By Olivia Norton ’16
COLLEGE STATION – Erin Hawley was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Young Alumni Award during the Department of Animal Science External Awards Program held Wednesday, April 23. The award was presented to Hawley by Dr. Chris Skaggs, Associate Dean for Student Development and Professor in the Department of Animal Science.
Erin Morrow Hawley grew up on a large cattle operation in northeastern New Mexico, where she was an outstanding competitor in livestock judging in high school. She competed for Casper Junior College in Wyoming before transferring to Texas A&M, where she was a member of the 2001 All-American Livestock Judging Team. She was recognized nationally as an All-American in collegiate livestock judging in Louisville, KY in November 2001. This award recognizes excellence in academic performance and extracurricular involvement, success in livestock judging on the national level, and career goals.
Upon her arrival in the Animal Science department, she wasted no time, immediately immersing herself into the Aggie culture and extracurricular activities. Academically gifted, Hawley was a top student in Animal Science, where she participated in the Honors program. Consequently, she was selected as a Senior Merit Award recipient by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2001. Dr. Jim Sanders, one of her former professors, said, “I have taught undergraduate animal breeding to about 7,000 students over the last 38 years, and Erin is one of the top two or three in her understanding of what is really important in beef cattle breeding.”
While at Texas A&M, she was an Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy intern for Congressman Mac Thornberry. Sitting in on farm bill hearings sparked her interest in the ways agricultural laws and regulations affect farmers and ranchers. This set her on a career path to become an attorney and law professor.
After earning her animal science degree at Texas A&M in 2002, Hawley completed a year at the University of Texas Law School, where a professor encouraged her to transfer to one of the nation’s top law schools. After being offered admission to Yale, Harvard, and Stanford, she chose Yale Law School and earned her degree in 2005. While at Yale, she served as a Coker Fellow, a teaching assistant for constitutional law, and also as an editor of The Yale Law Journal.
She followed graduation with appointments of Litigation Associate with Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Washington, DC and law clerkships with J. Harvie Wilkinson, III, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and Chief Justice Roberts with the Supreme Court of the United States. She has briefed cases in the Supreme Court of the United States as well as numerous federal courts of appeals. She worked with Attorney General Michael Mukasey with the Department of Justice in the fall of 2008.
With a passion for agriculture combined with her interest in teaching others, she went on to have a teaching appointment at George Mason University School in the spring semesters of 2009 and 2010. She then worked as an associate in the national appellate practice at King and Spaulding LLP in Washington, DC., and as a counsel with Bancroft LLP in Washington, DC.
Hawley currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Law in Agricultural Law and Constitutional Litigation with the University of Missouri School of Law in Columbia, Missouri, where she says she hopes to pass on the love for agriculture instilled in her by her Texas A&M professors. Dr. Chris Skaggs, who coached her in livestock judging, said, “Erin will undoubtedly make a difference in food and agricultural law during her career. Her background and compassion for agriculture, combined with her interest in teaching others, will impact generations to follow.”
In 2013, Hawley was recognized by Texas A&M College of Ag and Life Sciences with the Outstanding Early Career Achievement Award.
Hawley is married to Joshua Hawley, also an associate professor of law at the University of Missouri. They have a son, Elijah.
Hawley embodies the ideals of the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, which recognizes a graduate of the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University within the past 12 years who has, early in their career, attained prominence in the field of animal science. The recipient of this award possesses excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service that merit the recognition of a proven leader in his/her chosen field.
Hawley set an outstanding example for current animal science students interested in pursuing a career in law and her success continues to bring honor to the Department of Animal Science.
Olivia Norton ’16 is a junior animal science major from Texarkana, Texas.
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Maggie Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 845-1542.