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Stacey Gray, who spent seven years as an environmental scientist and another two and a half as a marine fisheries biologist before entering law school, has been named the 2017 Patsy Mink Fellow by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law. Gray will spend the summer working in the office of Hawaiʻi Representative Colleen Hanabusa on in Washington, D.C., with funds provided by generous donors and the law school.
“Merging my scientific knowledge with legal knowledge could be a powerful tool for change,” said Gray, who leaves May 14 for D.C. In addition to her other legal studies at the School of Law, she is earning a certificate in environmental law and hopes to pursue a career in that field.
“The marriage between law and science is where I see myself operating because sometimes they just don’t understand each other. Hopefully I will be able to bridge that divide. As a former scientist I speak their language,” said Gray.
Gray expects her summer in D.C. to be eventful. “With the Republican majority there will be environmental regulations potentially coming under fire, and it’s good to have passionate advocates in D.C.,” she said. “It could be important to have people with both legal and scientific training to speak truth to power.”
Gray was honored at the law school in a recent ceremony keynoted by Hawaiʻi State Representative Della Au Belatti ’03. Belatti was one of four UH law students who launched the fellowship to honor Mink’s accomplishments. The fellowship provides opportunities for Hawaiʻi law students to spend time in Washington as interns with the state’s congressional delegation.
School of Law Dean Avi Soifer recalled the courage and the accomplishments of the late congresswoman and he added that there is a direct connection to her legacy through the Mink Fellowship.
Soifer said, “We are proud of the Richardson students who began this program on behalf of those who would follow them. These visionaries such as Della Au Belatti, as well as the Mink Fellows who have benefited from it directly, have continued to honor Patsy Mink directly through their many accomplishments.”
More about Stacey Gray
Gray has spent the last decade working in the environmental field between Hawaiʻi and Alaska, including for a time as “the eyes and ears of the National Marine Fisheries Service” on fishing boats, as well as spending time in the field in Hawaiʻi as a conservation biologist assessing native species. At one point, she worked for Pono Pacific, on a subcontract with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers Army Branch, doing monitoring and conservation work with the Hawaiian native ʻelepaio by locating nests and recording the success of fledglings.
“It was heavy field work, boots on the ground work,” she said. Even during her undergraduate studies at Ohio Northern University she spent time outdoors doing stream surveys as part of a course in ichthyology—the study of fish science—that first piqued her interest in conservation and the environment.
For more on Gray, read the William S. Richardson School of Law news release.