How I got my Dream Job with American Wild Horse Campaign

By Brieanah Schwartz '17

My search for my dream job started with my passion: horses. When I was young, I promised my parents I would have a career in horses. I knew that whatever I ended up doing with my life, that horses would be a part of it. The path to my dream job with American Wild Horse Campaign started in college. On our drive to Sweet Briar College, my mom found Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia and filled with wild horses, as a stop. Naturally I made several more trips there over the years, followed a specific band of wild horses and eventually self-published a book on their history and their impacts on the island – the start of my advocacy for wild horses.

After college, I decided to go to the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law to pursue my interest in environmental and animal law. I was fortunate to travel with the school and the most meaningful trip was presenting a paper at the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium in Oslo, Norway. I presented my paper on how animals and the environment could have standing to sue under U.S. law. While in school, I also gained a lot of experience doing internships and externships as I wanted to make sure I had the skills and professional contacts to achieve my career goals. I termed this strategy the "experiential J.D."

When I graduated, I found that the animal and environmental law world is a small one and the job market in D.C. even smaller. However, it was not long before I stumbled upon an article about a D.C. firm, Meyer, Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP (MGE), that was litigating wild horse issues. I researched the firm, discovered that they were hiring law clerks and got a clerk position. I spent a little over six months learning from some of the best in the business. Most importantly, I found mentors, teachers, and friends at this firm. In my last week at MGE, one of the partners took me to lunch to talk about my future. We discussed my passion for horses and she offered to set up a call with the executive director of the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) so I could learn more about their work. My expectations were nothing more, but by the end of the call, I had a job offer! I had no words, all I could say was "This is literally my dream job."

There were times through law school and after that I thought I would give up on my dream career. I relied on old professors, colleagues and friends for support and to help guide me as well as a resume filled with meaningful professional experience through my law school externships and internships. Working for an organization like AWHC was my long-term career goal. But now, sitting here as the Government Relations and Policy Counsel, I still cannot believe I made my dream come true. I still have a lot to learn, but I am supported by an amazing organization, with amazing people and caring members, and will continue to be mentored by MGE. I could not have planned this better if I tried. My dream job came because I did not give up on my passion, developed professional contacts interested in my success, and was ready to seize a unique opportunity.