Erin O’Brien

Erin O’Brien, a Buffalo, New York native, is attending West Virginia University College of Law where she is a third year student, having graduated with a BS in Chemistry (with a concentration in forensic chemistry) from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She is also serving as a research assistant at the WVU Center for Innovation in Gas Research and Utilization.

Activities while in law school include vice president of the Democratic Law Society; academic and curriculum chair of the Student Bar Association and a member of the Women’s Leadership Council.

Written referrals have noted she is “very passionate about energy and natural resources law” and that she can be “expected to make a significant contribution in the field.” Writings include papers on relevant issues in the energy industry: How the Trump-era EPA is Limiting the Protections under Sec. 401 of the Clean Water Act and Water Justice in West Virginia: The Southern Coalfields’ Fight for Water Infrastructure.

In her application for the scholarship, Erin wrote, “I envision myself as a legal advocate in the energy and environmental area working for a federal agency focusing on water, land use planning, and toxic substances. I aspire to be a lawyer who brings both my knowledge of the law and the scientific skillset I gained while acquiring my chemistry degree.”

As her law professors wrote, she also describes herself as passionate about energy and the environment.

“My current involvement in energy and environmental law will only grow as I enter practice. I find the federal administrative and procedural areas of the law fascinating, especially in the context of energy and the environment. Drafting and writing a federal regulation, from notice-and-comment all the way to the final rule, would be an absolute dream,” Erin wrote. When she graduates, she hopes to work in a government agency setting, saying, “I am unwavering in my belief of making a difference in this world and working for a federal agency will help me do so. I refuse to sacrifice my career goals for a monetary value.”

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