DRW fellows have the opportunity to carry out individual research projects while also working alongside faculty to develop their research skills. These fellowships are available to accepted University of Chicago graduate students.
EPIC launched the DRW Graduate Fellowship in Economics & Policy in 2017 to support students focused on contributing to energy, environment or climate research while pursuing advanced degrees at the University of Chicago. In addition to rigorous academic training, DRW fellows have opportunities to work closely with EPIC affiliated faculty on a variety of research initiatives.
““I was fortunate enough to learn a great deal about the relationship between federal and state regulations, statutes, and guidance. It was enlightening to see the role that the various nuances in this relationship can play when considering innovative approaches to improving the environment or advocating for the use of the best available science in environmental regulatory decisions. I loved that this experience exposed me to environmental issues not only through a legal and economic lens, but also through a local lens with respect to water quality issues in Illinois. This exposure has inspired me to continue to explore how transportation policy and environmental policy can be better integrated to achieve more meaningful pollution reductions.” ”
– Jaymal Patel, Summer 2020 DRW Fellow
As an example of the types of experiences DRW fellows gain, one of the first DRW fellows, Harshil Sahai, spent a summer working with EPIC-India to explore a range of possible research topics. In one project, he is looking at the long-run effects of extreme temperatures on educational outcomes to better understand how climate change might affect a country’s economic growth. In another project, he is exploring why fewer people use pollution masks in some cities, such as Delhi, compared to others, such as Beijing. He will be delving further into these research projects over the course of his studies.
Placement: PhD Economics, Chicago | NSF Honorable mention
Michael Galperin earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from UChicago. He worked for Michael Greenstone at EPIC for two years, and received an honorable mention for the NSF fellowship. While at EPIC, he contributed to research that analyzed the relationship between extremely hot days and the mortality rate in India. Additionally, he helped to create a new cost-benefit analysis model that could be used on environmental regulations by using the novel approach of adapting seemingly unrelated data on military reenlistment. Prior to coming to EPIC, Galperin interned at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and was a research assistant for Marianne Bertrand, the Chris P. Dialynas Professor of Economics at the UChicago Booth School of Business. He is most interested in questions of development and political economy as they relate to energy access, and his time at EPIC reinforced the idea that economic analysis and tools can be used to improve living condition for the world’s poor.
“In addition to being a part of a wonderful research community, my time at EPIC prepared me for rigorous research that requires independent thinking and initiative,” Galperin says. “I’m excited to apply the skills and tools I gained to dive deeper into ways to improve energy access throughout the world.”
Placement: PhD Economics, University of Chicago | NSF Honorable mention
Originally from Bellevue, Washington, Nadia Lucas moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to study computer science at MIT. However, once she took her first economics class, she quickly became enamored with analyzing human behavior from a mathematical perspective. She switched her focus while at MIT and began taking every opportunity she could to be involved in economics research. This led Lucas to a pre-doctoral fellowship at EPIC upon graduation. For the past two years, she was exposed to policy-relevant economics research, working for Ryan Kellogg in analyzing the U.S. fracking industry. In beginning her PhD, she remains interested in conducting research in the economics of energy and environmental policy. Specifically, she is interested in looking at energy and environmental policy through the lens of sustainable growth of industries and firms on a microeconomic level. She believes these questions are particularly relevant within the setting of the developing world.
“EPIC is an amazing place because of the range of researchers, both at every level of academia, and focused in almost every subtopic in energy and environmental economics. Being a DRW Fellow, I hope to become a researcher who also contributes important work to this field, and I am confident that I can find the support I need to do so given how many accomplished researchers there already are at EPIC.”
Placement: PhD Economics, Chicago | NSF Awardee
Harshil Sahai, is a doctoral candidate in economics. Sahai is exploring the effects of extreme temperatures on educational outcomes so as to gain insight on how climate change can impact a country’s growth and development. Specifically, he is studying the impact of temperature on school test scores and enrollment, while seeing if access to reliable electricity and credit can cushion the effect. Having conducted deep quantitative analysis through research assistantships with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve Bank and Credit Suisse Securities, and volunteered in teaching children from low-income areas of Pennsylvania, China and India, Sahai’s background combines his passions for economics, mathematics and societal improvement. He holds a bachelors degree in mathematics and economics from Swarthmore College.
As a pre-doctoral fellow, Harshil worked closely with EPIC Director Michael Greenstone.
