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Christopher Lang (MA, 2012)

Christopher Lang stands in front of the New York Capitol Building in Albany

Christopher Lang, a graduate of the Marine Conservation and Policy (MCP) Master’s Program, is using his degree to make a difference in environmental policy.

Lang, who graduated from the MCP program in 2012, works as a Legislative Fellow in the New York Senate. The prestigious Legislative Fellowship Program, which accepts graduate students from a variety of programs, pairs students with New York Senators to do legislative research and write policy. Lang is working with Senator Catharine Young whose work in agriculture and environmental policy is a good match for Lang’s interests and abilities.

Lang hopes to focus on aquaculture policy during his time in the New York Senate, and attributes much of his professional success to the MCP program and to the courses he took during his time at Stony Brook University.

“I definitely wouldn’t be in a position to get this job without the MCP program,” says Lang.

The MCP program allows students to tailor their degree, offering courses in environmental law and policy, science communication, and other more traditional science-based conservation classes. After students complete their coursework, they complete a capstone project or internship, where they apply the skills developed in classes to real-life scenarios in the workplace. Lang chose to participate in an internship with the Mystic Aquarium as an educator, a position that gave him some extra experience in communication. “I never dreamed this was where it would take me. Use the diversity of the program to your advantage,” Lang advises current and prospective students.

Lang certainly has done that. Having received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Providence College, he took Environmental Law classes as an MCP student, which helped him understand and become familiar with court and law documents. However, Lang believes the science communication courses were the most beneficial for him.

“Those courses can prepare you for anything. I had a lot of fun in my improvisation course, and learned so much as well,” states Lang.

Looking forward, Lang plans to use the connections and skills he gains as a Legislative Fellow to his advantage in future work with environmental policy, either in a state or federal agency or in a private firm.