As an environmental urban planner, Michael Cote '96 works on issues that include smart growth and climate change through a fellowship from Vermont Law School.
Cote's research is on the "adaptation" side of climate change — not the cause, but the sustainable response. He explores whether state laws have to be passed before coastal cities can do such work as trying to stop beach erosion. Towns that don't need state help could start working on problems on their own, Cote observes.
Smart growth involves a balance of preserving land while encouraging development. Responsible planning groups businesses together on a main street, adding a mix of residential and business zones within walking distance, and building suburbs within close proximity while eliminating today's often massive urban sprawl.
In addition to a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School, Cote holds a master's in urban planning and a bachelor's in sustainable urban design from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Cote's work, education and involvement in the world of creative solutions put him in the big leagues. In 2009 he was honored to serve as a delegate from Vermont Law School to COP15 — the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Looking into the future, our landscape is in for a change over the next 40 years as generations X and Y become homeowners, he predicts. "The younger generations are turned off by living in the suburbs and [are] moving to the cities." Hopefully they will be cities restructured by smart growth.
Study Abroad Launches New Life During a Study Abroad in South Korea in 2005, Ashley Massey '06 found she loved the country, its culture and people enough to move back right after graduating. Massey was intrigued by the passion South Koreans have for their work. "Koreans give 120 percent to every task, no matter how big or small. This work ethic is developed in students from a young age — to excel and do the best they can. It's a super-competitive environment," says Massey.
Business owners there didn't wait for outside help during the global recession and made a quick recovery on their own. "As a team they did what was necessary to get back to [making] profits," she adds.
South Korea's history and cuisine were a big draw for Massey as well. "Every day I am walking on grounds where kings ruled, battles were fought and land divided. There are thousands of years of history in this small country."
She loves the food, including kimchi, a traditional, common side dish created in hundreds of varieties made from vegetables and seasonings.
Massey's career and personal life have blossomed since her move to South Korea. She is a professor at Hyupsung University in Hwaseong-Si, teaching classes in English, résumé writing and interviewing skills. She also met the man she married in September 2010, William Song, at the church they both attend.