“In working with EPIC as a pre-doctoral fellow over the last two years, I’ve learned that I can make the greatest impact on the world through a dispassionate, careful, and quantitative examination of our biggest challenges,” says Sahai. “In addition to gaining a greater understanding of the research process and general economic behavior, I hope this fellowship will provide me with the tools and acumen to understand global issues in a way that I can make a difference.”
In the academic year of 2020-2021, Yuqi Song, a public policy PhD candidate at Harris, mainly worked on valuation of the improved accuracy of modern weather forecasting in China. Through estimating the effects of improved daily weather forecasts on people’s decisions in labor, on traffic congestion relief, and on social media sentiment shifts, the project aims to determine the benefit of having better forecasting technology in helping the public to adapt to extreme weather due to become more frequent under climate change. Her other co-authored projects include analyzing the effect of coal plant generators on local air pollution levels in Chinese cities through comparing pre- and post- COVID lockdown air conditions, studying the change in the dynamics of winter-time North hemisphere jet-stream, and mapping the expansion of energy usage and structural shifts towards renewables in China.
Jeanne Sorin received her BA in Social Sciences at SciencesPo Paris, France, and continued on to receive her MSc in Economics at the university. During her MSc, she spent a semester at the University of Southern California working for Matthew Kahn and Amine Ouazad on a project on Mortgage Finance in the Face of Rising Climate Risk. This experience launched her interest in contributing to research on economic mechanisms that may drive adaptation and resilience to climate change from a microeconomics perspective. In her master’s thesis she investigated the role of local newspapers in channeling flood risk related information and their impact on the housing market. During her PhD at the University of Chicago, she plans to study the interactions between beliefs, location choice and production decisions of households and firms facing increasing climate hazard.
“I am convinced that EPIC offers one of the best research environments to study what leads communities to successfully adapt to increasing climate hazards in both developed and developing countries. As a DRW PhD Fellow at EPIC, I am looking forward to learning from, and collaborating with experts at the Department of Economics, Harris and Booth.”
Placement: PhD Economics, University of Chicago Booth School of Business | NSF Honorable mention
Yixin Sun graduated with a BA in Economic-Statistics from Columbia University. She then went on to work as a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC, where she has worked for the last three years. While at EPIC, Yixin primarily worked with Thomas Covert, examining the impacts of investment decisions in the fracking business. She has also worked with Fiona Burlig, analyzing the effects of a large-scale rural electrification project in India. Yixin hopes to pursue research at the intersection of development and environmental economics while a PhD student at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
“EPIC is a unique hub for interdisciplinary researchers with a policy focus. The DRW fellowship provides me with an opportunity to tackle these big policy questions, and I look forward to the mentorship these amazing researchers provide.”
Will Seonmin Heo
Animesh Jayant, a Master’s in Public Policy with a Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM) student, had the opportunity to continue work he was previously doing with EPIC’s Michael Greenstone and Anant Sudarshan in Bihar, India, which was to study the impact of a revenue-linked power supply scheme on consumer bill payments. Animesh studied first stage effects of the scheme through several models, analyzed the impact of a separate treatment arm where customized messages were sent to consumers to study their impact on bill payment frequency, and generated exhibits and balance tables from household & business surveys to inform the project research.
“Working as a Wilson fellow has helped me apply theoretical models learnt in class to a real-world setting. I intend on using research skills acquired during the summer for my doctoral studies in the near future.”
Prior to joining Harris, Jayant worked as a Senior Research Associate at the South Asia office of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). There he worked closely with Michael Greenstone on projects that aim to design, implement and test reforms for improving collection rates and power supply in the state of Bihar. Prior to joining J-PAL, he worked as a consultant in PwC’s emerging technologies practice. He has a B.Tech. in Metallurgical Engineering & Materials Science from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.
Parth Khare will be pursuing a masters in computational analysis and public policy at the Harris School after having worked as a data science consultant for the Chief Economic Adviser of the Indian Ministry of Finance. There, he designed and implemented big data-driven civic tech solutions and extensively analyzed satellite-based (air pollution, climatological, urban footprint and nightlights) data for the last three Indian Economic Surveys. This work included co-authoring a study assessing the long-term impact of climate change on Indian agriculture as part of this year’s survey. He has also worked in data analytics and science positions for several companies in India, including for the New Delhi branch of Nielsen.
“In addition to the coursework, I am looking forward to learning new ways that econometric and computational methods can be used to inform policy,” Khare says. “Receiving this fellowship allows me to do so while continuing to contribute to impactful hands-on data analysis and research.”
Julian Lake worked in the Climate Policy program in WRI’s Brazil office, where he conducted research on national policy options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive economic growth.
