Joe Bronstein

May 5, 2023

Joe Bronstein, senior, pursuing a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental & Water Resource Economics (EWRE), and also AREC’s Accelerated Master's Program (AMP). Joe is completing his senior year in EWRE and will graduate with his B.S. this Spring, starting Fall 2023 he will continue to his second and final year as a graduate student. This student spotlight highlights Joe’s determined academic career story and the future journey that he has created for himself with the support of AREC. The department extends our warmest congratulations to Joe’s outstanding hard work. 

In Joe Bronstein’s words: 

I chose to come to UA for a variety of reasons. I grew up in Denver and knew I wanted to go out of state to get a new life experience in a different place. My grandfather has lived in Tucson for a little over a decade now, so he was pulling hard for me to give the university a good look when I was applying for colleges. Upon visiting the campus, I instantly fell in love with the scenery and was intrigued by the variety of academic options that were available. Coming in, I was planning on majoring in Environmental Science, so I met with an academic advisor for that program, and she told me about their accelerated master’s program which was very appealing to me.  

I started at U of A in fall of 2020, with the plan to do my undergrad in Environmental Science and continue on through the accelerated master’s program in that department. Well after my first semester of chemistry, I realized that something that was heavily science-focused maybe wasn’t for me after all. So, one night I just pulled up the university website and scrolled through the list of all the majors the university had. I have a passion for the environment and sustainability, so I knew I wanted to stay in that subject area. EWRE instantly stuck out to me as something that would be very interesting. I had always liked economics, and being able to pair that with my passion for sustainability was an extremely appealing idea. Resource economics was not something I had even known was a possibility when I was coming out of high school. I met with Danielle to get more info about the program and found out they also had an accelerated master’s program. Along with that, the degree path was very flexible and gave me the opportunity to take classes in a variety of different subject areas and further explore my interests and curiosities. It didn’t take long for me to make the switch to AREC and quite frankly, it was one of the best decisions of my life.  

The department is smaller, which means that not only do I take my classes with many of the same faces, but I got to know my professors a lot better than I think I would have in a larger department. In particular, Dr. Tauhidur Rahman and Dr. Gary Thompson have been great mentors to me not only academically, but also professionally, in thinking about what I want to do after I graduate. All of my professors in the department have never shied away from taking time to meet with me to go over certain topics I’m struggling with or give advice about my future endeavors.  

I started the Accelerated Master’s Program in August 2022, just as planned when I started college (just not in the same field of study!). I’ll be honest, I was definitely questioning my decision during math boot camp, and I was concerned that since I was still an undergrad, the other graduate students would look down on me. It seems so silly looking back on it now though! The other graduate students have played a huge role in making my first year of the AMP such a wonderful experience. The second-year students have been full of advice and wisdom, and my fellow first-year cohort has become good friends of mine and great study partners. The current group of grad students is a very tight-knit community and I feel so lucky and grateful to be able to be a part of that. I can’t wait to meet the incoming cohort this fall! 

This past year, my first in the AMP has been the most fruitful year of my college career and one of the best years of my life. I’ve had the opportunity to take graduate-level classes which have presented a fun challenge and the opportunity to go deeper in subjects that I’ve studied in my undergraduate career. I also had the unique opportunity to be a preceptor with Dr. Na Zuo in her 297 Excel course. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with other undergrads and assist them throughout the course. I was recently offered a teaching assistant position in the department for next year, and I can’t wait to continue working with undergrads in the department and helping them learn about some really cool topics!” 

Joe’s words to his past self: 

“The biggest piece of advice I have for any incoming students is to follow and explore your passions. I’ve tried to do this throughout my college career and I think it has made my college experience so much more enjoyable. Academically, my interests led me to AREC and the AMP, which has been a wonderful experience. I also joined the universities photography club and worked my way up to President this year. That has given me an opportunity to meet all kinds of different students who share the same hobby as I do. I have always enjoyed playing sports, and have enjoyed playing intramurals in my college career. I also helped organize an AREC kickball team with the other graduate students. We didn’t win many games, but it was a super fun experience and I know we’ll continue it next year.  

While I don’t quite know what I want to do after I finish the AMP, I know I want to stay in the environmental economics space and use the skills I’ve learned in AREC. It is a daunting task, thinking about my future career path, but I know I have a great support system in AREC between my professors and the other grad students, and honestly, I couldn’t ask for much more.” 

Kickball 2023
Kickball team members, 2023; left to right: Keshav Bhusal, Angela Jungbluth, Zoey Reed-Spitzer, Jesus Felix De Los Reyes, Ning Zhang, Joe himself, Chandrakant Agme, and Fabiana Natali.