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Students Take On Climate Change
When Brenden Botelho ‘20 and Jonny Boains ‘18 chose Public Policy as their major at Bentley, a business university, neither had government experience but both wanted to use business to help communities solve problems. So when they took internships in the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, what was the biggest community problem at hand? Adapting to climate change.
Putting classroom skills to work
Growing up in Fall River, Mass., Botelho had a personal connection to Cape Cod and the islands, which were the setting for some of his fondest childhood memories. In recent years, he was struck by how much the coastal scenery has been changing because of catastrophic climate change-linked storms. “When you spend time in a place like Cape Cod and talk to residents, you can sense the urgency and the sadness,” says Botelho. “They know the future of their home is uncertain and you can’t help but want to take action.”
Botelho’s work as a policy analyst for the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs involves gathering and analyzing data to paint a picture of this uncertain future. He uses the skills learned in his Bentley classes to create computerized data models and then makes recommendations for environmental policies to implement in different communities. One of the great things about the internship, he says, is “finding the glimmers of hope in what can seem like a dismal climate future.” He notes how reassuring it is to see states up and down the East Coast collaborating, sharing their successes and failures, and doing everything they can to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.
Preparing for a career
Boains, a Connecticut native, always pictured himself in the policy world and chose to come to Bentley to learn business before transitioning to a career in law. Bentley’s Public Policy major - the first in Massachusetts offered at the undergraduate level - fit perfectly into his plan. After loving a Politics and Policy class taught by Assistant Professor Rob DeLeo, Boains landed an internship in the state Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Once at work, he began researching and evaluating climate change loan and grant programs across the country to assess what might work here in Massachusetts. He soon realized the importance of the work.
“Until I took this internship, it had not fully sunk in that cities across the Northeast are in trouble if they don’t start implementing climate change policies now,” says Boains. “It feels good to know that the work I’m doing is making that possible.”
As Botelho and Boains (photo at right) wrap up their internships with the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, both see a bright future. Boains plans to attend law school after graduation and Botelho’s work with the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has already landed him multiple offers for other internships.
"Jonny and Brenden embody everything that sets Bentley students apart - from business to public policy to economics to law, they’re comfortable drawing on a diverse array of perspectives when analyzing a complex problem like climate change,” says DeLeo. “It's no surprise they've grown into such valuable assets for the governor's office."
About Bentley University
Bentley University is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader with the technical skills, global perspective and ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Bentley’s diverse arts and sciences program combined with an advanced business curriculum prepares graduates to make an impact in their chosen fields. The university enrolls approximately 4,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students. For more information, visit www.bentley.edu.
Bentley was also named No. 1 for Highest Freshman Retention Rate, No. 3 for Most Innovative Schools and No. 4 for Best Undergraduate Teaching among the regional universities in the “2019 Best Colleges” report.