Currently an attorney for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Futerman hopes to take his environmental advocacy to the next level.
Headshot of Andrew Futerman
Andrew Futerman

New Jersey native Andrew Futerman moved to Chicago in 2019 to become an attorney for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where much of his work focuses on enforcement of environmental laws. “I am very interested in the way we interact with our environment as well as environmental justice issues,” he said.

However, Futerman comes from a multifaceted background. Prior to his current role, he served as a judicial law clerk in Seattle for the Washington State Court of Appeals. And nearly a decade ago, he spent seven years in the United States Army, serving two tours overseas.

“Combat has a unique way of staying with you and really shaping who you are as a human being,” said Futerman. “My time in the Army gave me a really strong work ethic and a sense of perspective that I bring to everything I do. No matter how hard a challenge I face, it’s never going to be the worst day of my life. I came out of that experience better and stronger, so I try to remember that whatever stress I’m feeling will only make me sharper.”

Prior to joining the Army, Futerman was a volunteer fireman and emergency medical technician throughout high school. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Science in fisheries and wildlife sciences with a concentration in marine conservation and public policy, as well as a minor in applied economics, from Oregon State University. He later earned his Juris Doctorate in environmental Law from Lewis & Clark Law School.

Futerman said he draws inspiration from his mentors, Dr. Brian Sidlauskas at Oregon State and Professor Craig Johnston at Lewis & Clark Law School—who also worked at the EPA. “It’s kind of amazing that I’m now going to the University of Chicago where Dr. Sidlauskas went and working at the EPA where Professor Johnston was. I never thought about it that way before—I’m kind of following in their footsteps," said Futerman.

Futerman’s dedication to public service led him to see public policy as a natural step forward from law. He hopes to examine higher-level issues within the federal government, and believes that a degree in public policy will help him make a greater impact in the world.

"Harris was the best investment I could make in myself—I was immediately drawn to the community. I’ve experienced somewhat of an outpouring from individuals at UChicago, from alumni to current students to staff, who reached out to chat and share resources.” At Harris, Futerman especially hopes to join Harris Student Organizations such as MASH and those focused on environmental policy.

Because of his career, he believes that his concentration will be connected in some shape or form to the environment, environmental law, or environmental justice. In particular, he is interested in working in advocacy for the environment. “Over time, I’ve grown quite frustrated with science’s unwillingness to advocate for itself—where scientists would get these important results and confirm them, and then publish a paper and then just stop. I want to take up that middle-ground role between policy and science, so I can hopefully look back on my career fifty years from now and see that I’ve made a real difference.”