PennFuture Blog

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PennFuture’s New Legal Interns Summer 2023

Since its inception in 1998, PennFuture has emphasized the importance of using the law to protect Pennsylvania’s environment and “create a just future where nature, communities, and the economy thrive.”

Over the past two decades, we have achieved significant legal and policy victories that reduce pollution and protect the environment and our communities. We have provided millions of dollars in pro bono legal services while setting critical precedents and enforcing environmental laws across the Commonwealth.

But as PennFuture looks forward to the next 20 years, we recognize that we need to be more involved with cultivating the people that will continue to support our mission. Our staff have a long history of mentoring interns, externs, and fellows, and we wanted to create a more formal program to inspire the next generation. 

With the generous support of the George and Miriam Martin Foundation and the Otto Haas Charitable Trust, PennFuture created a paid legal internship program to inspire and mentor students interested in making a difference for our environment. 

Ultimately, the goal of this program is to provide the organization a cadre of young legal and policy minds interested in taking on the myriad challenges impacting Pennsylvania as well as to further their potential environmental careers. We also hope that providing for a funded internship will help to bring more diversity and inclusivity into the non-profit environmental advocacy sphere.

This summer, we have three fantastic students for our internship, representing a range of backgrounds and experiences. We’ve asked our new interns to explain, in their own words, what environmental law and PennFuture’s mission means to them:

Jackie Jaques, rising Third Year student at Temple University Beasley School of Law
I am going into my third year at Temple after spending my spring semester at Temple’s Tokyo campus. I am the vice president of Temple Law’s Name Change Project.

I am from Boston originally, and I attended Bowdoin College in Maine. I majored in both Sociology and Government & Legal Studies, and played rugby for the college’s varsity team. I took a class at Bowdoin called Ecology and Society that taught, among other things, about federal administrative environmental management and the roles of the EPA, USDA, and Department of the Interior. I would think back to that class during my Constitutional Law class and my Environmental Law class. 

I’m very happy to be working at PennFuture because I am interested in the legal logistics of environmental protection and development of sustainable infrastructure. I want to use my legal career to participate in work to make these systems more stable and equitable. During my semester in Japan I was able to see how widespread and reliable transportation and food infrastructure can sustain a large, dense population, and it inspired me to think about how changes in infrastructure can better support  marginalized communities in Pennsylvania.


Kaleb Wilson, rising Third Year student at PennState Dickinson Law

I have always had a passion and interest in the environment since I was introduced to birdwatching when I was young. I come from a tiny town in rural Southwest PA, so issues of clean air and water are near and dear to my heart. In high school I was captain of the Envirothon team, which ingrained in me a love of nature and conservation. My experience with Envirothon has helped define my career dreams and served as my introduction to environmental law.

I did not plan to attend law school when graduating high school, but my plans changed while earning my BA in Politics and History from Saint Vincent College. After falling in love with my political science courses freshman year, I decided that law school would be the best path for me to pursue both my love of conservation and public service.

I am thrilled to get experience with environmental law and policy this summer with PennFuture and hope to use this experience to continue my pursuit of conservation.




Lindsay Williamson, rising Fourth Year student at Widener University Commonwealth Law School

I have wanted to go to law school since elementary school and have always had an interest in nature, particularly animals.  Growing up, I always enjoyed researching and writing and law school seemed like the best path to develop a career where I could utilize those skills to help people.  Before attending law school, I worked in local government and transcribed for the Connecticut Legislature.  My undergraduate degree is in political science, and I had the opportunity to intern with the United States Army War College after my 1L year.  My legal studies have been focused on learning about environmental issues and I am pursuing the Environmental Law Certificate along with certificates in legislation and administrative law. 

I have been very active in extracurricular activities during my time at Widener Commonwealth.  I am currently the President of the Environmental Law and Policy Society, President of the Law and Government Student Society, President of the Appellate Advocacy Honor Society, and the Colloquium Coordinator for the Trial Advocacy Honor Society.  I also serve as a Research Assistant for Environmental Law and an Academic Success Fellow for Criminal Law.  In addition, I write for Widener Commonwealth’s Law Review, where my comment on recycling practices in the United States was chosen for publication.  I will also be writing for the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Environmental Law and Energy section beginning this fall. 

Prior to my internship with PennFuture, I completed a Human Rights course in Ghana.  The experience taught me how important it is to ensure that everyone has access to necessities like clean air and water; a luxury many of us take for granted and still others go without.  I’m very excited to intern with PennFuture where I can utilize both my government background and environmental law education and gain firsthand experience in affecting policy to improve environmental conditions in Pennsylvania.  PennFuture is doing very important work and I’m honored to be working with them this summer.



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