Matthew Dahlberg


My name is Matthew. I'm originally from Singapore. I go to the Illinois Institute of Technology where I am a BS candidate in Global Studies.

What sustainability, energy, and community issues are important to you?

I think all three concepts are very densely connected, because each of the three has impacts on the other two, sometimes in ways we might consider contradictory – a great example is hydroelectric power, which generates power more cleanly than fossil fuels, but has serious environmental impacts for wildlife and the environment. So the most significant issue to me is tradeoffs – what sacrifices are acceptable to make for what rewards. This then leads into issues of environmental and social justice, because often what we might consider ‘acceptable’ sacrifices are at the expense of marginalized groups, and rewards accrue to in-groups. But sometimes, the tradeoff is easy – better education can eliminate perceived ‘sacrifices’, and everyone can benefit!

What exciting projects/research are you working on now?

I’ve been studying corporate tax evasion for a good part of the last year. While it’s not entirely relevant to sustainability, the creation of tax havens and pollution havens have much the same roots – coordination problems between sovereign states, and that’s an area of intense interest to me.

What are your plans for the next five years?

Obviously, my first goal is to finish this degree. After that, I plan on getting in a year or so of work experience in, then going to law school.

Additional pictures of Matthew are not available. Instead, here are some cats.

What made you want to apply to SISE?

The focus on Implementation was the big thing that caught my eye. I’ve had a couple years of theoretical stuff in classes, but the chance to learn about how local-level (instead of the very macro-level, state- or national-level policy stuff) change is implemented  get my hands dirty (both figuratively and literally!) is a big draw.

What are you most looking forward to doing in Chicago?

I’ve always wanted to have a peek in Argonne. And now we get a tour and everything!

Do you like Cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?

I am in awe of cats. Sure, they’re fun just by themselves, but sometimes, you look at their lifestyle and think ‘man, that’s the life.’ Speaking seriously, I’m always a little nervous about claws when meeting a new cat, but after they’ve had a chance to get used to me (and vice versa), I’m usually a fan!