The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Cobi Frongillo

Headshot of Cobi Frongillo
Researcher, Mass. Legislative Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy
Town Councilor, Franklin, Mass.

Degree & graduation year: Master of Public Policy, 2019

What I do: Alongside two teammates, I review all House legislation assigned to the TUE Committee (mostly to do with climate and clean energy policy). That includes summarizing the bills, meeting with experts, hosting public hearings, examining relevant literature, and making recommendations. I also do a variety of tasks to support the committee chair, including meeting preparations, speech writing, report writing, regulatory review, and extensive scientific and policy research.

On the Franklin Town Council, I am one of nine at-large town councilors who serve as the legislative body for all 34,000 residents. We meet bi-monthly as a full council and monthly on our committees. (I serve on the Economic Development Committee.) Among other tasks, the council amends bylaws and zoning, approves budgets and expenses, and oversees town administration – including hiring and oversight of the town administrator.

How I ended up working there: I grew up admiring my climate activist cousin and maintained a focus on climate and clean energy policy throughout my schooling. I completed my graduate internship with BW Research Partnership, an economic research firm that specializes in energy workforce and supply chain analyses. Upon graduating, I returned to BW Research, where I was able to work on state and national clean energy projects. The experience I gained there, combined with my School of Public Policy capstone work on Massachusetts’ municipal energy aggregations programs, helped me land my current role.

The best part of my job: I get to work every day to ensure my home state remains a leader in protecting the wellbeing of present and future generations.

A recent exciting work experience: I helped prepare the committee chair’s remarks for the announcement of the nation’s first offshore wind farm!

How the School of Public Policy prepared me for my career: The UMass SPP provided the technical skills, knowledge, and practical opportunities that I needed to be competitive in the job market. My internship and capstone — in combination with the research methods, policy analysis, legislative drafting, memo writing, and environmental policy knowledge — placed me ahead of my peers for the very positions I was most interested in.

Advice to students considering a degree in public policy: Find people with jobs you’d want; ask them how they got to where they are and whether an MPP did/would help.

Future plans: I always remind myself how bad we are at predicting our own futures and just work to ensure that I’m at least maximizing the doors that will be open to me. But if you’re pinning me to an answer, I’d love to build up my legislative experience before moving to lobbying or government relations for an environmental organization/agency (either at the state or national level).