Tara Beltran (MSL ‘18) began to consider pursuing a master’s degree when she worked at a California public agency, managing a habitat program. “I became very interested in water policy and water law during that time,” she told us. Also, “I knew I wanted to continue that work, so I looked into getting an advanced degree to further my career.”
McGeorge Professor Nicole Kuenzi, an expert on California water law, is a hearing officer in California’s Administrative Hearings Office, which was created in 2019. The hearings office is housed within the California State Water Resources Control Board, which is the agency charged with safeguarding the state’s water resources for all Californians.
Professor Muilenburg reported that the McGeorge MSL degree is very well recognized by individuals working in and around the capitol. The degree shows, she said, a unique understanding of law and policy issues, either in government law and policy or in environmental and water law and policy. “It helps individuals stand out from their peers, either in the job application process or for promotion within a person’s existing organization.”
When Catalina Sanchez began her legislative career in public service working at the California State Assembly, she knew that earning a graduate degree was part of her plans. What she didn’t know, though, was whether that degree would be Master of Public Administration, a Master of Public Policy, or a Master of Public Health degree.
We invited water policy expert Kim Delfino to speak with us at a webinar about changes she anticipates to water policy in the Biden administration. Delfino reviewed the Biden administration’s top four priorities: Covid-19, economic recovery, climate change, and racial equity. “These priorities,” she said, “will have a profound impact on water policy.” In her presentation, Delfino laid out the changes that are already underway and what we can expect to see going forward.
McGeorge’s Online Water and Environmental Law Program Helps Fight for a Human Right to Water in California
In California, over one million people do not have access to safe, affordable, and reliable drinking water. Many small water systems and domestic wells are unable to meet safety standards under federal and state drinking water laws, and this problem disproportionately affects Latino, rural, and low-income communities. Two-thirds of the communities that suffer from drinking water insecurity or entire lack of drinking water are disadvantaged communities that have an annual median household income less than 80% of the statewide annual median. In many of these communities, the taps run dry, and where water runs, the water is toxic. Additionally, some California residents spend more than five times the affordable rate for water.
Long Intrigued by the Possibility of a Legal Career, Amanda Richie Decided to Launch a Career in Policy with a Master of Legal Studies Degree
While interning for a California State Senator, Amanda Richie, MSL ‘18, quickly realized that most of the Sacramento Capitol staff she worked with had earned advanced degrees.
Amanda, who earned her bachelor’s degree in political science, made a decision that she wanted to pursue a career in policy work. She learned about McGeorge’s Master of Science in Law in Government Law & Policy, attended an informational session, and determined the program was right for her.
Michelle Teran-Woolfork, MSL ’17, took a different career path than the one she initially had planned. She always wanted to go to law school and become an attorney. From there she planned on advocating for domestic violence survivors. Her current path still allows her to make the difference she intended on making, however, in a much different way and on behalf of many more people than she ever thought.
This year is the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and it comes with many reminders of the complex state of voting rights and election law in the U.S. The Covid-19 pandemic has complicated the logistics of voter registration and elections. A June report from the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research shows a significant decline in new voter registration numbers compared to the months leading up to the last presidential election in 2016. This summer the American Bar Association’s Human Rights Magazine devoted two issues to voting rights, including discussions of voter roll purges, racial gerrymandering, and cybersecurity issues and concerns.
When most people think of graduate-level law degrees, the Juris Doctor (JD) is the first that comes to mind. They may not consider, or even realize, the merits of Master of Science in Law (MSL) degrees and other master’s-level programs. As you chart your educational path, keep in mind that a JD isn’t the only option. While a JD is the right choice if you want to be a lawyer, a master’s degree in law can help you reach other career goals.
Just as you choose a route through town based on your destination, you can select a degree program based on where you want your career to go. While a JD is the most the only route to becoming a lawyer, other degree programs can take your career to diverse and interesting destinations.