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Student Perspective: Matthew Donohue ‘21

Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing our country and our planet, and few places exemplify this as fully as Massachusetts, where sea-level rise and coastal erosion pose potentially grave threats to the lives and livelihoods of people throughout the commonwealth.

The good news is we can still take action, but in order to do so, it is important to understand our current relationship with, and response to, the problem, as well as what we can do to improve that response.

Environmental policy and political engagement are both research interests of mine. I enjoy looking at public and governmental responses to climate change through an interdisciplinary lens.

In the summer of 2020, as part of the Adrian Tinsley Program for Undergraduate Research, I analyzed green space use and political engagement in Boston and in Massachusetts’ “gateway cities,” larger municipalities designated as such by the commonwealth in recognition of their size, historical socioeconomic challenges, and their important roles in the state’s operation and economy. I will be further analyzing the relationship between green space use and political engagement in these cities as part of my senior thesis. As the importance of taking meaningful action against climate change grows, I hope to help others understand both where we stand now and where we can go from here.

Matthew Donohue, a political science major, had been selected for a Killam Fellowship to study in Canada for a full semester last year, but it was canceled due to the pandemic. He has been selected to present his research at this year’s Midwest Political Science Association’s annual conference. The faculty mentor for his research was Dr. Melinda Tarsi of the Department of Political Science.

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