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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

At this point, I have completed two-thirds of my summer internship with ELAW.  I have to say, it took me a couple weeks to adjust to Eugene, but I think I have finally found my niche. I am not ready to think about leaving in another couple of weeks.

Since my first day in the office, I have learned a great deal.  Growing up in coastal California, my exposure to environmental issues was often limited to wetlands, water and air pollution, and rolling blackouts.  It wasn’t until college that my world opened up and I began to understand the vast differences and similarities of environmental issues faced around the world. Working at ELAW has provided me an opportunity to research global environmental concerns I never would have been exposed to in my legal education.

Bern and Harper Johnson

I truly value the knowledge I have gained about environmental law on an international scale. Yet, if I had to pick the one thing that has made the greatest impression on me, it would have to be something that took place inside the very walls in which I work, just across the hall.  A couple of weeks ago, I overheard our Executive Director, Bern Johnson, helping his daughter write about her interest in the environment.  When I was a little girl I wanted to save the tigers.  I didn’t know how, but I was determined to save the tigers and the black panthers.  My focus has shifted since then, but as I listened to Bern’s daughter compose her thoughts and carefully choose her words, the message was clear: she wants to protect and clean the oceans.  Obviously, the work her father does is not confined to his office, and when he goes home in the evening he takes his knowledge and passion home with him.

This, to me, is the best part about working at ELAW.  It isn’t a job – it’s a passion.  The people I work with, whether in person, via Skype, or via email, all understand the importance of the work they do, and they care.  I will probably never meet, or even speak with, most of the partners I drafts memos for, but I understand the value of their work and am grateful for the chance to contribute.

When I arrived at ELAW I knew I wanted to commit my career to environmental law, but that’s fairly non-specific.  It only took a few weeks, and I now have a much better idea of how I plan to do that:  by working to protect human rights and the environment.  Protecting the environment is not just preserving endangered species or ecosystems; it is also protecting and improving the lives of people.  The two often appear to be in conflict, but as I work, I learn that is not the case at all.

The knowledge ELAW has provided me, and the passion it has instilled in me, are two things I will carry with me throughout the rest of my career.







Rachel Rivers
Legal Intern

We are thrilled to welcome three summer interns to ELAW! Our internship program is one of the many ways we engage with students interested in learning more about public interest environmental law and help them gain experience in the field. Interns come to us from all around the country and from many different backgrounds. Each brings a unique perspective and we are excited to begin working with them.

Zach, Aleah, and Rachel

This summer, we have two legal interns who will be researching the answers to legal questions posed by our partners around the world. Rachel Rivers is entering her third year of law school at Pennsylvania State University. Rachel grew up in the Bay area which she says “exposed [her] to a culture focused on reducing one’s carbon footprint, and working for change,” and informs her interest in working at ELAW. She has an interest in the intersection between human rights and the environment and looks forward to learning more about issues of displacement of native and local communities for the sake of environmental protection. We also welcome Zach Klonoski who is entering his third year at the University of Oregon Law School. A native Oregonian, Zach has a particular interest in climate change and energy legislation.

We also welcome our Summer program intern Aleah Jaeger who will be working on many projects throughout the summer. Aleah is a rising junior at Whitman College pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and Sociology with a minor in French.  She will use her French skills to translate documents and help partners in the Caribbean with their websites. She will also be working with ELAW Communications Director Maggie Keenan on our Fellowship program.

We are ecstatic to welcome these new faces to our office. They bring an enthusiasm and willingness to learn that is refreshing and inspiring. We hope they too will be inspired by their experience in public interest environmental law and will continue this important work far into the future.

Michele Kuhnle
Donor Liaison

2010 summer law interns, Ashely White and Joanna Reilly-Brown

At ELAW we have a comprehensive volunteer and intern program. As many non-profits know, supervising volunteers takes time and energy. Before establishing a volunteer program, groups must ask themselves, “ Do the benefits outweigh the time commitment?”

At ELAW, the answer has been yes! One reason is because we are fortunate to work with highly motivated, hard working, and sharp volunteers. This week is National Volunteer Week, and we’d like to take this opportunity to recognize the amazing contribution of our valuable volunteers.

