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Alexander Sprenger L’22 and Katherine Rohde L’23 named winners of ‘Administrative Law’ essay competition

March 24, 2022

Sprenger wrote about the redefined scope of the Clean Water Act while Rohde’s essay addresses congressional action concerning suicide risks among LGBTQ+ youth.

Last spring, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School Professor of Law and History Sophia Lee hosted an essay competition for students enrolled in her “Administrative Law” course. For the competition, students were asked to research and write an essay about a federal rulemaking or proposal. The editorial team of The Regulatory Review, the flagship publication of the Penn Program on Regulation (PPR), reviewed the top essays and selected two for publication.

The 2021 winning essays were “Debate Continues Over Redefined Scope of the Clean Water Act” by Alexander Sprenger L’22 and “Addressing Suicide Risks Among LGBTQ+ Youth” by Katherine Rohde L’23.

The following are excerpts from the essays.


When facing a mental health crisis, it is easier to remember three numbers rather than ten.

This proposition is what motivated the U.S. Congress to establish a new three-digit emergency number for mental health crises. Beginning this summer, callers can dial 988 and immediately connect with counselors at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The dialing code is the result of four years of coordination between Congress and multiple administrative agencies, but work remains to address the needs of a uniquely vulnerable group — LGBTQ youth.


Almost every human activity requires water in some form. Consequently, federal water pollution regulation affects a wide range of stakeholders with competing interests.

In April of 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, following one of the Trump Administration’s most contentious environmental rulemaking efforts, issued a final rule that sharply narrowed the scope of the federal government’s regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.

Now, as the Biden Administration continues to reverse the direction of regulatory agencies under the previous administration, the debate over EPA’s jurisdiction to regulate water pollution is far from over.

Read the students’ full winning essays at The Regulatory Review.