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Alumna Accepted by Top-Ranked Environmental
Law School

Jennifer O’Connor
Jennifer O’Connor

Jennifer O’Connor, a member of the Class of 2013, has been accepted into the environmental law program at Vermont Law School. According to the school’s website, “Over the past 24 years, Vermont Law has earned 17 top rankings [from U.S. News & World Report] and never ranked lower than No. 2. Vermont Law has been the top-ranked law school for environmental law for an unprecedented six consecutive years, including 2014-2015.”


A political science major, Jennifer took courses in Politics and the Environment, Constitutional Law, and Civil Liberties during her time here, according to Dr. Robert McMonagle, who wrote a letter of recommendation to Vermont Law for her. Upon hearing of her law school acceptance, McMonagle wrote, in a congratulatory email, “I have no doubt that you will become a highly successful environmental attorney.”


In her admissions essay to Vermont Law, Jennifer paid homage to her deceased Aunt Cathy, who taught her “the importance of the land,” and expressed her own passion for the environmental movement. Here is an excerpt from her essay:


I believe the land is the essential core of our wellbeing. We build our homes on it to provide us with shelter. We plant seeds in it that eventually turn into crops that provide us with food to eat. However, unfortunately, we also bury our garbage in it. When people take the trash out every day, they do not realize where it actually goes. The garbage men come weekly and take away our waste, and we assume that it simply just disappears. When walking down the driveway, we do not realize the journey the trash is about to take. Most importantly, we do not realize the effect that such waste will have on our future and the future of generations to come …


As we walk back up our driveways, taking in a deep breath, and exhaling a sigh of relief that another chore has been accomplished, and a smelly one at that, we do not think about the air. When we walk into our homes and grab a quick drink from the faucet, we do not think about the water we drink. Specifically, when the waste meets the air and when it’s exposed to our water, pollutants and toxins from our trash spread, leaving chemicals the grand opportunity to end up in our lungs and in our bodies, the effects of which are still being determined …


I once read that the waste we produce is fast approaching a half billion tons annually … I believe that Vermont Law School’s environmental law program will allow me to achieve my goals in making a difference in waste management and the world’s environmental movement.



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