Nicole Sammon ‘24

An Advocate for Inclusivity

While law school was not always Nicole Sammon’s career path, she knew she wanted a career that would be intellectually challenging, which also allowed her to make a positive impact on her community. “I have always been passionate about advocacy work, primarily environmental and LGBTQ+ based, and the legal field allows me to turn that passion into a career,” Nicole said.

Immediately after undergraduate school, Nicole pursued a career in environmental education where she worked for the Walt Disney Company in their Animal, Science, and Environment Department. During her time with the company, she led thousands of interactive conservation-based lessons to guests visiting the theme parks. Nicole recalls the experience as “absolutely incredible.” After her time with Disney, Nicole moved back home to New York City. “I was able to bring my experience with Disney to the Urban Park Ranger team with the NYC Parks Department. This allowed me to focus conservation efforts more locally.” Nicole found it invigorating to be able to provide recreation and education-based programming for thousands of New Yorkers. She noted that one of her favorite programs to lead was overnight camping. “So many NYC residents have never had the opportunity to camp before, and we offered it for free right in their local parks!”

It was also during her time with the NYC Parks Department that Nicole had the opportunity to become a founding member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. “The initiative was the first of its kind in the agency; it focused on both increasing the diversity of the Park Ranger team and increasing accessibility to Park Ranger resources within communities. During my time with the task force, we worked to revamp the Park Ranger hiring process to make it more accessible to NYC residents, increasing outreach and restructuring the interview questions and uniform requirements. Further, we began a department wide conversation about the normalization of pronouns to increase inclusivity, as well as implemented the usage of pronouns on Park Ranger programs.”

Now, a rising 2L at Haub Law, Nicole is pursuing the advanced certificate in environmental law. Through her work in the environmental field prior to law school, educating and advocating for conservation, Nicole learned about the impacts that environmental negligence has on low-income communities. “This further developed my passion for advocacy work and what inspired me to pursue a field in which I can actively fight for justice,” she said. Nicole is passionate about historically marginalized groups that are often overlooked and don’t have the resources that other communities may have. “As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I am especially dedicated to fighting for those who continue to face struggles due to their sexual orientation or gender identity and to have their civil rights recognized in many aspects of their daily lives, from housing to healthcare. This is why I decided to dedicate my time as Vice President of Lambda. It is my hope to help the student organization become a larger presence on campus as we know how important having an inclusive community is, especially during law school,” she shared.

Nicole is thrilled with what she describes as the small and positive community she has found at Haub Law. “I have found that many of the students share very similar interests and values, creating an extremely welcoming environment. So many upperclassmen have also acted as mentors for myself and other students throughout our 1L year. Not to mention, the professors and university staff have all been extremely helpful and understanding. I have learned so much from them.”

Though she is not sure exactly what area of law she wants to pursue, this summer she is working for Legal Services NYC, which is a non-profit that provides legal services to low income New Yorkers. “I am trying to vary my experiences as much as I can to figure out exactly where I want to land. I am also interested in interning in policy work and corporate work. No matter where I go, I plan to incorporate my experience in diversity, equity, and inclusion work to continue to push for the legal field to be more inclusive.”

In her spare time (when she has it!), Nicole’s favorite hobby is gardening. “I am so thankful to have a small green space at my home that I have been able to turn into an active garden. I grow peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, three different types of berries, and many species of wildflowers. Gardening is a great excuse to get outside and has been a major stress relief during law school. I also enjoy camping and hiking, and I recently have been learning to roller skate.”