During the school year, law students from the University of Oregon School of Law complete internships with ELAW’s legal team, researching the answers to legal questions posed by our partners around the world. During the summer, ELAW accepts one or two applicants for a competitive legal internship position, where the student(s) engages with the network full-time. ELAW has also relied on scientific support from interns and expertise from scientists around the world who offer assistance on various cases.

In addition to the pro bono and legal support, ELAW relies on office assistants for much of our day-to-day help. ELAW volunteers complete a variety of jobs including (but not limited to) database entry, assistance with mailings, research, Spanish, Chinese, and other language translation, event set-up and facilitation, tabling, and loads of other jobs.

2010 science intern, Laura Syron (third from left)

One goal of ELAW is to help build the public interest bar. Many of ELAW’s office volunteers are students, who have expressed an interest in law, environmental protection, activism, or human rights. Facilitating a volunteer program is one way that ELAW can help expose young environmental advocates to the work that trained lawyers and scientists are doing, while motivating the students to follow their desires to help people and help protect the environment.

The feeling is mutual. As the Volunteer Coordinator, the most rewarding aspect of my job is to be in the presence of energetic and optimistic young people. ELAW volunteers work many hours, and they do it with a smile and a great attitude. They come from diverse backgrounds and have varied interests and skills. They motivate me to work harder and often remind me of why I started this work.

Addie is an example of a star volunteer. Addie is a Junior at South Eugene High School’s French immersion program. Addie comes into ELAW every week for a couple of hours and works hard. She has helped with mailings, updated our database, done research for newsletter articles, and used her French skills to help review and edit the French translation of ELAW’s Guidebook to Evaluating Mining Project EIAs. Addie is looking at colleges on the east coast, where we know she’ll do well. We hope she sticks around ELAW until then.

Justin is ELAW’s newest volunteer. Justin is a Spanish and Latin American studies major at the University of Oregon. He gets to practice his translation skills while contributing to partners in the ELAW network. Justin translates messages and documents between English and Spanish, so that information is more widely available to our partners. While practicing his Spanish, he is also learning more about global environmental and human rights issues. He has studied abroad in Guatemala and Chile and brings his experiences working with indigenous communities to ELAW. Welcome Justin!

Chu (Cassie) Chen, ELAW volunteer Program Associate 2009-2010, with Zhang Yonghua, 2010 ELAW Fellow from China

Cassie must hold the record for most hours volunteered at ELAW! After Cassie graduated from the University of Oregon with a Masters in Environmental Studies, she completed a one-year, full-time, unpaid internship with ELAW. Her contributions were priceless. Even now, three months after her internship officially ended, Cassie is still helping ELAW review Chinese translations. While an intern, we were fortunate to see Cassie get married, and now we’ve learned that she’s expecting a baby – a new addition to the ELAW family!

ELAW has many other volunteers who have given hours of valuable time. Happy National Volunteer Week to you all, and thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Lauren Ice
ELAW Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator

It was my first day at ELAW. I rode my bike from home, passed a dog park, crossed the river and followed a clean and quiet bicycle path.  A lovely house surrounded with green bamboo appeared to me twenty minutes later – I’m at the ELAW office!

My name is Chu Chen, but I go by Cassie. I will do an internship with ELAW for one year.  I have lived in Eugene since 2007.  I grew up in the city of Rui’An (one urban area of Wenzhou), Zhejiang province of China.  My family still lives there.

People have asked me why I chose ELAW. Well, there are several factors attracting me, including its commitment to environmental justice, its international background and its location in Eugene.  Also I knew ELAW people when I was a student in University of Oregon.  Meche Lu, a friend of mine, works here as an environmental research scientist.  And I took a class of Environmental Justice taught by Vannia Glasinovic, a previous Program Assistant at ELAW.  I heard about what ELAW has been doing, and I learned knowledge and theories that support their activities.

I just finished my master degree in environmental studies at University of Oregon.  In the past two years, my study and life in Eugene made me a positive supporter of environmental protection. I have become interested in this environmental nonprofit that I knew little about before, and I am feeling inspired to dedicate myself to it!

ELAW is the best option for me to do the internship. I hope I can make my contribution to the organization while I am learning from all the ELAW people.

by Chu “Cassie” Chen

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