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Student Profile: Kristina Schiavone

Cleveland State University law student Kristina Schiavone graduated from the College of Wooster with a degree in chemistry and has worked as an associate chemist for the past four years at Coventya, Inc., a company that specializes in producing metal surface treatment chemicals. She had been considering going back to school to pursue a Ph.D., but when she started to see all the regulations affecting her work, she realized the far-reaching influence lawyers and lawmakers have even in the chemical industry. She decided she would have the greatest impact by studying the law. 

When Schiavone set forward with her plan to attend CSU’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, she did not believe the skills she learned in chemistry would translate easily. But now in her third year of legal studies, she has come to realize that analytical reasoning and problem-solving skills are quite important in both chemistry and legal work.

Time management is another skill that Schiavone finds herself utilizing more and more as she continues working as a full-time chemist while attending law school. She has also managed to carve out time to get involved on campus, serving as submissions/articles editor for the Global Business Law Review and as treasurer for the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. She also joined CSU’s Global Space Law Center Research Council. It was founded in 2017 under the direction of Professor Mark Sundahl to conduct research to influence current legislative and regulatory efforts on the domestic and international level.

Schiavone was initially skeptical about the field of space law. But after encountering topics related to space activity more often in her day-to-day activities, she decided to research the topic further. Her interest piqued as she saw that the field presents many questions on governance and is largely regulated by only five international treaties. 

Schiavone decided to enroll CSU’s space law course and also write a note for the Global Business Law Review on the application of environmental law principles to outer space. She further fell in love with the subject matter during the course, and after completion Professor Sundahl asked her to join the GSLC Research Council.

One of Schiavone’s main projects with the Council has been planning the Center’s 2020 legal symposium, Returning to The Moon: Legal Challenges as Humanity Begins to Settle the Solar System, which was held March 6. Schiavone helped secure and support several high-profile speakers from NASA, SpaceX, the U.S. Department of Commerce and other companies and organizations. 
Schiavone notes that the moon and its regulation is particularly important because it will likely set a precedent for the regulation of Mars as well as other planets and discoveries in space.

“The world is ready to again take on the exploration of outer space,” she said. “The more informed you are, the more you will understand what the future holds.”

Schiavone has very much enjoyed her time researching moon exploration and other outer space topics. She sees space law as an area she would like to explore in her career after graduation. She is also interested in intellectual property law, believing there is a natural tie to the opportunities that lay ahead in space law.