Vincent Pagano ‘20

Enticed by environment, economics and opportunity
UNH environmental conservation and sustainability major Vincent Pagano '20

Vincent Pagano ’20 is an environmental conservation and sustainability major and economics minor from Epsom, New Hampshire. At UNH, Vincent has forged a challenging and exciting path that synthesizes his interests in the environment and economics. Following graduation in May, Vincent, who is the recipient of both the Wildlife Class of 1974 Scholarship, the Bill and Becky McGee Endowed Scholarship, and a Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship, plans to spend a few years in the workforce before applying to law school.

COLSA: Why did you choose UNH?

Vincent Pagano: UNH became my choice for a lot of reasons, number one being the Natural Resources and Environment department being one of the highlights of UNH and offering some of the best programs in the country. It made no sense to go anywhere else to pursue a study of the environment and economics, two of my greatest interests.

UNH is also close enough to home for me to be convenient, but I never felt like it was an extension of my high school. It feels like a completely different part of New Hampshire nestled in the middle of everything that I love about the state.

COLSA: What's your major and what makes it so interesting to you?

Vincent: I'm an environmental conservation and sustainability major. I think it is one of the most diverse majors that NREN and UNH offers. The opportunity to create a focus area within the major offers a lot of flexibility in exploring interests and pursuing a career in something you love, which has been my goal since the beginning. For me, being able to combine an interest of economics, energy systems and learning software that will make me a competitive candidate in the workforce is invaluable and my favorite part of being in ECS.

Of course, I can't forget to mention the passion that every professor that I’ve had in my major classes brings to every class and passes on to the students. The combination of traditional learning and non-conventional teaching techniques is a great perk of being in ECS.

COLSA: During your time at UNH, what are you most proud of?

Vincent: I'm most proud of taking my summers to use the countless opportunities that UNH offers. My first year I conducted independent research on microbreweries in New Hampshire under the guidance of Dr. John Halstead. Sophomore summer I secured a Social Innovation Internship doing sustainability consulting with BerryDunn through the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise.

This past summer I worked in Dr. Russ Congalton's lab doing independent research using drones to look at forest edge influence in New Hampshire forests. All those opportunities were presented to me in my ECS classes, and all of them have put me in a place today where I have a lot of experience in different sectors.

COLSA: What are you planning to do after graduation?

Vincent: I am hoping to go into the workforce for several years to build a professional background before going to law school. I am currently looking for jobs in environmental consulting, energy systems, or economic development.

I am also applying for NASA's DEVELOP program. If accepted I will complete that 10-week program before accepting a full-time job.

COLSA: How is UNH preparing you to achieve your goals?

Vincent: UNH has offered me four years of guidance in academics and professional development. The nice thing about the size of the school is that there are university-wide opportunities such as the large career fair that takes place every semester and the discovery program that puts you in classes with people of all kinds of interests and can create amazing business ideas or great friendships, as well as the opportunity to know everyone within your major.

All of this makes it easier to achieve your goals because you have a toolbox full of different methods that you can use to achieve whatever you set your mind to. For me, this has been integrating my love for environmental studies and sustainability with economics inside and outside of the classroom.

COLSA: What do you love most about UNH?

Vincent: I love the passion that my professors bring to my classes. It motivates me more and makes the classes something extra to look forward to. Outside of the classroom I love the small town feel of Durham. I see people I know every time I walk to class or eat at the dining halls. I can go on hiking trips easily or visit the ocean during spring finals to take a load off.

I can celebrate the Patriots winning the Superbowl downtown with crowds of students or take a 10-minute drive to Adam's Point and see some of the most beautiful and serene landscapes any time I want. I love that UNH offers so many unique opportunities and landscapes.

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