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Every year, we hear from many law and science students across the country who are eager to volunteer at ELAW.

This summer’s fleet of volunteers holds terrific promise. We celebrate this next generation of grassroots advocates!

ELAW summer 2013 volunteers

L to R: Hayley Langmas, Eliza Pearce, Laura Krogman, Melina Zamalloa, Marissa Knodel, and Killian Doherty.

Marissa Knodel is in the dual degree program with Vermont Law School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She blogged about her summer at ELAW on the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy website.

Killian Doherty has spent many years in Latin America, and has returned to the U.S. to study law at the University of Oregon. Together with Marissa, he spent his summer helping the ELAW legal team improve environmental legislation, challenge corruption, and create sustainable futures for communities around the world.

Hayley LangmasLaura Krogman, and Eliza Pearce have helped the ELAW science team identify resources for a mangrove database, used GIS to create maps, and conducted research on environmental threats. All three are in the University of Oregon Environmental Science Program. Melina Zamalloa, a women’s and gender studies major at UO, is a jack of all trades. She helped with numerous administrative projects.

Not pictured are Marika Jaeger, pursuing a career in conservation at Stanford University, Addie McGuire, who just returned to the University of Pennsylvania, and Pia Parisi-Marcoux, a high school junior from New York City.

Many thanks to ELAW volunteers for their time, enthusiasm, and dedication to making the world a better place.

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director

I decided to study law at the University of Oregon  because of the school’s strong public interest environmental law program and because the  Eugene community is especially active addressing  environmental concerns. I had no idea that I might find in such a relatively small city the U.S. office of a dynamic international network of more than 300 public interest environmental advocates from 70 countries.  With plans to study international and  environmental law, as well as human rights, I could not have been more pleasantly surprised to learn about ELAW and I sought out opportunities to work with the organization. In the past two years, I have been involved with ELAW as a volunteer, as an extern during the school year, and currently as a summer legal intern.  Through these experiences my appreciation of the ELAW network continues to grow.

Many people describe ELAW as a family.  I couldn’t agree more.  It’s a particularly large, dispersed, and multicultural family, and it functions more democratically than most families I’ve known; but, the loyalty, reciprocity, and humanity which one perceives among ELAW partners, staff, and supporters makes the characterization inescapable. ELAW is a family whose members are working tirelessly for a more sustainable and more just society, and while each person uses her or his particular skills to tackle environmental and social concerns closest to her or his home or heart, the rest of the ELAW family is always ready to help.

Me with ELAW partner Ali Athar Qazi from Pakistan

Me with ELAW partner Ali Athar Qazi from Pakistan

As an extern this spring, I had the great opportunity to participate in the ELAW Annual Meeting.  The five-day event felt like a big family reunion.  I didn’t know many of the participants at the Annual Meeting, and I didn’t know anything about their personal histories and relationships to one another, but I could tell that they shared important experiences, values, and aspirations.  Whether participants were engaged in serious debate or raucous play, there was a constant collective enthusiasm to be among like-minded and hard-working advocates for the public interest.

Working in the ELAW office as a legal intern this summer has only deepened my appreciation of the ELAW network. Every day, I get to collaborate with and learn from brilliant advocates as they work together to tackle new (and some not-so-new) environmental challenges   around the world.  There is never a dull moment.  Most of the research questions I’ve been assigned are fascinating but challenging, and some are occasionally frustrating.  Of course, the moral satisfaction of contributing to such important efforts makes up for even the most frustrating of assignments.  And, if the moral satisfaction weren’t enough, the ELAW staff always go out of their way to express gratitude for the contributions of volunteers, interns, and other supporters.  Similarly, the ELAW staff make a concerted effort to ensure that volunteers and interns enjoy and benefit from their experience with ELAW.  This summer, interns and volunteers have been invited to join visiting ELAW partners for discussions, lunches, and other events, including a couple of field trips in and around the Eugene area.  And, despite their demanding workload, the Staff Attorneys often offer legal interns a choice between two or more projects so that we may work on issues and areas of law of personal interest.  Like most strong families, ELAW gives ample support to its newest and youngest members.  And perhaps it’s not surprising that professionals dedicated to the protection and promotion of human dignity would treat their interns with so much respect, but it sure makes an unpaid summer internship enjoyable and I think it reflects well on the character of the ELAW family.

