Allison's essay

At 10 years old I decided I was going to "save the tigers" from the small flat my family lived in in London. I wrote letters to everyone who lived in our building and announced I was starting a recycling program to "save the tigers" and if they wanted to support, they could leave their recycling outside and I would collect it every Sunday morning. I did this until we moved back to our house in Sammamish, Washington. At 10 years old I found my passion for protecting our environment.

As I matured, this passion grew. Not only did I want to save the tigers, I wanted to save the environment. I was sure conservation was in my future and what I was going to dedicate my life to…until I attended Penn State. I suddenly felt out of place. The students I sat next to in class wore cowboy boots and their futures happily included returning to the farm that had been in their family for generations. I started realizing that I knew nothing about the agriculture community and what blew my mind was how many students around me did.

Suddenly I found myself wanting to learn as much about the agricultural community as I could; knowing it had a major impact on the environment, and that no one was more connected to our land than farmers. I joined agricultural clubs, picked a major in the College of Agriculture and threw myself head first into community service projects to learn more outside of the classroom. Summer came around and everyone scrambled to find internships within the corporate world, but I gravitated to a small grassroots non-profit called the Snoqualmie Valley Preservation Alliance: dedicated to preserving the rural character and viability of local farms and businesses. I tried to bring my new knowledge of agriculture home and connect the dots to the area I grew up in.

Through volunteering, I started learning about the issues concerning our local area. Top on the list: access to water. Fresh water is essential to human life, and it's becoming scarce in areas that aren't prepared for this phenomenon. Not only do the farmers need it to irrigate, but residents of the community need it too. While at the same time, the river needs water to sustain its eco-system. It was then that I realized my passion was bigger than conservation. It was helping as many people as possible with the goal of having enough resources in the future to sustain our population and our demands.

The law moves slower than society in so many ways (technology, privacy law, corporate financials) , but how we use our natural resources, is critical to all life on the planet. This deep need to help the farmers combined with the need to conserve our environment, plus saving the tigers, drove me to law school. In the future, I want to dedicate my life to mitigating these water law issues and this public service our natural resources provide.

In my professional life, the work I did with the Snoqualmie Valley Preservation Alliance shaped my understanding of the deep need for water law advocates. I have worked throughout my two years at law school to develop a curriculum for myself that would aid these interests taking classes such as water law, environmental law, zoning and land use law, real estate transaction law, and am currently enrolled in federal Indian law and admin law in efforts to round my interests in water and some of the many areas of law that practice might touch.

Further, to pursue this passion I am working this summer with Halverson Northwest Law Group as a legal clerk with some of the leading water law attorneys in Washington. Thus far I have worked on issues such as water rights transfers, water banking and irrigation district representation. This has confirmed for me, the area of water I want to pursue is with my law career. From my work and through my passions for the environment, I've realized the growing need for water and for water mitigation and storage as our population increases. I hope to make big strides in this field locally, statewide and if I'm lucky, nationally working to pave the path for sustainable local systems. No matter what the interest it, be it fish, agriculture or otherwise, everyone can agree climate variability has given the Northwest a growing need for water storage and I hope to aid in these growing collaborative efforts and positively impact the future of water!