From Maryland to Malaysia: Environmental Law students go global

September 27, 2019

3Ls Emily Schenning and Chukwukpee Nzegwu are the kind of students who jump on chances to enrich their law school education. That’s why they appreciate how Maryland Carey Law prioritizes creating opportunities for learning experiences outside the classroom—opportunities like participating in the 17th International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this past August.

“I’m glad that Maryland Carey Law has these kinds of programs built into it,” says Nzegwu, a star on the law school’s nationally recognized trial team. “If you are hungry, there’s a lot to sink your teeth into here.”

Schenning and Nzegwu also got to sink their teeth into delicious Malaysian cuisine during their week in the stunning capital city, but that was just icing on the cake. The main course was the colloquium itself where prominent environmental law practitioners and scholars, including Maryland Carey Law’s own faculty members Bill Piermattei and Bob Percival, gathered to discuss current international, comparative, national, and local environmental law issues.

Both students presented papers and benefited from the critical insights of the experts in attendance.

Schenning, co-president of the Maryland Environmental Law Society, who spent the early part of the summer working in the animal protection litigation department of the Humane Society in D.C., presented on international wildlife protections.

“I got to have an exciting discussion with the people who came to see my talk,” says Schenning. “And I made some really great connections.” One of which resulted in an invitation to an international wildlife conference in the spring.

Nzegwu’s paper dove into a comparative study of toxic chemical regulations.

“It was amazing to meet with so many different scholars and professionals in the field,” says Nzegwu, “…to know that so much good work is happening environmentally around the world and that we’re part of the next generation that can play a big role in that.”

The duo also participated in the 5th Tony Oposa Intergenerational Moot Court in which they argued issues related to oil exploration in the Arctic’s international waters before a distinguished panel of judges from around the world. “The students did a fantastic job,” says Percival.

Schenning and Nzegwu credit the mentoring they have received from Percival and others within the Environmental Law program with paving the way to extraordinary learning experiences like the trip to Malaysia.

“I’ve made some really great relationships with environmental professors,” says Schenning, who chose Maryland Carey Law for its highly ranked Environmental Law program, “which has opened up more opportunities than I could even fathom when I first started.”

Funding enabling Schenning and Nzegwu to participate in the colloquium comes from the Fedder Environmental Scholars Endowment, established in 2007 through the generosity of Joel ’58 and Ellen Fedder to support the Environmental Law program and its students. Each year students travel to the colloquium, which moves to a different continent annually. The Environmental Law programs from Maryland Carey Law and Pace University jointly serve as the Secretariat for the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law.