Lake said his favorite project while in Brazil was researching the climate strategies of the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, France, Canada and the Czech Republic, and using their experiences to inform recommendations for the Brazilian government on how to reach its long-term climate goals.
Living in another country for the summer also added to the experience, he said.
“It means that your education never stops, even when you leave the office,” Lake said. “I am constantly learning more about the culture, the struggles and ambitions of the Brazilian people, and how those topics relate to my public policy studies. With an eye towards a career in environmental policy, I can think of no better experience than to work with an organization like WRI in a country as critical to our global climate efforts as Brazil.”
Jessica Lyu, a Master of Arts in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM) student, teamed up with Harris assistant professor Fiona Burlig. Lyu assembled almost a decade’s worth of local air quality data from India’s Central Pollution Control Board. This data will help Professor Burlig’s team study the impacts of electricity generation on pollution in Indian cities.
“Performing these foundational data tasks gave me insight into how researchers develop and use preliminary data – insight that will be useful when I pursue research at the doctoral level next year.”
Genta Mecolli worked in WRI’s Sustainability program in Washington, D.C., where the bulk of her time was spent crafting a viable carbon pricing plan through integration of behavioral analyses, economic incentives and logistical limitations.
Mecolli described her time at WRI as “invaluable,” as it allowed her to understand the full process of how an idea becomes policy. But the most important lesson she learned is the importance of translating policy research in a way that will motivate policymakers to respond, she said.
“We as policy students need to be able to take the research we create and champion it to those who draft policy,” Mecolli said. “Pure statistics will not sway everyone, and it is up to us to learn how to take our skills and go one step further: to be active advocates for policy rooted in truth and reality.”
Siyue Ouyang, an MACRM student at Harris Public Policy, and Harris assistant professor Eyal Frank worked to estimate the relationship between wildlife related car accidents in the United States and the presence of wolves. Ouyang created a panel dataset on car accidents spanning the past few decades for analysis.
“It’s a privilege to have this opportunity. I got to know how many challenges a researcher may face during their work. As an RA, the research honed my coding and visualizing skills, deepened my understanding of the models we learned in class, giving me a hands-on experience of empirical research, which could better prepare me for my future academic career. And I’m grateful to have Professor Frank as my mentor, who always takes pleasure to help me out along the way. What’s more, the research has fostered my awareness of the cost of biodiversity loss that no one alone could be immune from.”
Jaymal Patel, an MPP student at Harris Public Policy, spent his summer working with Mark Templeton, the director of the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic. During the fellowship, Patel assisted in drafting a white paper on the implementation of water quality trading in Illinois, drafted a comment evaluating the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed rulemaking on benefit-cost analysis under the Clean Air Act, and analyzed the use of the Social Cost of Carbon in EPA’s and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s final rulemaking on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards.
“I was fortunate enough to learn a great deal about the relationship between federal and state regulations, statutes, and guidance. It was enlightening to see the role that the various nuances in this relationship can play when considering innovative approaches to improving the environment or advocating for the use of the best available science in environmental regulatory decisions. I loved that this experience exposed me to environmental issues not only through a legal and economic lens, but also through a local lens with respect to water quality issues in Illinois. This exposure has inspired me to continue to explore how transportation policy and environmental policy can be better integrated to achieve more meaningful pollution reductions.”
Jonathan Rockower, a Master of Science in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP) student at Harris Public Policy, is working with Professor Ryan Kellogg to evaluate the economic impacts of the Jones Act, which prevents nearly all movement of oil and refined petroleum products from the U.S. Gulf Coast to the Eastern Seaboard. As a result of this act, oil and refined products are exported from the Gulf Coast around the world, while the Eastern Seaboard imports oil and refined products from the Middle East. Rockower helped advance the project’s goal of estimating the costs of wasteful imports and exports by cleaning and analyzing detailed data on U.S. imports and exports of oil and refined products.
“The fellowship is providing me the opportunity to build on my skills I developed in the first year of the Computational Analysis and Public Policy program while helping Professor Kellogg manage and analyze the data. It will also hopefully give me a chance to see a research workflow from near the beginning to completion. After graduate school, I am hoping to work as a data engineer, helping organizations prepare and manage their data. This opportunity is giving me the chance to develop those skills while improving my coding and organizational skills in the process.”
Pete Rodrigue works in EPA’s Stratospheric Protection Division, which is phasing down hydrofluorocarbons, a potent class of greenhouse gases. He graduated from the CAPP program in 2020 and was a DRW Fellow in Eyal Frank’s lab. Among other things, he has worked as a technology fellow on a Democratic congressional campaign, a surveyor for LA Metro, a day laborer, a data scientist for a bus company, and a research assistant at the Brookings Institution.
