March 2023 Alumni Spotlight
Master of International Affairs (MIA) alumna Breanna Reynolds talks about solutions to the climate crisis; her role at the communications agency, BerlinRosen; and her Marxe MIA experience in this month’s alumni spotlight.
You waited five years after your undergraduate degree to pursue a graduate degree. What inspired you and what brought you to the Marxe School, and more specifically to the MIA program?
It’s definitely been a journey! I started my undergraduate program in San Francisco completely unsure of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had attended a performing arts high school and was accepted to a few BA/BFA programs in Theatre, but I eventually decided to major in Business as it seemed like a practical choice. Through bouncing around introductory courses in different programs, I was inspired by my political science and public policy classes and settled on a BS in International Business.
Once I graduated, I was counseled by friends and strangers alike to only enter a graduate program if I was 100% confident in my future career choice and that the program would help me achieve those goals. I was so far from confident that I decided to wait, but after a few years working in everything from restaurant management to nonprofit grant writing, I realized I would never discover my true purpose unless I went back. After a lengthy research process, I landed on the Marxe School as it combined my interest in NGOs, policy and international affairs. I also appreciated that the program was relatively new but had brought in incredibly experienced practitioners as professors – exactly the type of folks I wanted to learn from.
How did you discover your passion for solutions to the climate crisis?
I actually wrote my application essay for the MIA program on sustainable development, and had known for a while that climate was an area I could see myself in. However, it wasn’t until I took a climate change policy course that I realized this is where I wanted my path to take me. As a former business student, we are always problem-solving and trying to find the best way through a tough situation, and I think it’s very easy to get trapped in a doom-scrolling loop as the devastating impacts of climate change on our planet and our lives become more visible, frequent and widespread. There are so many intelligent and passionate folks working across climate policy and technological innovation to build a better, cleaner future, and I want to be a part of solving this universal problem.
Tell us about your role at BerlinRosen. How has your experience at the Marxe School influenced your work there?
I started working in communications and public relations just a couple of months before starting at the Marxe School, and about halfway through the program I decided to combine the skills I had gained with my burgeoning interest in climate. After another lengthy research process, I found and applied to the communications agency where I currently work, BerlinRosen, to be a part of their Tech & Innovation team and specifically on the growing Climate Tech practice vertical. This role has been a great marriage of my experience and passion, where I get to work closely with innovative leaders across, for example, power grid electrification, renewable energy generation and distribution, regenerative agriculture, and carbon capture & storage. I’m very grateful for my time at the Marxe School that steered me in the direction I hope to continue to grow into for years to come.