Meet our summer fellows and interns

Kristen Schlemmer | May 31, 2022

We’re excited to introduce you to the fellows and legal interns who will be working with us this summer.

Legal Interns

Klara Henry, The University of Texas School of Law (2L)

Klara is a rising 2L at Texas Law, originally from Chicago, and received her B.A. in Linguistics and Spanish from Boston College. While at B.C., she took two environmental law classes through the B.C. Law School, focusing on the Boston Harbor cleanup, Superfund sites, and the Clean Air and Water Acts. After graduation, she worked as an immigration paralegal for four years in the Boston area before moving to Austin for her 1L year. At Texas Law, she is a staff editor on the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, as well as a member of the Environmental Law Society and Human Rights Law Society. In her free time, she loves baking, hanging out with her cat Noodle, and teaching yoga. Growing up on the Great Lakes, Klara has always cared deeply about water conservation and clean water access, and plans to pursue a career in environmental law after graduating from law school—she is thrilled to work with like-minded people at Bayou City Waterkeeper this summer.

 

 

Mihir Kulkarni, Texas Southern University — Thurgood Marshall School of Law (2L)

Mihir is a rising 2L at TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Mihir moved to Houston, Texas when he was five years old, and considers himself to be a proud Houstonian. As an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University, Mihir majored in BioEnvironmental Sciences, where he learned how issues relating to the environment, energy, and technology are intricately related to the health of humanity. For the latter half of his undergraduate career, he also served as a research fellow within the department, where he had the opportunity to work on plant-microbiome research in a traditional lab setting. After graduating from Texas A&M, Mihir had the opportunity to serve as a Legislative Aide in the Texas House of Representatives during the 87th Texas Legislative Session. These experiences shaped Mihir’s desire to pursue a career in environmental law. Mihir hopes to impact policy change in the future to further environmental conservation. Mihir is excited to work with Bayou City Waterkeeper and contribute to their initiatives.

 

Monica Saldaña, University of Houston Law Center (2L)

Monica is a rising 2L at the University of Houston Law Center. She graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Political Science. A Corpus Christi native, she has a deep appreciation for the wetlands and bodies of water that once surrounded her. She is passionate about access to clean water and environmental conservation. She is excited to work with Bayou City Waterkeeper this summer to help protect Houston’s waterways and improve water quality for the Houston community.

 

Maryam Sheikh, University of Houston Law Center (2L)

Maryam is a rising 2L at the University of Houston Law Center. Originally from Pakistan, she moved to Houston for her undergraduate studies, graduating from Rice University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. She taught physics, chemistry, and mathematics at YES Prep Public Schools for three years, where she saw the disproportionate effect of extreme weather conditions on vulnerable students and communities. She has always felt a strong connection to conservation because of her childhood experiences with water, gas, and electricity shortages. This connection was strengthened as she saw water scarcity and severe weather worsen over time, not just in her hometown, but also in Houston. Maryam is looking forward to using her scientific background and legal education to forward Bayou City Waterkeeper’s mission of conservation and sustainable development.

 

Fellows 

 

Aiyana Baptiste, Water Policy Fellow 

Aiyana was born and raised in Houston. She attended Texas A&M University and received her Bachelor of Science in Renewable Natural Resources, with an emphasis in Policy and Management, and a minor in Philosophy. During her time as an undergraduate student, she studied ecological tactics that are helpful in conservation. Currently, she focuses on the relationship between people, natural resources, conservation, and connections to environmental justice.

 

 

Ava Ortiz, Microplastics Research Fellow 

Ava is a recent graduate of Texas A&M Corpus Christi with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science with a concentration in Policy and Regulations and a minor in Geology. Ava has hands-on experience with oyster reef restoration projects as well as experience in water quality testing. She was born in the Rio Grande Valley, though has lived all over south and central Texas, which is how she developed love for the varied environments of Texas. When not working on environmental issues, she enjoys live music and spending time with her family, friends, and beloved elderly dog, Shaggy.

 

Emily Weaver, Cultural Strategies Fellow 

Emily was born and raised in Austin, Texas. She is a recent graduate of Rice University where she studied Anthropology, Environmental Studies, and Policy Analysis, and is an incoming student and Diamonstein-Speilvogel fellow at Columbia University’s Climate School. She began engaging with environmental justice issues in Houston after producing a short documentary project with TEJAS in 2018, and has continued to work with other local non-profit organizations addressing interdisciplinary aspects of the climate crisis. She is passionate about environmental education and resilience building through narrative and storytelling. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and trying new restaurants around Houston.

 

 

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Throughout the year Bayou City Waterkeeper hosts law, policy, communications, and science interns to help with our work across the Lower Galveston Bay watershed. For current job and internship openings, please visit our career opportunities page.