May 19, 2008

Laura Bochner ’10 Will Study Environmental Policy at American Geological Institute

Geology major is one of three students accepted into the geoscience and public policy internship program

Geology major Laura Bochner ’10 (Bethlehem, Pa.) will spend her summer on the frontlines of environmental policymaking at the American Geological Institute (AGI) in Washington, D.C.

Bochner is one of three students accepted into AGI’s geoscience and public policy internship program and the only undergraduate. The position includes a $4,000 stipend.

Bochner, who is considering advanced studies in environmental law after graduation, is co-president of LEAP (Lafayette Environmental Awareness and Protection). LEAP works to promote environmental responsibility on campus and abroad. The College has also begun a number of initiatives focusing on becoming a greener campus, which can be read about on the What Can I Do? website.

“I’m very excited about the fact that this internship is based in our nation’s capital and that I’ll be tracking national-level policy,” says Bochner. “There are some really important environmental laws that are being formed now, and I’m thrilled that I’ll be witnessing the formation process directly.”

Bochner’s responsibilities during her 12 weeks at AGI will include monitoring and analyzing geoscience-related legislation in Congress, updating legislative and policy information in AGI’s website, and attending House and Senate hearings and preparing summaries. She will also be responding to information requests from AGI’s member societies, and attending meetings with policy-level staff members in Congress, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations, such as the National Academy of Sciences.

“As a geology major, I am fascinated by the earth and environmental sciences,” says Bochner. “But I am also interested in the ways in which scientific study informs policymaking – the ways in which those who produce scientific knowledge are connected to those who use it and those for whom it has implications. I’m concerned with environmentally responsible governmental action, and I found myself wondering ‘What do pertinent scientific findings mean for environmental management?’”

Bochner has also taken advantage of Lafayette’s focus on undergraduate research and close student-faculty interaction. She began EXCEL research this semester with Kira Lawrence, assistant professor of geology and environmental geosciences, focusing on paleoclimatology. She also recently completed a project focused on the intelligent redevelopment of Pennsylvania’s Slate Belt area as a member of Lafayette’s Technology Clinic. In January 2007, she traveled to Kenya and Tanzania on a faculty-led interim trip.

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