Sushmita Singha is a Climate Risk and Energy Consultant at the World Bank Headquarters, D.C. She graduated with an MS in Environmental Science and Policy (MSESP) in June 2020 from the Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago. Her prior academic training is in Economics (MS and BS). She was an EPIC Fellow during her master’s at UChicago, where she worked on randomized evaluations of energy and environmental projects. Prior to joining UChicago, she had several years of experience in professional and academic research in India. At Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), she worked on a rural electric power project and smart metering technology for reducing distribution losses. In the past, she had also worked on environment, urban, and economic research and project management at several organizations in New Delhi, including the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).
Anna-Elise Smith is a Project Analyst in Resource Innovations’ Behavioral Science & Analytics group located in the Louisville, CO office where she focuses on demand-side management program measurement and evaluation, outage cost estimation, and energy efficiency program evaluation. She has expertise applying econometric and statistical analysis to develop insight and solutions to complex energy issues. Anna-Elise has worked on a variety of projects since joining Resource Innovations and has been responsible for estimating the load impacts and cost-effectiveness of ComEd’s Peak Time Savings program and modelling the peak load impacts, conservation effects and societal net benefits associated with Elevate Energy’s Hourly Pricing program. Prior to joining Resource Innovations, she was an MRV Initiatives Associate at The Climate Registry where she specialized in providing accessible GHG accounting tools and development of GHG quantification methods for wastewater treatment plants in California. Anna-Elise also served as a research assistant at The Energy Policy Institute at Chicago where she analyzed the costs associated with policy affecting international shipments of oil and gas. Anna-Elise holds a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago as well as a BA in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Xiaoting Sun, who is pursuing a Masters in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP) at Harris Public Policy, spent her summer with EPIC Postdoctoral Scholar Andy Hultgren on a research project that sought to determine how firms respond to the discovery that their products may be harmful and how they face future regulation. Sun helped construct a novel dataset of scientific discoveries of product harms.
“This internship enlightened me to how computer science could help solve real problems in academic research. I was able to hone various skills that I learned in my first academic year in the MSCAPP program and especially enjoyed diving deep into the record-linkage techniques, as I merged two large-scale datasets by the string matching tools. Working with my mentor, Andy, was a precious journey, as he deepened my understanding of industrial organization and econometrics in the environmental area. With these take-aways, I see EPIC as better preparing me for my academic career both methodologically and theoretically.”
Daniel Vallejo, a Master of Public Policy (MPP) student at Harris Public Policy, works with EPIC South Asia Director Anant Sudarshan to quantify the heat island effect in India. Vallejo is processing and analyzing data to determine the temperature changes due to urban heat islands and quantifying the different effects the changes in temperatures will have on economic and social variables in the country. Prior to his time at the University of Chicago, Vallejo worked as a civil engineer focused on rural reform in Colombia, most recently as a water specialist with Fundación Grupo Argos.
“The DRW fellowship will highly increase my data analytics capacity. I have been learning how to analyze and process spatial data, not only for heat measurements but for many other purposes. This experience has opened the door to a sector in which I had an interest in working. I have always had a passion for environmental resources and impacts but having now the tools to do large-scale impact analysis will permit me to amplify the fields I will be capable of working on.”
Stan Xie, an MACRM student at Harris, worked with EPIC postdoctoral scholar Shaoda Wang to investigate how governments respond to civil complaints of environmental violations by firms. Xie analyzed large-scale text data from Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, to understand the effect of social media on the government’s response.
“EPIC gave me a great opportunity to participate in projects in a variety of topics that I am interested in. This fellowship significantly enhanced my quantitative skill set for dealing with large-scale data, my ability for unsupervised learning, and my knowledge of frontier econometrics. Working here also connected me with fantastic research ideas, from which I have gained much insight.”
Kashif Ahmed, a Masters of Public Policy (MPP) student at Harris Public Policy, teamed up with Harris Assistant Professor Fiona Burlig. Ahmed studied the effects of cash transfers to low-income migrant workers in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. While conducting an endline survey via phone to thousands of migrant workers, he ran data quality assurance checks and coordinated closely with a field team in Delhi.
“I now have a preliminary understanding of how cash transfers affect the expenditures, decisions, and wellness of low-income workers, as well as a sense of common challenges in India. The project was also well organized and had a superb field team in Delhi that was great to work with. It was also great to be able to practice my STATA skills and use my understanding of econometrics that I learned in my first year of Harris. After Harris, I want to pursue careers that bridge the gap between social science research and policymakers in Global South countries and working for this project and EPIC is a great step in that direction.”
