ENSP Alumni Spotlight: Brett Sproul

November 28, 2023 Andrew Muir

Catching up with our ENSP graduates! 

Can you tell us about what you’re up to now in your career? 

After graduating from UMD in 2021, my first job was at the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) working as a regulatory economist in the Electricity Division. The Public Service Commission is a small but mighty agency that regulates electric, gas, and water utilities within the State and ensures that all citizens have safe, reliable, and affordable access to public services. The PSC is also one of the main state governmental bodies that analyzes and implements State policy related to renewable energy, electric vehicles, etc. I have been working here for roughly 2 ½ years and have moved up the ranks to my current role as an advisor to the five Commissioners of the PSC. As an advisor, I have had the opportunity to lead state-sanctioned working groups focused on implementing critical energy-related items such as time-of-use rates and standardizing energy affordability data. I have also had the opportunity to provide expert commentary/testimony to the Maryland General Assembly on legislation related to solar net energy metering, community solar operations, and energy storage implementation. 

What did you enjoy most about your work? 

To me the most enjoyable thing about working at the PSC is the direct (and often unsung) impact that you have on the citizens of the state. It is definitely a cool and surreal thing to help make a specific change to the public services within Maryland, and then see that change be executed by a utility, whether it is through a utility bill, or through the workers that you see fixing a downed telephone poll on the side of the road. Just knowing that you were part of the reason that someone can have their lights on at night is a cool feeling to me. 

How did your experiences in the Environmental Science & Policy Program help you with your career aspirations?

The ENSP program and all of their professors and advisors truly shaped my career aspirations during my time at UMD. When I first came to UMD as a freshman, I was an economics major and was aspiring to be in the business school. I had always loved my environmental science classes that I took in high school, so I signed up for a few of these classes as electives, but it wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that I started to realize that I wanted to pursue Environmental Science as a major as well. So in my sophomore year, I embarked on changing my major (which is not as nerve-racking as everyone makes it seem) and reached out to the ENSP advisors. The advisors were extremely supportive of me wanting to change majors and even suggested “blending” my current economics major with an environmental science major by showing me the ENSP Environmental Economics concentration. I ended up graduating with the Environmental Economics concentration, and at the end of the day, if it wasn’t for the ENSP advisors and the awesome professors in the basement of Symons, I certainly wouldn’t be in the career I am in today. 

Do you have any advice for students trying to get into your line of work?

Don’t be scared or nervous to reach out to people/professors who are in a career field that you enjoy. I initially heard about my current job by reaching out to one of my former professors on a whim. It turns out that my former professor knew about the job opening and had taught one of the current employees at the PSC, so they got me connected to them. Professionals are just people, and more often than not, they would love to tell you more about their career and help you get started. 
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

I play trombone, and during my time at UMD I played in the marching band and was able to travel to games with the football and basketball team. Go Terps!