I’ve been home now for a little less than a month. Back to the grind beginning my 3L year and I’m not quite sure how the summer flew by so quickly. Maybe it was because of my clerkship with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), my dream job, experiencing a fast paced city for three months, or meeting new friends and colleagues who I will cherish for a lifetime. Either way this experience will stay with me forever. I never thought I would get the opportunity to work for the EPA. I always dreamed of it, sure, but not to actually work there. But when I got that phone call offering me the Honors Law Clerk position at the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) at headquarters in Washington D.C., lesson learned. Never ever doubt yourself, you are more capable then you think you are. My advice to anyone who is looking for internship opportunities, apply to everything and apply often. Never give up because you never know what will land in your lap, it just might be your dream job too.
At the EPA in the OECA division, I was in the Federal Facilities Enforcement Office (FFEO). As a law clerk for the federal agency, I was given an invaluable experience. I primarily did research for my office concerning federal facilities that were not complying with EPA regulations. FFEO was a multi-media office meaning that we were not restricted to acting under just one statute such as the Water Enforcement Division, who operates under the Clean Water Act (CWA). My office worked with all of the statutes. And there are a lot. One of the daunting tasks that is nearly impossible to master unless you work fulltime over a period of years for a federal agency is that there are so many acronyms! And I mean there is an acronym for everything. I worked on a series of projects, one involving facilities and lead dust contamination where the Clean Air Act (CAA), Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) statutes were applicable. I also attended a number of National Enforcement Training Institute (NETI) courses. Just to name a few these included The History of the Clean Water Act Enforcement, Overview of EPA’s Enforcement Program, On the Road to Green, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), Superfund: Cleaning up Contaminated Sites, and Effluent Guidelines in Determining an NPDES permit for a facility.
My time at the EPA was well spent learning under a series of mentors and colleagues interested and passionate in the same field of study that I am. It was great working for attorneys and scientists that were very dedicated to their jobs and the environment. I have also made a lot of great contacts for employment opportunities after I finish school. One thing that was stressed to us law clerks at the EPA was that we were not working unless we were networking. Again, it was an invaluable experience that I would do over again and would highly recommend to anyone that is interested in working for a federal agency. Not to mention Washington D.C. was a lot of fun. So many museums, delicious food, and with an abundance of culture and history I was never bored. So just keep on applying to those internships or jobs that you feel might be out of reach. You never know, one might just not be.