Amelia Samaras, Class of 2000

Post-Graduation:
J.D., American University, Washington, DC May 2006.

Current Career:
Attorney - U.S. Department of Transportation- Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

We write and enforce regulations that require pipeline (oil) companies to design, build, inspect, and maintain their pipelines to protect public safety and the environment.  We also write and enforce regulations that require the safe movement (packaging, placarding, etc.) of hazardous materials in transportation (i.e. air, highway, rail, vessel).  I also work on a lot of environmental and administrative (i.e. regulatory) law issues.

Some of the Rewards and Challenges of this Position:
Some companies do not want to comply with the law!  I think we do a fairly good job of protecting the public and the environment, while recognizing that our economy is extremely dependant on the services these industries provide.

Your most Exciting or Worthwhile Experience in this Position:
Presiding over hearings in which my agency has brought an enforcement action against a pipeline company.  I listen to the arguments and evidence presented and then write a decision recommending what actions the company must take to ensure safety and appropriate civil penalties (fines).

How did the education you received from Illinois Wesleyan's Political Science Department help prepare you for this position?
Concise writing is key in law school and in the practice of law!  Starting with my "Gateway" class with Dr. Simeone, those skills were drilled into me. The writing intensive coursework of a political science major was key to giving me good writing skills and analytical reasoning. I know the professors aren't thrilled when their students choose law school, but the thorough understanding of government and history that you come out with helps in law school.

Advice for Wesleyan's Current Political Science Majors:
If you are interested in law (especially environmental law, medical malpractice law, patent law, etc.) I recommend a double major- the other major being a hard science- biology, chemistry, etc. .  I realize this amounts to a killer schedule, but it can really propel your career!  I wish I would have done this!  I had science internships, and that helped. Between IWU and law school, I served in the Peace Corps for 2 years.  I highly recommend it.  You will master a foreign language and learn more about the world than you could in the greatest school.  When you get to the next step, you'll be a little older than everyone else, but you will have a wisdom and confidence others don't.  After Peace Corps, you realize you can handle just about anything!  Even law school, which is not easy to handle!