Bridging gaps in global conversations on climate policy
German graduate student Jimmy Dögerl chose Carolina’s Transatlantic Master’s Program to study the American perspective on climate policy and spend a formative year in the American South.
When Jimmy Dögerl told his friends he was going to UNC-Chapel Hill for graduate school, many of them didn’t even know where North Carolina was. But when the pandemic hit, Dögerl, who was born and raised in Upper Bavaria, Germany, decided a change of pace – and location – would be refreshing. He jumped at the opportunity to study in the U.S. at its oldest public university.
Before starting at Carolina, Dögerl studied political science at Free University in Berlin, where he focused on climate policy and European Union politics and institutions. As a graduate student, he has combined these interests to study EU climate policy through Carolina’s Transatlantic Master’s Program, which focuses on contemporary Europe and the transatlantic relationship. Within the two-year M.A. program, Dögerl is following the European governance track, which will allow him to earn a double degree from Carolina and Humboldt University in Berlin.
Studying EU climate policy in the United States provides Dögerl with the opportunity to understand the American perspective on climate action, both on a policy and individual level. He says that there’s often a disconnect between American and European policy-makers in conversations about climate policy, so it is important to have people who understand multiple perspectives, both culturally and politically.
“For an issue like climate change, it can only be solved if everybody works together on the international level and especially the U.S. and Europe,” he said.
Dögerl is also contributing to climate action on UNC’s campus. He is director of environmental affairs in the Graduate and Professional Student Government. In this role, he advises the executive board of the student government and oversees its contributions to environmental and sustainability efforts.
His goal in this position has been to influence more ambitious climate action from the University and to help students find ways to take action. Dögerl founded the Climate Crisis Committee, which is open to all students. On April 13, the committee hosted its Climate Action Day at UNC, a project to get more students involved in climate action both on and off campus.
After finishing his degree at Carolina, Dögerl hopes to work on EU climate policy at a think tank, a position that would allow him to combine analysis and consultancy with research and policy formation.
“You need good policies that are going to solve the problems in a way that doesn’t create new problems,” Dögerl said.
Dögerl looks forward to returning to Berlin — his favorite city and where he lived for five years before coming to Carolina – next year. He will study at Humboldt University for the final year of his program.
While in Chapel Hill, Dögerl is making the most of his time at UNC-Chapel Hill and in North Carolina. He says that the Transatlantic Master’s Program is very communal, and he has a great friend group of fellow TAM students. He often takes trips with them to explore the state, from enjoying the beach in Surf City to hiking Grandfather Mountain near Boone and staying local to explore downtown Durham.
Dögerl also enjoys the many on-campus opportunities that Carolina offers. He says that while campus culture is standard in America, it’s not common in Europe for students to live on campus and have so many resources and activities accessible through their schools.
“My advice to graduate students is to take advantage of all the things that are happening around you.”