News surrounding the upcoming presidential elections is dominating headlines and airwaves with pollsters trying to predict who will be in the White House on January 20, 2013, but current UO graduate student Jessie Bloomfield has already been there.
Jessie is pursuing her J.D.from the Law School and her Master of Community and Regional Planning from the Department of Planning, Public Policy & Management (PPPM). This past summer she worked as a White House Intern in the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). During her time at the White House she had the opportunity to work on high-level environmental law and policy issues, help coordinate interagency collaboration with federal agencies, and offer legal advice to CEQ’s policy and legislative affairs teams. While interning she got to meet the Bo the First Dog, dine on official White House China in the White House Mess, and even see the President board his private helicopter, Marine One.
She attributes her courses in Law and Planning to preparing her for the internship. “Through my PPPM courses, I understand the substance and importance of sustainable development,” said Jessie. “Through my law courses I understand the American legal system and how federal laws and regulations can shape and impact local communities.”
Her dream job is to run a local government’s Transportation Department or Parks & Recreation Department and the internship helped her cultivate the skills to achieve that goal. “I improved my legal research and writing skills and made connections with practitioners who are highly respected in the environmental law professional world,” Jessie said.
Jessie’s advice for graduate students seeking competitive internships is “Apply, apply, apply,” Jessie said. “Every year I apply to many, many internship opportunities for the summer, and every year I am inevitably rejected from many of them. But, there are always a few opportunities that work out. You only need one job, and that job will never materialize unless you apply to many different opportunities.”
Jessie advises incoming graduate students to take the time to get to know your professors and get involved with organization or projects you are passionate about. She has had the opportunity to work closely with faculty members Marc Schlossberg and Nico Larco as a GTF for the Sustainable Cities Initiative and has enjoyed watching that organization grow. Jessie has also served as a Fellow in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center (ENR) for three years. ENR’s Managing Director Heather Brinton has served as a mentor for Jessie. The relationships she has been able to build at UO and within the federal government have also proven helpful for her research. “This year, the ENR center has awarded me a stipend for my research on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its intersection on with land use and highway projects,” Jessie said. “Throughout the year I will call on a team of faculty from PPPM and the Law School, as well as practitioners at the US Department of Transportation and CEQ that I met during my internship this summer in Washington D.C..”