"Throughout my years at Pace, I have had the pleasure of working with outstanding faculty members who have given me unwavering guidance and support."
– Alexxis (Allie) Granger, Class of 2019

MAEP student Allie Granger ’19 brings her passion for policy to Congress

What attracted you to the MA in Environmental Policy program?

After I graduated from Pace in 2016 with a BA in Political Science, I reflected on what it is that I loved and was passionate about, and what I truly saw myself doing down the road. Luckily for me, I had friends who went to law school and a few that pursued the MA in Environmental Policy (MAEP) program at Pace, so I was able to speak with them and learn more about their experiences. After getting their insights, reviewing both curriculums, and speaking with the MAEP Program Director, Michelle Land, I felt the MAEP program was the right fit for me (and so far, I haven’t been wrong). I knew it would provide me with the knowledge and training I would need, whether I wanted to pursue an advocacy career or work for a legislative office.

How did you become interested in environmental policy?

During my second semester, I was part of a team of students in my environmental policy clinic course that took on the issue of elephant abuse in circus performances. We educated and lobbied the New York State Senate and Assembly on the issue, and helped draft the “Elephant Protection Act,” which bans the use of elephants in entertainment acts in New York State. One of the proudest moments of my life was when this bill was signed into law in 2017. From this point on, I knew that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree that would provide opportunities to make an impact on some of the most pressing environmental challenges facing our generation. My political science background and interest in government has been a great foundation for the policy aspect of the degree, while my passion for environmental issues directed what aspect of policy I want to focus on.

What is it about Pace that made you come here?

I chose to attend Pace as an undergraduate for two main reasons: first, during my campus tour, I fell in love with the Pleasantville campus and could picture myself as a student here; second, Pace offered me the best financial aid and scholarship package, which is always important. By the time I graduated, I was heavily involved with activities on campus and was able to form great relationships with many of my professors. When it came time to review graduate programs, because I had such a great academic experience as an undergraduate, looking into programs at Pace was a no-brainer. Luckily, they offered an environmental program that was exactly what I was looking for.

What was your experience like as a graduate student in the Environmental Studies and Science Department, and previously as a Political Science major?

My experience as a MAEP student has been nothing short of exceptional. One of the things I love most about being in this program that I find so invaluable is the sense of community. Since it is a smaller program, we are all able to connect and get to know each other, as well as help and challenge each other. Throughout my years at Pace, I have had the pleasure of working with outstanding faculty members who have given me unwavering guidance and support. As an undergraduate student, Professor Paul Londrigan of Political Science served as a positive role model, and during both my undergraduate and graduate experiences, Professors Michelle Land and John Cronin have been two of my greatest mentors. Their hard work in the environmental field and dedication to the success of their students has been such an inspiration.

Tell us about any work experience you’ve had as a student, including your externship in Congresswoman Nita Lowey (of NY's 17th District) Office.

As a student, I have served as the advocacy and engagement intern for Riverkeeper and as a district leader for the Humane Society of the United States. Both positions allowed me to improve my skills as an effective advocate, as well as see firsthand the work and coordination that goes into carrying out a successful advocacy campaign. When I completed my internship with Riverkeeper, I wanted a completely different experience for my externship in order to expose myself to the other side of policy making. I did a lot of research on legislators in the area whose interests aligned with my own, and decided I really wanted to work with Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s office. So, I worked with Pace’s Government and Community Relations Office and submitted an application to her office.

What was your role there?

I worked with Congresswoman Lowey’s Constituent Services team, performing case intake for constituents who needed the Congresswoman’s assistance, as well as recorded constituents’ positions on legislation and policy. I also assisted with district outreach by drafting congressional Proclamations, congratulatory letters, and certificates for constituents and local organizations. What I enjoyed most was helping with research for the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, a bill Congresswoman Lowey sponsored that would prohibit body-gripping traps on National Wildlife Refuges. This allowed me to work on a topic I am most passionate about, which is animal welfare.

What would you like to do upon graduation?

After graduation, I hope to pursue a career that will allow me to play an integral role in either developing or enacting strong environmental policies, especially those protecting the welfare of animals. Whether I decide to pursue a path in government, working for or with legislators, or enter the nonprofit world as a fierce advocate for animals and the environment, my main goal is to be a part of the solutions to our most pressing environmental problems.

What is the most important thing you learned so far and can provide as advice to current students?

The best advice I can give to other students is always take pride in your work, even if that work isn’t necessarily what you want to be doing at the time, and always leave a great impression. You never know what opportunities will come as a result of certain experiences, so, no matter what position you are in at your workplace or whatever work you are asked to do, do it to the best of your ability, work hard, and always have a positive attitude and a smile on your face. You never know what can happen next or who may notice your hard work.

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