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University of Rhode Island — Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
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Kristina DiSanto
URI Student Profile

I began my studies at URI with no specific career path in mind; I wanted to try almost everything. I chose URI because it was close to home, only a half hour away from where I grew up in Warwick, Rhode Island. I wanted to pursue a science degree but I couldnít narrow it down to just one. I ended up in a philosophy class by chance where I learned how to argue, to write, to use the rules of logic to test any theory. If only I could combine it with my first love of science. I wanted a type of science where I could test the logic of its policies, to see if they were socially or economically feasible. The Resource Economics and Commerce major satisfied that craving perfectly.

Being an ENRE major gave me more freedom than I thought to explore all of the other subjects I found interesting. I was able to complete a Philosophy minor and explore other natural resource science classes while fulfilling my major requirements on time. Class sizes of less than a dozen students once I reached the higher levels allowed me to form better relationships with my professors. The camaraderie was obvious and for the first time I could actually say that studying for an exam wasnít torturous. When I received an Energy Fellowship at the URI Outreach Center I was able to use the analysis methods I learned in class to assess renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that URI could implement to reduce its carbon footprint. Working as an Energy Fellow and being placed on a multitude of projects with other students for the university and the state that helped me expand past the general concepts I learned in class, helped me to realize that I found the perfect major and wanted to learn more beyond the Bachelorís degree.

Iíve just completed my first year of graduate school in the ENRE department and plan to graduate with my Masters in May 2012. Iíve also been able to continue working at the URI Outreach Center and currently working with a team of graduate students to manage other Energy Fellows on a project based through the Environmental Protection Agency. Weíre helping four municipalities in the State of Rhode Island to assess their total energy use and reduce their consumption by investing in efficiency programs. When I graduate Iím hoping to continue working in the public sector to help the state implement further initiatives to reduce their energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy bills. By pursuing my Masters degree while working at the same time, Iím getting the skills and mostly the confidence I need to land a job once itís time for me to graduate.