Rich Powell

Rich Powell(2000)


Harvard College, B.A. ’05; NYU Law, J.D. ’10

Employer/Job Title

Law Student


– 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Negotiation Competition Team
– Third Millennium Foundation Human Rights Fellowship to work with Inuit Circumpolar Council on climate change
– Managing Director of the Circumpolar Conservation Union
– Hoopes Prize for College Senior Thesis on Environmental Reparations
– 3rd Place Team at 2005 North American Parliamentary Debating Championships


The education I received at the Pennsylvania Governors School for Science has been singularly influential in my path since the summer of 2000. The classroom experience was the most remarkable of my life, and challenged my thinking in every way imaginable. I had university-level coursework in five disciplines, saw lab science for the first time, learned basic computer programming, and returned to school in the fall already far ahead of my high school’s science offerings. Perhaps most importantly, we were taught to understand the way diverse disciplines interconnect, and how those with a background in and love of science could bring that understanding into other fields. I am firmly convinced that the recommendations sent on my behalf by PGSS faculty made the difference in my college applications. At Harvard, I was able to pursue this deep interest in science with a concentration in Environmental Science and Public Policy, and a particular focus on climate change. While college academics were difficult, I was never as challenged as in those five weeks at Carnegie Mellon, and I would have beencompletely unprepared for that level of rigor without PGSS. Since then, I have decided to pursue a career somewhere at the intersection of science and policy, and after law school, plan to accept a position at McKinsey & Co, a management consulting firm with a world-class climate change practice. I am immensely grateful for the opportunities presented to me by home state in 2000, and I hope that both our Governor and our Legislature will have the foresight to maintain these extraordinary formative experiences for young Pennsylvanians, even in these trying times.