Alumni in ENVS, Climate Action

Building Blocks: Jacqueline Yap (C’15) reflects on how her ENVS degree prepared her for law school and beyond

Nine years ago, Jacqueline Yap (C’15) found her interest in climate change piqued after a visit to China the summer before her freshmen year at Emory. That interest, not only shaped her undergraduate experience at Emory as a student of environmental sciences, but was also pivotal during her time in law school at George Washington University. Now as an Associate at Latham and Watkins LLP in Washington, D.C., Jacqueline works with the environment, land and resources practice group and energy practice group on a wide range of federal law questions that arise for Latham’s multinational clients. The broad skill set that Jacqueline built at Emory serves her every day in her legal career and beyond.

Jacqueline Yap (C’15)
Photo courtesy of Latham and Watkins LLP

Jacqueline’s Emory experience was certainly rich in academic experiences as a double major in Environmental Sciences (ENVS) and East Asian Studies, but was also punctuated by transformative experiences in research and study abroad. The opportunity to experience what you are learning in the classroom through research and internships is not unique to students in ENVS, but we are always in awe of the breadth of what ENVS students find to flesh out their time as undergraduates at Emory. Inspired by Dr. Tony Martin’s Georgia Barrier Islands field course, Jacqueline explored an REU program in marine science in Charleston, SC one summer, she studied abroad at both IES Freiburg (Germany) and at the China Studies Institute (Beijing, China), and she conducted research with Professor Eri Saikawa on global fuel quality standards and public health research. As she reflected on her time at Emory, Jacqueline writes, “The strong research and writing skills that I picked up at Emory while doing scientific research has helped me navigate the complexities of the science behind the laws, regulations, and legal documents that I regularly work with. I’m also able to combine my interests in Environmental Sciences and East Asian Studies in my legal practice by helping clients navigate emerging Chinese environmental laws and regulations.”

Like many ENVS students, Jacqueline fondly remembers connecting with students and faculty at Waffle Thursdays in the ENVS department – something we look forward to bringing back as soon as we are able! Not surprisingly, Jacqueline was a member of Outdoor Emory and maintains friendships with students she met on those trips during her time at Emory. In August 2018, she traveled to Denali National Park in Alaska and sea kayaked in Resurrection Bay with other Outdoor Emory alums.

We are beyond grateful to have been a part of Jacqueline’s undergraduate experience. Jacqueline is an outstanding example of the breadth of opportunities that can be explored during four years of undergraduate study and how that experience forms the bedrock of what comes next.