For Laura Pagliarulo, it was the broad range of classes offered through the Environmental Program that helped her discover the issue and field that inspires her career today. “The program opened the world up to me by letting me explore different subject areas. I took environmental courses in anthropology and religion and business.” Then she discovered the powerful links between energy use and the environment and shaped her concentration around energy policy.
In her Belize study abroad program and course work, Laura pursued this path, capping her studies with a senior thesis on the co-generation proposal to bring waste heat from Burlington’s McNeil biomass generating station to campus. “Although the technical part of the issue was interesting, what I really enjoyed about that work was seeing all the different perspectives—UVM’s heating plant manager, the staff at Burlington Electric Department and the local community stakeholders. It was pretty eye opening.”
Following graduation, Laura went on to work in energy policy for the Alliance for Climate Action and the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. In graduate school at James Madison University, Laura studied wind power policy and engineering. Today Laura co-manages the renewable energy program for one of the Capitol’s largest energy suppliers, Washington Gas Energy Services. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband John and two-year-old son Dominic.