IIT Chicago-Kent Baum Fellowship honors six students for their public interest work in the Chicago Environmental Law Clinic

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Six students in the Program in Environmental and Energy Law at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law are completing their term as Fall 2010 Baum fellows. The Baum fellowship program was established at Chicago-Kent and is supported by the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund. Fellows are selected each semester by Chicago-Kent's dean and the director of the law school's Program in Environmental and Energy Law. Selection is based on the students' work in the Chicago Environmental Law Clinic, a collaboration between Chicago-Kent and the Chicago Legal Clinic.

"Chicago-Kent's environmental law clinic, run by the Chicago Legal Clinic, is one of the three major components—along with classroom instruction and externships—of our highly regarded program. The Baum fellowships allow us to recognize outstanding student work in the clinic and create an incentive for students to participate in the clinic," said Distinguished Professor A. Dan Tarlock.

The Fall 2010 Baum Fellows are Amanda Kimmel, Aaron Midler, Rishi Nair, Toral Patel, Geralyn van de Krol and Mary Vendiola.
 

  • Amanda Kimmel, a 2010 Chicago-Kent J.D. graduate, currently is working on a certificate in advanced legal studies. Kimmel earned her undergraduate degree in integrative biology and political science from the University of Illinois. She served in AmeriCorps as an environmental educator in rural Washington, and worked for the City of Chicago in the Municipal Prosecution Division. Kimmel interned for Illinois Appellate Court justice Michael Toomin and served as an extern in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General's Environmental Bureau in Springfield. She is currently working on cases relating to landfill closure, opacity violations, and FOIA appeals.
  • Aaron Midler is a third-year student who will graduate in May 2011. Prior to attending law school, Midler received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Chicago. At Chicago-Kent, he has been an active member of the Environmental Law Society and has worked on issues in the Chicago Environmental Law Clinic arising under the Clean Air Act.
  • Third-year student Rishi Nair is a May 2011 candidate for a J.D. with a certificate in environmental and energy law. Nair graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a bachelor's degree in political science. Prior to law school, he worked for three years in a family-owned import-export company focusing on sustainable, natural food products made in developing nations. In the Chicago Environmental Law Clinic, Nair worked for two semesters with a team of colleagues on various projects related to Clean Air Act issues with Illinois and Indiana coal-fired power plants. He currently works for a solo practice environmental law office and at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Toral Patel is a second-year law student who will graduate in May 2012 with a Juris Doctor degree and a certificate in environmental and energy law. Patel earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a major in neuroscience and a minor in law and society. She currently is completing her second semester in the Chicago Environmental Law Clinic, where she continues work on a proposed rule-making case presently before the Illinois Pollution Control Board.
  • Third-year student Geralyn van de Krol has been on active duty with the United States Coast Guard since 2001. In 2005, van de Krol was part of a rapid-response team dispatched to assess the environmental damage caused by the more than 11 million gallons of oil spilled as a result of Hurricane Katrina. For two semesters in the Chicago Environmental Law Clinic, she has worked on various projects related to the Illinois Pollution Control Board's rule-making process regarding disinfection of certain Chicago-area waterways. Van de Krol earned her undergraduate degree in media arts from University of Arizona. After receiving her J.D. degree with a certificate in environmental and energy law in May 2011, she will return to her full-time duties with the Coast Guard as a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps.
  • Mary Vendiola is a fourth-year law student who will earn a Juris Doctor and a certificate in environmental and energy law in December 2010. Vendiola received her undergraduate degree with honors from the University of Florida with a major in psychology and a minor in business administration. At Chicago-Kent, she has participated in the Chicago Environmental Law Clinic for two semesters, focusing on the Clinic's litigation against an Illinois coal-fired power plant. Vendiola, who has worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Midwest Environmental Advocates, currently is serving as an intern at the Illinois Pollution Control Board.


Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, psychology, architecture, business, design and law. In the mid-1980s, Chicago-Kent established one of the first specialty programs in energy and environmental law, and has long been recognized as a leader in the field. The Chicago Environmental Law Clinic, launched in 1999, is a collaboration between the Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc., and Chicago-Kent. The clinic provides access to justice for clients who would otherwise be unrepresented in urban environmental matters that directly affect the health, safety and welfare of their families and communities.

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