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Section Celebrates 21st Annual Minority Fellowship Award

Zaheer Tajani, recipient of the Section's Minority Fellowship in Environmental Law, stands as a representative of the 21-year history of the exceptionalism of the Program's applicants. A first-year law student at Pace Law School and an EPA ORISE Fellow with a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cornell, Mr. Tajani came to Pace with a passion for water advocacy after working on water purification systems in Honduras and seeks to use his engineering background to inform his environmental advocacy. He has already begun making an impact at Pace as a founding member of the Pace Energy and Climate Law Society while also interning at the Land Use Law Center and assisting in coordination of the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition. The Section expects great things from Mr. Tajani and hopes the Minority Law Student Fellowship will help him realize his full potential.

The Minority Fellowship in Environmental Law seeks to provide opportunities to minority law students in the environmental legal field by providing stipends to the recipients for summer environmental positions in government agencies and environmental interest organizations. As with each year since this Program was established by the Section and the New York City Bar Association, competition for the Fellowship was fierce. These are some of the candidates he was up against:

Carolyn Matos Montes, a first year law student at Cornell Law School, who showed incredible commitment to environmental protection in her application. Though just beginning her career, Ms. Montes has already conducted research on the links between climate change and public health at Columbia's Center for Climate Change Law as well as botanical field research in Puerto Rico while earning her B.A. in Urban Studies - Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

Mohammed Farooqui, a first year law student at Boston Law School, will be an asset to whomever is quickest to employ him. Mr. Farooqui interned with the Honorable Louis York of the New York County Supreme Court as a Robert H. Brown Scholar at St. John's University, where he earned a his B.A. magna cum laude in Political Science and M.A. in Political Theory.

These were not the only impressive candidates. Mr. Tajani was also competing with students from across the region, including Rosanne Breakenridge, Mohammed Haque, and Peter S. White II.

Rosanne Breakenridge is a second year law student and was an environmental engineer and Fulbright Grantee working on constructed wetlands prior to attending Temple Law School. Mohammed Haque, a first year law student, pursues his passion for justice and disaster relief at SUNY Buffalo School of Law. Peter S. White II, a second year at St. John's University Law School, is interested in environmental justice both domestically and abroad.

Also among the competition were three classmates from Pace Law School: Audrey C. Kang, Levan Thomas, and Yiyi Wong.

Audrey C. Kang, a second year law student at Pace Law, is a photographer turned environmental advocate after time spent working for newspapers in Kodiak and Valdez, Alaska. Levan Thomas, also from Pace Law School, is a first year law student with extensive accounting and business experience, not to mention his other incredible experience working with rural electrification in Ghana, sustainable development, and constructing his own biodiesel lab at age fifteen. Yiyi Wong, a second year law student, came to Pace Law School with an M.S. from North Carolina State and already having been a Fulbright Research Scholar in China and an NSF Foundation Fellow.

Mr. Tajani joins a host of exceptional past fellowship recipients. In previous years, the Section was able to provide multiple fellowships, but current funds did not allow the Section to present awards to all those who deserved them. The Section regrets that it was not able to award more of the applicants with fellowships. If you would like to help the Section provide more scholarships, please contact Lisa Bataille.

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