Alumna Creates Job Opportunity with Tennessee Non-Profit


Kelly Poole,'12, has already jumped feet first into her dream career.

Shortly after taking the bar exam in July 2012, the Tennessee native began volunteering and working as a contract employee with the Tennessee Environmental Council. The organization raised the funding to hire her as a full-time staff member in January 2013.

Poole, who was president of the Environmental Law Society at IU McKinney, spends much of her time on cases dealing with section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the dredge and fill material that can and cannot be dumped into wetlands areas. She also works on cases aimed at improving water quality, often class actions targeting industry users that are violating state-issued discharge permits. But she isn't just tied down to the office. She often gets to help volunteer groups plant trees along stream banks, as well as give presentations on some of the most critical environmental issues in her state.

Leaning toward health law when she began her studies at IU McKinney in 2009, Poole says she was always interested in conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources, but lacked knowledge of the legal side of the issues to consider a career in environmental law.

"Honestly, when I enrolled at IU McKinney, I was impressed by the fact that the law school had more environmental law classes than the average law school, but still did not realize that concentrating in this area could open up so many viable career options," Poole said. "I now consider myself extremely fortunate to have ended up at a school with such a strong environmental law program that is host to a wide variety of environmental law specialties and energetic and supportive faculty members."

One of the first students to earn the Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR) certificate, Poole says it gave her credibility in her job search and the confidence she needed to land her first job.

"I feel like I've started my career out ahead of the game, and was able to accept and succeed in a non-traditional job because of the strong foundation I was able to build through the ENR graduate certificate program," Poole said. "It's really incredible to me that I was able to just dive into my dream career right out of law school, and I don't think this would have been possible without the foundation laid by the ENR graduate certificate program and the self-confidence that stemmed from obtaining such a thorough knowledge of this area of the law."

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