This summer, Cristina Mulcahy '08 is witnessing the justice system in action while working as a legal researcher for the attorney of the County of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A native of Santa Fe who is considering law as a career, Mulcahy, is eager to “understand more about legal issues, processes and intergovernmental affairs,” she said. “This is giving me a good look into the life of a lawyer.”
Working alongside the attorneys, this political science and economics double major is currently focusing on two projects. The first is the Aamodt water rights case, which is the longest-running case in the history of the federal court, as well as the most expensive case dealing with water rights in the United States' history.
She is also helping develop an ordinance that will require mandatory commercial recycling in the county. At the moment, the county lags behind in the amount of commercial waste it recycles: approximately 9 percent compared to the national average of 34 percent. When implemented, the plan will mandate nearly 2,000 businesses to recycle a certain percentage of their wastes.
“I am responsible for examining the economic, spatial and environmental feasibility of mandatory commercial recycling for the county, as well as developing an ordinance and enforcement measures for the plan,” she said.
While the position has been demanding, she is enjoying the opportunity to get experience and make a difference in an area that she knows so well. “It's challenging, really hard and interesting,” she said, adding, “I get to give something back to a place where I grew up.”