Killian Doherty
ELAW Legal Intern

ELAW Interns (left to right) Pia Parisi-Marcoux, Addie Maguire, Marika Jaeger

ELAW Interns (left to right) Pia Parisi-Marcoux, Addie Maguire, Marika Jaeger

Throughout the year, ELAW relies on dedicated volunteers, interns, and pro bono experts to fulfill our mission of helping communities speak out for clean air, clean water, and a healthy planet. This summer, ELAW is collaborating with a talented team of interns who bring a wide range of skills to the organization.

Recently, we shared a post from ELAW Legal Intern Marissa Knodel who blogged about her internship experience on the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy website.  Marissa is working with ELAW’s legal team to help communities around the world advocate for environmental justice. Read on to learn more about ELAW’s interns and what they are doing to make the world a better place.

Legal Intern Killian Doherty began collaborating with ELAW as a volunteer in 2011. He has spent most of his adult life in Latin America, and has now returned to the U.S. to pursue a law degree at the University of Oregon. Killian is working with ELAW partners around the world to improve environmental legislation, challenge corruption, and create sustainable futures for their communities.

Marika Jaeger is a rising sophomore at Stanford University who is contributing her French translation and website development skills to ELAW. She paints, dances, and plays guitar in her free time and plans to pursue a career related to conservation and ecology.

Laura Krogman is beginning her senior year in the University of Oregon’s Environmental Science Program. She has been assisting ELAW’s science team since April with a variety of projects and is now focusing on mangrove research.

Science Intern Hayley Langmas

Intern Hayley Langmas

Hayley Langmas is starting her senior year as an Environmental Science major at the University of Oregon. She has been interning with ELAW since April and assists ELAW’s science team with research and reviewing Environmental Impact Assessments.

Addie Maguire has volunteered with ELAW since high school and is returning to Eugene as an ELAW intern after her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania. She is studying European History and Public Health, and volunteers as a mentor to youth in Philadelphia.

Pia Parisi-Marcoux is a high school junior from New York City who loves playing softball, playing music, and volunteering in her free time. She joins ELAW this month to assist staff with data entry and research.

Alia Payne is a rising junior at Macalester College who is studying Geology. She recently returned to the U.S. after five months of volunteering in Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia. Later this summer, she plans to travel to Mongolia.

Intern Eliza Pearce

Intern Eliza Pearce

Eliza Pearce is a Geography and Environmental Science major entering her junior year at the University of Oregon. She is helping ELAW’s science team identify resources for a mangrove database and is using her GIS skills to create maps to help represent ELAW’s work around the globe.


Intern Rachel Smith

Rachel Smith is a dedicated volunteer who recently completed an internship with ELAW through the University of Oregon Career Center, using her research and illustration skills. She is a licensed massage therapist and storyteller who works to make the world a better place.

ELAW Inter Nick Warren

ELAW Intern Nick Warren

Nick Warren began interning with ELAW in January, assisting the development team with events and outreach. A few weeks ago, he graduated from the University of Oregon and completed his ELAW internship. Nick is now working with the development team at the Western Environmental Law Center (WELC). Congratulations Nick!

Many thanks to all of ELAW’s interns and volunteers for their time, enthusiasm, and dedication. For more information on volunteering or interning with ELAW, click here.

Melanie Giangreco
Volunteer Coordinator

Marissa KnoedelEach summer, ELAW welcomes an interdisciplinary team of interns to our office in Eugene, Oregon. This week, Legal Intern Marissa Knodel blogged about her experience at ELAW on the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy website.

Marissa is earning a dual degree through Vermont Law School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is working with ELAW’s legal team to help communities around the world advocate for environmental justice.

Marissa begins her blog post: “The next time I am asked whether I can be an advocate for people and places with the least information, access to, and ability to obtain a just, healthy, and resilient future, and have a career, I can confidently answer  ‘yes!’”

She goes on to say, “Largely dependent upon volunteers and unpaid interns, the ELAW community is more value- than profit-driven. Non-profit legal work, in sum, is simultaneously rewarding and humbling in the most satisfactory way. ELAW has already taught me that to be a more effective environmental and public interest lawyer, one must first identify as an environmental and community advocate.”

ELAW is delighted to be working with Marissa and other aspiring environmental and human rights defenders to build the next generation of committed public interest advocates.

To read Marissa’s full blog post, titled, “Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide in Eugene, OR: Where Lawyers are Advocates,” click here.

Keep an eye out for a future post about ELAW’s intern program and how you can get involved.

Melanie Giangreco
Volunteer Coordinator

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