During Fulbright Scholarship seminars in Korea with academics, politicians and artists in 2002–03, New Jersey native Won Park decided to get involved in current policy issues, but felt that with a liberal arts degree alone she “would be seen internationally as an ivory tower.”
Won, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard, interned at the American Chamber of Commerce in Seoul and then went to China to learn Mandarin. There she worked at the American Bar Association’s Asia Law Initiative on rule of law programs. She also shadowed a United Nations Development Programme project focused on reducing poverty and human trafficking in the Chinese ethnic minority population.
Won chose Columbia Law School for its strength in human rights and the international diversity of the J.D. and LL.M. programs. The Human Rights Internship Program sponsored her 1L summer in Beijing, where she worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council on public participation in environmental policy-making. “That summer really pushed me toward environmental law,” Won said.
She participated in the Environmental Law Clinic her second and third years at Columbia. Two days after running the New York City Marathon in November 2007, she went with the clinic on a fact-finding mission to São Tomé, where she and others investigated deforestation issues and met with government officials, NGO directors and timber company executives.
At law school Won also served as the fundraising chair of the Columbia Law Women’s Association and co-president of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.
Won will join Dewey & LeBoeuf as an associate in project finance, focusing on energy issues and gaining skills that will serve her long-term goal of working in eco-sustainable development and environmental policy.