Brett Cease

Hometown: Bemidji, Minnesota

Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, Augsburg College
Master of Science in Education, Bemidji State University
Current Major: PhD in Public Policy and Political Economy
Expected Graduation Date: May 2018

UT Dallas Achievements & Activities

  • Archer Fellow with EPA's National Center for Environmental Economics (Summer 2015)
  • Archer Center Alumni Scholarship & Energy Policy Scholarship Recipient
  • Presented original research on research in sustainability education at the 12th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability

Deciding on Public Policy and Political Economy

I came to the University of Texas at Dallas believing in the importance of using my educational opportunity to serve my larger community. Throughout my graduate coursework, I have been interested in examining the history, economic rationale, and political decisions behind how countries, states, and even major international energy corporations have begun to structure a price on carbon. Given the crossroads that our country finds itself at in envisioning a new energy future, examining such policies for their efficiency and level of equitability will be increasingly important to understand how to use the power of the free-market to transition our economy in a steady, predictable manner to energy sources that are abundantly distributed and less politically volatile.

My EPPS Success

The successes I've had within EPPS are largely due to the outstanding dedication and impressively rigorous course instruction from the many professors I've had the chance to learn from. I would encourage all incoming EPPS students to take their education seriously—both in terms of time invested outside of the classroom exploring the fields they are excited about as well as seeking out academic support in school from both their peers and faculty. Forming study groups and attending office hours are crucial!

Plans for the future

After I complete my doctoral degree, I would love to work academically and contribute original research to the field of environmental economics and political economy. Other plans would include serving on the level of state government or within a policy think tank as a policy analyst for the implementation of carbon pricing. More and more of the world is transitioning to inventive and economically sound ways to deal with the externalities of pollution from all fuel sources so that its cost reflects its full impact on our society and environment. Texas is a leader in both renewable and non-renewable energy production and I would be honored to help this state play a pivotal role in leading our country in becoming even more energy-independent. I believe that this can happen in part with the help of policies structured to empower households to make their own decisions on which types of energy make the most sense to invest in once the full-costs for each are accurately accounted for in their market price.

Advice to Prospective EPPS Students

The interdisciplinary collaboration across all of the social science disciplines housed within EPPS is unlike any other university approach I've witnessed. The goal of breaking down silos to help students understand complex and nuanced international problems with the contribution from many lenses is invaluable. I would suggest to others to take part in as many workshops, seminars, and opportunities to help faculty with research as you can. Follow your own intrinsic interests, hold yourself to high academic standards and reach out to the professors you hope to learn from—every one of them is not only deeply devoted to their field, but accessible and wants to see you succeed. Don't pass up the chance to study and work in DC for a summer with the Archer Program as well!

Other Interests

As a former wilderness instructor and camp program director I tend to gravitate towards the outdoors. I enjoy paddle trips exploring Texas's many rivers and am an avid cyclist. My fiancé and I keep chickens and a small garden out back and appreciate the rare time to spend afternoons reading for leisure on our porch.