Office Hours: A Q&A with Professor David Szymanski

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We sat down with Professor David Szymanski, PhD, as he raved about the science of sustainability. With backgrounds in geology and chemical forensics, Szymanski is a man of many disciplines. A former Congressional Science Fellow in the U.S. Senate, he enjoys involving Bentley students in research initiatives for nonpartisan energy and climate policy development.

What do you love most about teaching Sustainability as a subject?

Teaching sustainability requires an understanding of how many different disciplines approach problem solving. I love that. I love teaching transdisciplinary thinking: That you don’t necessarily have to be an expert in many fields to understand how they’re related and how they’re all critical to make a more sustainable society.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching Bentley students?

If you teach the science of sustainability, there’s no better student to work with than a business student. And Bentley students are the best. They get it. Even the students that are initially hesitant about science end up appreciating its significance in business and society.

How does majoring in Sustainability Science prepare students for success in their lives and careers?

A degree in Sustainability science at Bentley prepares you to understand how natural, human and economic systems work and interact with each other. With our courses in the natural sciences, combined with science policy, environmental economics, and other fields, students master an understanding of earth’s environmental systems — and then tackle the big issues of how they relate to business practices.

What was your favorite subject or class when you were in college?

That’s a tough question because it’s an even split between the natural sciences, like geology and chemistry, and social sciences, like sociology and political science. Along with the Humanities, you need both to tackle the problems of life.

What was your very first job?

It’s so stereotypical: I flipped burgers at a fast-food restaurant. I guess the career path worked out?

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