Building the Next Generation of Climate Advocates

The title of the image reads "Building the Next Generation of Climate Advocates"; silhouettes of people sitting in a brightly lit room having a discussion; logos of the State Impact Center, Green 2.0, the American Constitution Society, The State Impact Center, and Climate Week NYC
  • Tuesday, September 20, 2022
  • 4:00pm–5:00pm EST
  • Online Event

The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law, Howard Energy and Environmental Law Society, the American Constitution Society, and Green 2.0 hosted an event for interested students to learn about careers in climate, environmental, and energy law in the government and public service sector. This Climate Week event included a panel discussion around questions such as: what does a career in these fields look like? what should your resume look like? and what are the different ways to build this kind of career?


Alexandra Whittaker

Chief Trade Counsel and Trade Subcommittee Staff Director of the House of Representatives

Alexandra Whittaker is Chief Trade Counsel and Trade Staff Director to the Chairman and Democratic Members of the Committee on Ways and Means. She previously served two years on the Committee as Trade Counsel.

Before joining the Committee staff, Alexandra was Assistant General Counsel for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) with responsibility for providing legal counsel and policy guidance on a wide variety of international trade matters, as well as litigating trade remedies and agricultural disputes before the WTO. During her time at USTR, Alexandra also served as Assistant Legal Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, where she was a U.S. negotiator for the WTO dispute settlement reform negotiations and represented the United States in all disputes and dispute-related matters before the WTO.

Alexandra previously worked as an environmental attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and counsel for a trade association. She is currently a lecturer at Columbia Law School.

Alexandra is a proud graduate of Spelman College and Howard University School of Law.

Claire Woods

Claire Woods

Director of Environmental Justice Policies and Programs and Senior Attorney at Greenfield Environmental Trust Group

As Director of Environmental Justice Policies and Programs, Claire develops and implements policies to address the disproportionate environmental and economic burdens endured by people and communities harmed by legacy contamination at Greenfield Multistate Trust sites. She also handles legal affairs and advising for select Greenfield Trust sites. Previously, as a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Claire led litigation and advocacy efforts to secure safe drinking water, curb air emissions, protect species, and maintain critical environmental protections for communities. Formerly, Claire served as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Enforcement Section, where she represented the United States in lawsuits to enforce the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, and to recover costs under CERCLA. Claire earned her BA in history from Stanford University and her JD from Columbia Law School.

Lee Zarzecki

Lee Zarzecki

Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City and County of Denver

Lee Zarzecki is a Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City and County of Denver. He is a 2011 University of Colorado-Boulder alumni where he earned both a Juris Doctor and a Master of Science in environmental studies. He is also a graduate of Loyola University-Chicago where he double majored in political science and communication.

Following law school, Lee was awarded the Michael F. Vaccaro Honors Attorney Fellowship with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region III Office of Regional Counsel. While with the EPA, he focused primarily on CERCLA removal matters. He subsequently spent three years with a boutique environmental law firm before joining the Denver City Attorney’s Office in 2016.

Lee’s environmental practice now includes CERCLA, RCRA, CWA, CAA and brownfields work for the City’s various agencies.


Lauren McCrea (SAAG)

Special Assistant Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice

Lauren McCrea is a Special Assistant Attorney General at the Delaware Department of Justice. She is a 2020 graduate of the Howard University School of Law, and she holds a BA in political science from the University of Delaware, where she was the Ronald E. McNair Scholar. She previously worked as a community court coordinator for the Administrative Office of the Courts of the State of Delaware, and completed internships at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia.