In Their Words: Alden Phinney, recipient of the Blanche McKenzie Scholarship in Economics

June 01, 2015

Blanche McKenzie - AldenPhinney.jpg

Alden Phinney, a student in the division's Economics department, is the 2015 recipient of the Blanch McKenzie Scholarship in Economics.

Congratulations Alden!

Department: Economics

What year are you? 3rd year

College: Kresge

Where do you call home?

Santa Cruz (via Washington D.C. and San Diego)

With all of the choices for college, what made UC Santa Cruz stand out?

I appreciated UC Santa Cruz's emphasis on environmental consciousness, its setting between the redwood forest and the coastal prairies, and its annual Shakespeare festival. UCSC's approach to critical inquiry and scholastic exploration, with interdisciplinary degrees, hands-­on problem solving classes and vibrant student organizing, appealed to my desire to understand the world in order to make positive change.

What is your field of focus?

Global Economics with a minor in Sustainability and an emphasis in finance.

What do you hope to do once you graduate from UC Santa Cruz?

I see anthropogenic climate change as the single greatest threat to human well­being and sustainability of civilization in the years to come. We are the make­it­-or­-break­it generation regarding mitigation and reduction of our climatic impacts, though the effects are already impacting peoples (and polar bears) today. I hope to work with communities, individuals and companies to leverage innovative financing mechanisms in support of a just transition away from carbon­intensive energy generation and extractive industries.

What is one memorable moment that stands out for you as a student here?

One of my most impactful memories at UC Santa Cruz was on Global Divestment Day (2/13/15), when Fossil Free UC hosted a "wedding" of the University of California and Fossil Fuel Corporations. It was an awesome collaboration between students, faculty and community groups that employed pointed and interactive political theatre to expose the deep and abiding ties of the UC to some of the most toxic companies in human history, all in a fun and celebratory fashion!

How will this scholarship impact your academics/research?

Receiving the Blanche McKenzie scholarship will allow me to invest more time in my classes and extra­curricular endeavors while studying at Sciences Politique in Paris next fall! It has also encouraged me to emphasize the breadth as well as depth of study, and to more fully pursue an economic theory that bridges disciplines to realize a more nuanced view of human/environment interactions.