The Georgetown Climate Center is fully integrated with life at Georgetown Law and provides opportunities for students to serve as research assistants, gaining valuable, real world experience.
Research assistants work closely with the Center's full-time staff and state officials to produce reports that help shape some of the biggest climate and energy decisions being made by policymakers today.
Margaret Heffernan recognized the Center for its innovation and wrote the following in a July 2012 article "Are business schools stuck in the past?"
"At the last TEDGlobal conference, Vicki Arroyo talked inspiringly about the work she's doing at Georgetown University Law Center to bring her students into contact with the real world. The model of just teaching theory for three years, she said, is out the window. What students need and want now is hands-on training. And she described some fantastic examples of her students working with state agencies on issues that actually matter in real time to real people.
"Her talk was provocative so it made me think: What ever led us to imagine that classroom teaching alone was a smart way to teach anything practical, like law or business? Medical schools teach in hospitals. Why don't more law schools and business schools teach where their subject is taking place in front of their eyes?"
"As an RA for the Climate Center, I have had the opportunity to work on issues at the intersection of transportation and climate policy, EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, and the role of states generally in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
"The experience has helped me develop and refine my own views on a range of policy questions. I recently wrote a seminar paper outlining some of these ideas and plan to submit it for publication. I have also had the opportunity to meet and interact with policymakers through the center's conferences and relationships with state governments. Professor Arroyo and the rest of the staff have been great about passing along information about job openings, serving as references, and writing letters of recommendation. Overall, it has been a rewarding experience that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in climate policy."
"My experience with the Georgetown Climate Center has been tremendously valuable. As a student interested in pursuing a career in energy and environmental policy, the Center has provided me the opportunity to obtain real-world work experience in my field of interest. By researching developments in federal and state energy policy, I now have a more comprehensive understanding of economic, political and philosophical factors that come to bear in shaping these policies. It has also been exciting to work for an organization that is often out in front and taking a lead role in forming the policy.
"The professionals on the Climate Center’s staff are exceptionally experienced and knowledgeable in all matters relating to energy policy. With them as a resource, I have learned a great deal simply by attending staff meetings and by reaching out to them with questions. In addition, the Center and its staff have great relationships with both state and federal organizations, which has been valuable in my search for career opportunities. Everyone has always been happy and willing to offer me career advice, serve as a reference, or reach out to partner organizations on my behalf."
"Working at the GCC gave me exposure to a range of climate-related law and policy issues relevant at the moment, through the projects I worked on as well as interactions with the GCC staff and other fellows. The practical knowledge of how climate law and policy is created and evolves was a useful addition to the theoretical environmental law courses I had taken. I also gained a better understanding of the different organizations and stakeholders involved in climate policy, which has aided in me in narrowing down how I want to engage on climate policy and where I might like to work when I graduate."