Student among first to complete URI’s Blue MBA returns to pursue environmental economics doctorate

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 7, 2015 – Like countless other students, it took Carrie Gill of Baltimore, Maryland a little while after graduation to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. After teaching youngsters about basic science at the Maryland Science Center for two years, she realized that her double major in physics and math from Loyola University Maryland was not going to become her career.

Carrie realized she wanted to help improve the world by working on environmental issues, so she sought a master’s program that would give her the skills to develop environmental policy. She found URI’s Blue MBA program, a unique program that provides graduates with master’s degrees in oceanography and business administration. There are multiple career options for such graduates, including policy-making, environmental research and management and working to resolve the budget issues related to environmental regulations and law.

“It was really the only program like it in the U.S.,” said Gill, a member of the first full graduating cohort in 2010.

When Gill arrived in Rhode Island, she fell in love. Rhode Island’s 384 miles of coastline and the culture of environmental concern that came with them made it the perfect place for Gill to immerse herself in oceanography practice and principles, as well as business management. But a rewarding academic experience was not the only thing she found.

“The students here are really interesting, and the culture is unique,” she said. “People are focused on research and there are so many resources.”

After completing the URI master’s program, Gill headed south again to work in wind energy development in Washington, D.C. There, she had a change of heart.

“After working in D.C., I realized I wanted to do research,” she said. She knew that Rhode Island was the only place where she wanted to take this next step in her life, so, after two years, she returned. “I love Rhode Island,” she said. “This is the only Ph.D. program I applied to.”

Gill expects to complete her doctorate in environmental and natural resource economics in 2017. She wants to research, teach, and eventually become a professor. “I want to understand complex environmental problems from diverse perspectives,” she said.

She seeks to explain why and how people make decisions related to the environment. “Climate change is a very human problem,” she said. “We’re not robots acting in a void; we’re humans making decisions.”

Gill is also a member of the Facilities and Operations Subcommittee of the URI President’s Council on Sustainability. She and URI faculty members work to decrease emissions and promote environmental initiatives across the campus.

Gill also brings her passion for Ultimate Frisbee to URI, coaching the women’s team since 2013. The team had a coach when she started at URI in 2012, but in 2013 when the coach moved to the men’s team, Gill stepped in. “I knew I wanted to be involved, and I saw a void where I could help out.”

Gill has loved Ultimate since college, where she began playing almost a decade ago. “Ultimate Frisbee is a great community to be a part of. It’s very inclusive,” she said.

While coaching the team here at URI, she has enjoyed watching players grow to love Ultimate as much as she does. “You can see people going from knowing absolutely nothing about the sport to building confidence and leadership skills and becoming a contributing member of the community.”

Her variety of experiences, from environmental research and business classes to helping players gain confidence in Ultimate Frisbee has allowed Gill to see the world from a variety of perspectives. This unique combination gives her a human approach to environmental science, which will allow her to effect change in the lives’ of students and the world.

Pictured above: Carrie Gill holds a URI Ultimate Frisbee disc.

Photo by Nora Lewis

Emma Clarke, an intern in the Department of Marketing & Communications and a public relations major, wrote this release.