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"Coming Home": Professor Annie Eisenberg discusses returning to Morgantown and her favorite teaching moments

Originally from Ithaca, NY, West Virginia University College of Law Professor and Research Director for the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development Annie Eisenberg was first interested in pursuing law after being advised that a law degree comes with power for making change in the world. 

She was also interested in the language of law. 

“I’m interested in language and how lawyers can use words to encourage different audiences to think about things differently, whether in the courtroom, as advocates or scholars, or wearing other hats,” said Eisenberg.

So, how did someone from the middle of the Finger Lakes make it to Morgantown, West Virginia? 

“I first came to West Virginia to be closer to family in Upstate New York while also completing a fellowship at WVU Law,” she said. “I came back to West Virginia because I fell in love with it the first time. Then I got lucky that there was an opening on the faculty at the same time that I was looking to make a change.”

She described how being back at WVU Law after completing her LL.M here in 2014 felt “like coming home.” She applauds the community for making her experience what it is today.

“It's definitely the community,” said Eisenberg. “Our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other community members just have this sense of warmth, humor, and friendship that you can't get at a bigger school. The thing I love the second most is the opportunity to work on energy justice and rural development issues right in the heart of energy country.

“Being surrounded by students is just an enriching experience. They make me laugh, get me to think about things in different ways, and inspire me with their dreams and ambitions. Then if I am able to provide them with any big "aha" moments, all the better. It is a pretty big privilege to get to introduce first-year students to a whole new area of law, for example, which I get to do by teaching Property.”

When asked about her favorite teaching moments, she said that she has seen a lot of interesting student presentations.

“My favorite teaching moments have involved students being in more of an active role with their education and really steering the ship on whatever we're discussing, even if it's just for a five-minute presentation.”

Looking forward to the 2024-25 academic year, Eisenberg said students in her Energy Law course this fall will be working on several exciting projects. One of those will involve creating a "People's Guide to Energy Policy," which should be a helpful resource for laypeople to understand this complex area of law.

Aside from planning for fall courses, she will also be celebrating her book Reviving Rural America: Toward Policies for Resilience, which comes out this summer after several years of work.

“I was also very pleased to secure a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, with my colleague Professor Kat Garvey, for a gathering this summer of people doing important work on energy transitions,” she said.

Learn more about Professor Eisenberg and pre-order her book here.

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