Undergraduate Student Profiles
Karl-Axel Hasselrot, a seventh semester student, recently joined the Resource Economics major after a few semesters at UConn deciding whether Economics, Environmental Science, or Business was the right major for him. He was pleased to find that the Resource Economics major, specifically with an area of concentration in Environmental Economics and Policy, combined his interests into one field of study .
A graduate of Staples High School in Westport, Karl-Axel is used to an academically challenging environment and sought to continue such rigor at UConn. He says that his Resource Economics classes, particularly Food Policy taught by Ph.D. student Charles Rhodes, challenged him and gave him a new perspective on the world around him. “The professors really take an interest,” Karl-Axel said. “And Food Policy was really interesting—we all eat, but who ever thinks about how the food gets there, the distribution system, and the impact that has?”
Conversational in Swedish, Karl-Axel is a frequent visitor to Stockholm where he noticed a combination of incentives and taxes have made for far greener cities than American metro areas. “Swedish citizens seem to be more interested in recycling,” Karl-Axel said. “Gas is taxes, cans have a 50 cent redemption value, and there’s a different attitude about waste and recycling”.
Karl-Axel hopes to find a career in environmental analysis in Metro New York following graduation.
Sarah Slack came to UConn interested in the environment, economics and business. She considered majoring in Natural Resources or Accounting, but found that Resource Economics provided her with the right balance of economics and environmental studies. Sarah said “I am very interested in looking at how we can balance environmental protection and economic growth.”
As part of Sarah’s Resource Economic studies she interned at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection were she compiled annual reports and authored articles on pollution management. This summer, she was selected to participate in the National Network for Environmental Management Studies Fellowship by the Environmental Protection Agency. During the twelve-week program in Washington DC, Sarah will work with the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response to analyze green remediation of Superfund sites---any land in the U.S. that has been contaminated by hazardous waste. “Green remediation is the use of sustainable practices during the cleanup process of contaminated sites in order to maximize the environmental benefits of the project,” she said. “We look at things like energy and water use, air pollution particularly greenhouse gases and the revitalization of ecosystem services.” Sarah will graduate in December 2010 and is looking to enter the workforce to gain some more experience in the environmental field. She is also considering attending law school or graduate school in the future.
A graduate of Hartford’s prestigious Academy of Math and Science, Yarelys Tifa, a 7th semester major, knew from her days in high school that she had an interest in things that were hands-on. While she at first considered the Business major when she arrived at UConn, Yarelys determined that a major in Resource Economics with a minor in Spanish was the best fit for her goals and timetable, and that its flexibility to fit her interests meant that she could take the classes that she wanted to take.
“I like to see how things work in the real world”, she said. She especially enjoyed Price Analysis and Futures Trading with Dr. Lopez where students team up and compete in a game to buy and sell shares of oil stocks. “When you get to play with stocks and see how numbers change—real numbers, not just what’s in the textbook—you can get more of a grasp on what you’re learning,” she said.
In summer 2010, Yarelys has her own taste of the real world when she completed an internship at Otis Elevator Corporation in Farmington. Far from being a run-of-the-mill experience, the internship has furthered her interest in sales and allowed her to see what a career in the field would be like.
“Otis has challenged me and the whole experience has been great. They’ve had me go out in the field and get real-world experience. I love it! I really have had my work cut out for me,” she said.
Following graduation in May, Yarelys hopes to enter OTIS’s sales representative trainee program and eventually manage her own sales district.