MCEA had the pleasure of hosting two students from Carleton College for a two-week externship placement last December. Heather Luedke, an Environmental Studies major with a Spanish minor, and Julia Braulick, an Environmental Studies and Russian major, spent a majority of their first week meeting with MCEA staff members to learn about our water, energy, mining, and land use and transportation programs.
After gaining a better idea of MCEA's various work across the state, Heather and Julia took on research projects assigned by staff in our mining and land use and transportation programs. They worked with Elise Larson, MCEA Staff Attorney, to write guest blog posts on our ongoing Public Waters Inventory case. Julia wrote about the history of the PWI and why it's so important to protect the public’s interest in water, while Heather wrote about the details of the PWI case and MCEA's role in it.
Read Julia's post here and Heather's post here.
In reflecting on her externship experience, Heather wrote "The entire MCEA staff is incredibly knowledgeable, dedicated, and willing to collaborate on environmental issues, and witnessing that made me optimistic for the future. It was clear to me that everyone at MCEA truly cares about the work they’re doing, and are enacting real change as a result. The experience gave me an immeasurably better sense of what I can and want to do after college than any class could, and the real conversations and opinions from experts’ viewpoints opened my eyes to new alternatives for my future."
Read more about Heather's experience at MCEA here.
In regards to her experience, our second extern Julia wrote "I gained a greater understanding of how legal change is achieved and the processes by which a law can be altered. It is surprising to realize how mutable the law can be, despite its great authority. I have to admit I was a little awed by the way the Drainage Work Group edited a document outlining their proposed edits to Minnesota statute as if it were routine. Law was being molded right before my eyes.
As a consequence, I’m continuing to think about this paradox: government seems removed from everyday life, yet laws are made by essentially ordinary people who have been delegated to do that work. The law, time-tested as it is, doesn’t come from on high. It is still profoundly imperfect. I realized this more fully than ever during my time at MCEA. Indeed, I think I matured significantly as a citizen—and that is a gift much greater than the sum of its parts. To me, being a good citizen consists of: a basic comprehension of important current events; a desire to build bridges for the sake of progress and fairness; an understanding of others’ perspectives; and willingness to devote some personal time to civic matters. Externing at MCEA helped me develop each of these qualities. Especially, this experience motivated me to be more active in civic affairs because it showed me the major difference that a few highly focused individuals can make."
Read more about Julia's experience at MCEA here.