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Sarah Wegmueller 2013
When she arrived at Pace Law School in 2010 intent on studying environmental law, Sarah Wegmueller, now a rising 2L, had already seen first-hand the environmental challenges faced by countries around the world. Sarah, who grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, has crisscrossed the globe on three sailing voyages. Most recently, she sailed 3800 miles across the Atlantic Ocean on a research program collecting plastic debris that has accumulated in the Atlantic Ocean. Her team analyzed the quantity of plastic, the source of the debris, and how the plastic has changed the marine environment. Sarah also spent time in Shanghai, China working as a market researcher for the USDA. Later, she worked as a research associate at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) in Washington, D.C., primarily contributing to a project analyzing experiences of post-war countries in managing natural resources.
When it came time for Sarah to choose a law school, she said, “I fell in love with Pace’s environmental law program. The school provides a wonderful opportunity to work with remarkable professors and other interested students.”
During her first year at Pace Law School, Sarah became a faculty research assistant. She is currently working with Professor Nicholas Robinson on a joint project between Pace Law and Shanghai Jiaotong University to create a Chinese-English dictionary of commonly-used environmental law terms. “Environmental law is not confined to a single country,” Sarah explained. “By publishing a dictionary of environmental terms in both English and Chinese, we hope to clear up discrepancies in terminology and facilitate collaboration on environmental work between two of the world’s largest populations.”
In the fall, Sarah will begin working two days a week at the United Nations in Manhattan under the UN Environmental Diplomacy program. There, she expects to assist a small island nation on its environmental policy, drawing from her experience with environmental law in the U.S. and other countries she has visited, including developing small island nations in the Pacific. Sarah is also participating in the Judicial Honors Program this year. In the future, she hopes to work at either the Pace Land Use Law Center or as a student attorney at the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic.
“Pace offers unparalleled opportunities for students interested in international environmental law, both because of the proximity to the UN in New York City and because of the quality of professors that we have,” Sarah said. “Pace is a small school, so if you put forth the energy to pursue opportunities, doors just continually open up.”
Though she hopes to work in either international environmental law or local land use law after graduating, Sarah found that her first-year professors—whom she called “dedicated, thoughtful and very approachable”—sparked her interest in other areas of law, too. For example, an engaging criminal law class Sarah took with Professor Leslie Garfield during her first year led her to pursue an internship at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office this summer, where she is drafting motions and appearing in court.