Student Success Story: Chris Bruno

Chris Bruno

Major(s): Resource Economics

Minor(s): Entrepreneurship and German

Class Standing: Junior

What interests you about your major?

I really liked economics and liked the applications used in Resource Economics. I was also interested in studying business and environmental fields and the major allowed me to do both.

Can you tell us some of the things you’re responsible for as a Sustainability Intern with the UConn Office of Environmental Policy?

I have the lead role in the office for tracking our university’s greenhouse gas emissions. This involves working with the environmental compliance officers and many contacts from departments around campus. This information is tracked to see how UConn is progressing towards carbon neutrality for various reporting purposes. I am also a lead in developing, conducting, and analyzing the Environmental Awareness Survey, planning Green Game Days, and working on the Tree Campus USA application, which recognizes the university as a promoter and protector of trees, among other roles. The Office does great work for the university and I am glad to be able to work with a lot of other interns, like Emily McInerney, the President of EcoHusky, to do my part.

How did you obtain the position?

My advisor recommended me because he knew about my interest in helping and promoting the environment.

What is your favorite part about it?

I really enjoy working with departments from all over campus, analyzing campus trends, and the charismatic people I work with in the office.

What is the most challenging aspect of it?

There are a lot of deadlines and logistics to tackle when working at the office. Also, many of the assignments are not cut and dry and require a lot of teamwork, information digging, and general collaboration. It makes for a challenging environment where interns can learn.

Can you think of a time you really wowed your supervisor/employer?

Last summer, when I worked at TNS, a large market research firm, I had the chance to learn how to use a new analytic software program and teach it to my managers. They were all really busy working on various projects at the time, so having someone work with the program really saved them time and helped them with business development reports.

You’ve also studied abroad in both Costa Rica and Germany. What was that like?

I really enjoyed both study abroad trips and appreciated the new perspectives from assimilation in different cultures. I really felt like I learned a lot by living with a German host family when I was in Stuttgart the summer after my freshman year. I would encourage anyone who gets the chance to study abroad to live with a host family over staying in an apartment or dorm.

How has studying abroad helped you attain your professional and academic goals?

I believe that it helped me understand a variety of perspectives or at the very least become more open to different perspectives. Studying abroad helped develop my understanding of other cultures and interpersonal skills that have been transferable skills for all areas of my life. The summer in Germany also gave me more time to complete my German minor.

Can you give us some background on Innovation Quest at UConn and the role you play as a Student Ambassador?

Innovation Quest (iQ) is a program for student-entrepreneurs that was started at Cal Poly a number of years ago by a well known UConn alumnus, Keith Fox. iQ started at UConn in 2012 under the Office of the Provost. The program is designed to help students take their business ideas and turn them into companies. iQ connects students with experienced entrepreneurial mentors who help them fine-tune their ideas for the iQ competition in which they can win up to $15,000 to start or continue working on their business ideas. As student ambassadors, Mia Forte, a junior computer science student, and myself serve as the primary liaisons between the student body and the program. We work behind the scenes working with the Director of the program, Professor Rich Dino, on workshop logistics and outreach.

How did you become involved in it?

I became involved in iQ after taking Professor Dino’s Gaining Competitive Advantage course (which I highly recommend to students of all majors). Professor D asked me if I was interested in the position upon completing the course.

What are some of your responsibilities as president of the Resource Economics Club?

I help facilitate tasks among our 10 person executive board so we can hold career-related events. This week we held an event about interviewing and had a recruiter come in that 20 students came to. The primary goal of the club is to help Resource Economics students leverage their degrees, so I consider helping students in my major my biggest responsibility. We developed the notion of executive board members deciding upon their own titles and responsibilities fitting into the goals of the club, so that these members could develop the skills they want for opportunities after college. For example, if someone is interested in marketing and joins our club, we allow them to help us with marketing and give them a position such as “Marketing Chair.”

How did you obtain this position?

When the department initiated re-activating the club over a year ago I was recommended and nominated for the position.

Are there any other things your involved in on or off-campus that you’d like to talk about?

I am a huge proponent of club sports. I think that the club sports office does a great job in facilitating one of the best extracurricular opportunities on campus. I have played on the Men’s Club Volleyball team for 3 years and it has given me some of my best college experiences. This past year, I served as the President of the club and will always support it. I am also a brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon and believe that joining the chapter at UConn has been a very positive experience for me as well. I will also be gaining some experience in the world of consulting this summer at McLagan, a management consulting firm that works with financial service firms.

What do you find most rewarding from these involvements?

The opportunity for personal development and building close relationships.

How has the Center for Career Development (CCD) helped you in achieving your educational and career goals?

I have really appreciated the career events held by the CCD. I have been in several times for resume and cover letter critiques and have found them extremely valuable. The Center has also been invaluable to the Resource Economics Club in helping us host career events. Career Consultants like Paul Gagnon have helped many students find internship and job opportunities.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself working as a consultant in a fast-paced company helping teams of driven people meet their goals.

What has been your favorite part about being a UConn student?

My favorite part would have to be all of the opportunities a big school like UConn has to offer while still being able to enjoy the small school environment offered through learning communities, clubs, and other areas of involvement.

What advice would you give your fellow UConn students based on your experiences?

Go to office hours, meet as many people as you can from different majors and backgrounds, and put yourself out there without being afraid to fail.

By Brittney Austin
Brittney Austin Communications Assistant