Our Work

Thank you to our 2017 interns, Sam & Laura!

Each summer, VNRC staff are excited to welcome legal interns to our office. While at VNRC, legal interns work on a variety of fronts – from conducting research on key initiatives, to drafting memos, to revamping our toolkits and resources. As our 2017 interns get ready to head back to school, we wanted to take a moment to thank them for their work and give our members a peek at what they’ve been up to – and where they might go next!

Samantha Longo, Vermont Law School

Sam Longo Samantha Longo is the current VNRC Mollie Beattie intern, and is heading into her third and final year at Vermont Law School (VLS) with a focus on Environmental Law. She grew up on Long Island, New York, where she experienced a lack of nature and saw the effects of pollution on communities first-hand. This motivated her to seek a career in the environmental realm. She attended Unity College in Maine, graduating in 2014, with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Law, Policy, and Society.

Through her experiences at Unity College, Samantha came to believe that one of the best ways to enact change is through the power of law, leading her to enroll at VLS to continue her legal education. While interning at VNRC, she focused on the issue of subdivisions and forest fragmentation, and their impact on Vermont’s forests. “Working at VNRC this summer has helped me better understand the role of a statewide nonprofit, and the importance of community engagement in making a difference,” Samantha noted. “I’m grateful for the experience and know it will inform my work in the future.”

After she graduates from VLS this next year, Samantha hopes to continue working on general environmental law and environmental justice issues in Vermont. In the future, Samantha sees herself working as general counsel for the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation or being involved with the Vermont Superior Court Environmental Division. “Working for the state is huge goal for me,” said Samantha. “I want to contribute to the advancement of the Vermont culture, people, and landscape.” When not knee-deep in legal briefs, Samantha enjoys snowboarding, swimming, hiking, and taking her dog, Penelope, on adventures.

Laura Savall, Vermont Law School

Laura Savall

Laura Savall originally hails from Wisconsin, and credits growing up in the outdoorsy and agricultural state for sparking her appreciation of natural resources. She grew up playing in the clear streams and woodlands near her home which would later be threatened by large-scale agricultural pollution. Laura graduated from Ripon College with a Bachelor in Spanish and Psychology. While studying Derecho Penal in Spain, she gained greater perspective of the inequities low-income communities face in their exposure and vulnerability to environmental disasters.

Confronted with a desire to work on both environmental and social justice initiatives, Laura moved to Vermont to attend Vermont Law School (VLS) where she now studies Environmental Law and continues to advocate for social justice at home and abroad. While interning at VNRC, she has worked primarily on water quality issues facing rural Vermont communities. “Working on water quality issues has impacted how I approach my studies at Vermont Law School,” said Laura. “It has brought home for me the connections between our environment, our health, and the roles policy, regulation, and enforcement play in protecting the most vulnerable.”

She graduates from VLS in May 2018, and she hopes to stay in Vermont and assist communities with environmental justice issues. Laura would like to work for a nonprofit such as Rights and Democracy, VPIRG, or VNRC to best protect Vermont’s resources and the residents of this beautiful state. “I plan to focus on a local and state level to effectuate the greatest impact, especially during a time where federal change is increasingly difficult,” Laura stated. “I want to see Vermont on the cutting edge of environmental justice initiatives and as a beacon for the rest of the country.”