environmental law/policy. Having a strong science background makes it that much easier for me to understand some of the issues that we are facing today, so it has helped me immensely in understanding flaws within various laws and alternatives to circumvent some of the problems associated with them.
My favorite class at Lafayette so far: Biology 272, Conservation Biology with Professor Rothenberger. This class was as multidisciplinary as it could have gotten, integrating policy studies and biology together, which is necessary to get a holistic perspective on the issues that the environment is facing today, and the problems and challenges associated with human intervention and stubbornness. This class is the main reason I decided to pursue the environmental science minor, because it showed the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in tackling some of these issues.
The environmental issue I’m especially passionate about: Lack of control over water pollution, especially locally. There are many places around the United States where the water quality (both ground and surface water) has been degraded over time due to human pollution, which plays a significant role on the quality of the drinking water that people consume every day, and more importantly, why the government has not stepped in to remedy the situation.
I’m investigating water pollution issues by: Doing EXCEL research and independent studies with Professor Rothenberger. My project is focusing on the degradation of the Raritan River Watershed located within Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Monmouth, Somerset and Union Counties in New Jersey over the past 20 years. Specifically, I am looking at land use changes (i.e. what percentage of land has changed from forested areas to urban areas) and other possible sources of pollutants (i.e. landfills, waste water treatment plants, Brownfield sites, and Superfund sites) and integrating them with water quality data to point out specific areas where the pollution has come from. All of this information is being input into an ArcMap program, to specifically pinpoint those specific areas, and to have all of these different pollutant sources in one location for future use. Part of the data collection requires information and coordination from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and various local health departments in order to make this possible. I will be using this project as a case study for a potential honors thesis in the Government and Law department on the effectiveness of the various government organizations and branches to both enforce laws and how well they communicate between themselves.
Outside the classroom: When I’m not working on school work, I am busy being a Resident Advisor in Ruef Hall and writing and/or performing direct and cross examinations for the Lafayette Mock Trial team, where I have been a member for the last 3 years, and have been a captain of one of the teams for the last 2 years. Here is where my interest in the law started to manifest itself. I love the excitement of arguing a case, the quick wit that is necessary to answer objections, and pulling a case together in a closing statement.
I pursued my passion for law last summer by: Interning at a defense civil litigation firm in Parsippany, NJ, where I helped write motions, lines of questioning for depositions, and did some legal research. This helped me determine that I want to continue pursuing a career in law, hopefully in environmental law/policy, whether that is at a law firm or working in the government itself.