Haley Lohr is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources degree this May. While she isn’t graduating with a job, she’s pursuing her passion for environmental law through the Elon Law and Vermont Law School dual degree program. In less than 3 years, Lohr will graduate with a Juris Doctor degree (JD) from Elon Law and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy degree (MELP) from Vermont Law School.
As a first-generation college graduate from Burlington, N.C., Lohr and her family are extremely excited to celebrate her hard work and achievements. Some of her many accomplishments include graduating Cum Laude and representing the NC State student body as a College of Natural Resources Senator. Lohr is also Doris Duke Conservation Scholar, a prestigious national scholarship program for students specifically interested in conservation issues, and a College of Natural Resources Ambassador. All her opportunities for hands-on engagement with the university really helped solidify her evolving career path.
“I would say that getting involved really early and really finding what you are interested in is essential,” Lohr said. “Don’t be afraid to take an unpaid internship to build that experience that might open many doors down the road. If you put in the work, it will pay off in the future.”
Lohr’s first unpaid internship was with the EPA, a government organization that she dreamed of working for her whole life. Once she got there, she realized very quickly that working for the federal government was not where she wanted to be each day. Even though she was putting her Natural Resources policy skills to good use documenting air quality issues for Native Tribes in the U.S., the EPA was not her dream job.
“The federal government works too slow for me,” she said. “I found out that I want to use my degree in other ways. I’m so thankful to have realized that before I graduated.”
Lohr found her passion for policy in Seattle, Wash., interning for a non-profit called Forterra. She spent the summer working on a policy tool about preserving land and land use. It was the first time she was exposed to environmental law, and she wanted to bring those skills back to her home in North Carolina.
“At first, it was weird not being in Washington, where I’d spent my past two summers, but this opportunity has been a big part of shaping my ideas and expounding upon what we learn in class,” Lohr said. “The Pacific Northwest is so different from the Southeast that I’m used to. But it really helped me grow professionally and personally.”
Armed with critical thinking skills developed through her classes, leadership skills forged through years of participating in student organizations, and a renewed love of the law and the environment, Lohr is ready to take on law school.
“It’s been a crazy, amazing four years,” she said. “I’ve really appreciated how interdisciplinary my major really is. I’ve learned everything from economics to political science, coupled with a strong technical background. The College of Natural Resources develops the student as a whole person and the Ambassador program was instrumental in building my leadership skills, hard work ethic, and prepared me for law school. It’s all been an interesting and cool experience.”