Environmental & Energy Law Awards and Competitions


Students are invited to compete in national and regional energy, environmental, and sustainable competitions. The terms and availability of these competitions are established by their sponsors, but students may earn academic credit for their participation. In the past, our students have competed in the National Energy & Sustainability Moot Court Competition, the Robert R. Merhige National Environmental Negotiation Competition, the Pace University Haub School of Law National Environmental Moot Court Competition, the Stetson International Moot Court Competition, and numerous writing competitions such as those sponsored by various ABA sections.

The Jamie Grodsky Environmental Scholarship Prize

Professor Jamie Grodsky

The Jamie Grodsky Prize for Environmental Law Scholarship was established to honor Professor Grodsky's legacy of leading-edge environmental scholarship by encouraging students to produce papers on important environmental issues.

The prize of $5,000 is awarded for the best paper written by a GW Law JD, LLM, or SJD student in the field of environmental law in the previous calendar year. To receive the prize, a paper must be of publishable quality and make a significant contribution to the theory or practice of environmental law.

The determination of whether a paper falls within the category of environmental law will be within the discretion of the competition jury, but the term is intended to be liberally interpreted to include scholarship in the fields of pollution control, natural resources, sustainable development, smart growth, agriculture, energy, land use, and animal law.

The winner is selected by a jury consisting of at least one GW Law faculty member, a faculty member from another law school, and a GW Law alumnus. Criteria for selecting the winner include originality, innovation, depth of scholarship, the importance of the environmental issue addressed, and the quality of writing and analysis. In its sole discretion, the committee may decide that no paper merits the award in a particular year. The Jamie Grodsky Prize is awarded each year at an awards ceremony held in connection with the Law School's annual J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Symposium. 

How to Apply

Papers eligible for the $5,000 Grodsky Prize for Environmental Law Scholarship must have been submitted for a grade between January 1 and December 31 of the calendar year immediately preceding the date of submission. Eligible papers include those written in conjunction with a course (including Independent Legal Writing or Graduate Independent Legal Writing), law review or journal articles, seminar papers, Practicum papers, and theses. Papers may reflect discussions with faculty members, student law review editors, or both. The version of the article submitted for judging, however, may not be the product of significant editorial changes by a person or persons other than the student author. Most of the work on the paper must be done during the time the author is a student at GW Law.

Papers should be between 30 and 75 double-spaced pages in length. No entry may be published or accepted for publication at the time of submission for the competition. Submissions are limited to one paper per student. Multiple submissions will disqualify the student from the competition.

In order to be considered for the Prize, your paper must be submitted to Elaine Valmonte ([email protected]) with a blank cover sheet giving your GWID number as the only identification, between January 1 and January 15, but no later than January 15 at 5:00 pm EST. Any paper that includes the author's name or other identifying information on any page will be automatically disqualified. Questions may be directed to Assistant Dean Randall Abate ([email protected]).

Submit Paper

Previous Winners of the Grodsky Prize


Shana Herman Grodsky




2023 Winner: Shana Herman, JD '23

Shana Herman was awarded the 2023 Grodsky Prize for her paper, “Conservation Co-Governance as a Cure: Investigating Aotearoa New Zealand’s Conservation Co-Governance Model as a Blueprint for Restoring Navajo Sovereignty in Managing Canyon de Chelly,” addresses the historic exclusion of Indigenous Peoples from the process of managing their ancestral lands in ways that infringe on tribal sovereignty and treaty rights.

Christina Morgan

2022 Winner: Christina Morgan, JD ’22

Christina Morgan, JD '22, was honored with the 2022 Grodsky Prize. Her paper, "Using Uganda's Regulations as the Basis for a Standalone Legal Mechanism to Regulate Access to and Benefit-Sharing of Biological Resources and Traditional Knowledge in the United Republic of Tanzania," provided an in-depth analysis of international benefit-sharing mandates, a detailed critique of Tanzania's inadequate effort to protect biological resources and traditional knowledge, and recommendations that were pragmatic, thoughtful, and creative. Ms. Morgan's Note is scheduled to be published in Volume 54 of the GW International Law Review.

Laura Cahier, LLM ’21



2021 Winner: Laura Cahier, LLM ’21

Ms. Cahier’s paper, “Environmental Justice in the United Nations Human Rights System: Challenges and Opportunities for the Protection of Indigenous Women against Environmental Violence,” argues for advancing legal standards relating to environmental justice within the current U.N. human rights system, despite the absence of a specific right to live free from environmental violence. Her paper can be found in Volume 13, Number 1, of the George Washington Journal of Energy and Environmental Law.


Aaron Aber



2020 Winner: Aaron Aber, JD ’20

Mr. Aber's paper is titled “We Could Stop the Fire: Re-Thinking U.S. Wildfire Management and the Healthy Forests Restoration Act,” and proposes revisions to the Healthy Forests Restoration Act that would make adaptive management the central component of federal forest management policy and imagines reintroducing judicial review to the forest management decision-making process. 


Christopher DelGiorno, LLM ’18



2019 Winner: Christopher DelGiorno, LLM ’18

His paper, “Closing the Loop: The Folly of Burn Pits and Achieving Sustainable Military Contingency Operations Through Life-Cycle Cost Analysis,” discusses burn pits and achieving sustainable military contingency operations through life-cycle cost analysis. His article was published in Volume 48, Number 4, of the ABA's Public Contract Law Journal.


Brian Gumz



2018 Winner: Brian Gumz JD '18

Mr. Gumz's article, "Administrative Nonacquiescence and the EPA," discussed the practice of administrative nonacquiescence at the Environmental Protection Agency. His article can be found in Volume 10, Number 1, of the George Washington Journal of Energy & Environmental Law.


Thomas Alford, LLM '16



2017 Winner: Thomas Alford, LLM '16

Major Alford, a JAG officer in the U.S. Air Force, submitted his paper in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Master of Laws in Government Procurement and Environmental Law. The winning paper, "Off the Grid: Facilitating the Acquisition of Microgrids for Military Installations to Achieve Energy Security and Sustainability," discussed the process for obtaining energy security for key Department of Defense facilities. The article was published in Volume 8, Number 2 of the George Washington Journal of Energy & Environmental Law.


Adrienne Thompson



2016 Winner: Adrienne Thompson, LLM '18

Ms. Thompson's paper, "Preparing for the Energy Future by Creating It: What State Public Utility Commissions Can do to Promote Sustainable Energy Policies," was published in Volume 7, Number 3, of the George Washington Journal of Energy & Environmental Law.

Earlier winners of the Grodsky Prize can be found on the Endowed Funds Page, where donations to the Jamie Grodsky Prize for Environmental Law Scholarship Fund can also be made. Congratulations to all!