Kaveri Chhikara, a Masters in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP) student at Harris Public Policy, and Harris Assistant Professor Eyal Frank worked to quantify the impact of controversial policy reintroducing wolves into certain regions. The project aims to understand the relationship between wildlife car accidents and the presence of wolves in the United States. Chhikara created a panel dataset on road collisions spanning over decades for each state in the country and analysed this data to identify meaningful patterns.
“The project introduced me to different aspects of academic research and the challenges that lie therein. I was able to directly apply some of the concepts learned as part of the core courses at Harris and also utilize my coding skills for a real-world project. Above all, the project taught me how to critically look at policies and use data to scientifically gauge their impact. It was a privilege to work with Professor Frank and learn from him. The research made me aware about the intricacies of environmental policy issues, its widespread impact and understanding involvement of different stakeholders. This hands-on experience with empirical research has better prepared me for a future academic career.”
Max Snyder, an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy, and Associate Professor Koichiro Ito’s research focused on how expanding the supply of solar energy can impact wages, employment, and productivity. Snyder also researched how governments can use subsidies to optimally incentivize the transition to solar energy sources.
“Working at EPIC with Koichiro Ito has been a wonderful opportunity. The Bartlett Fellowship has provided opportunities to research how energy policy impacts economic outcomes, to apply econometric techniques learned in coursework, and to receive thoughtful feedback on independent research projects. While the environmental challenges of the 21st century loom large, EPIC’s blend of academic rigor and policy expertise offers an inspiring path forward. I’m leaving this position excited to pursue a career researching issues at the intersection of environmental and economic well-being.”
Jason Winik, an MPP student at Harris Public Policy, spent his summer working with Mark Templeton, the director of the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic. Winik performed geospatial analyses to understand where daycare facilities in Illinois have dangerous levels of lead in their drinking water and are out of compliance with Illinois testing requirements. A report will be published incorporating Winik’s visualizations and findings to raise awareness about the severity of the issue to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and provide policy recommendations to remove lead more swiftly from Illinois’ drinking water.
“I am interested in using data analysis to inform environmental policy and decision-making, so to help draw attention to the lead contamination problem in Illinois and hopefully catalyze further action was extremely rewarding. This was a great opportunity to not only put the quantitative skills I learned last year into practice, but to design and implement my own analysis that both technical and non-technical audiences can understand.”
Jenna Allard, a doctoral candidate in Public Policy at the Harris School, explored electrification policy and environmental regulation in developing countries. Previously, she worked on energy and environment issues in the private, non-profit, and policy sectors for nearly a decade. Allard spent three years working as a research manager at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), which conducts evaluations to test and improve the effectiveness of policies and builds partnerships with policymakers to ensure those policies are driven by evidence and able to be scaled up. At J-PAL, Allard managed energy and environment projects across seven states in India and supervised field activities that included surveys of 30,000 households and 9,000 businesses. Her projects ranged from industrial air and water pollution regulation, to electricity allocation and tariff revision, to solar micro-grid development and fuel efficiency.
“I’m especially interested in the intersection of development and environmental economics. Specifically, I want to understand how better policies can effectively extend clean, reliable and affordable electricity to rural households,” says Allard. “Over one billion people in the world remain in the dark, and many more lack access to reliable high-capacity power that can be a key ingredient for economic growth. Through this fellowship, I hope my research will help extend electricity to households in India and beyond.”
Emily is an Experienced Consultant in the Energy & Utilities practice at West Monroe Partners and currently working on a Distribution Automation telecommunications project for a large utility. She is a 2020 Harris School of Public Policy grad, who focused on energy and environmental policy and was a Bartlett and DRW Fellow at EPIC. She interned as a Policy Intern at the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) for summer of 2019 and previously worked as an Environmental Educator at a non-profit in Milwaukee, teaching 4,000+ students a year. Prior to that, she worked as an Outdoor Educator, leading extended wilderness expeditions for teenagers, from the Great Lakes region to Malaysia. Outside of work, you can find Emily outside on walks, riding her pandemic Peloton, or attempting a new recipe.
“I am excited to work on this research project because I think energy efficiency investments and renewable energy technologies provide a way to help households engage in low carbon activities. This research project uses behavioral economics to identify effective policy designs and hopes to develop future research frameworks. Working on this project will help me further my research design skills and evidence-based data collection knowledge.”
Shruti Bhimsaria leads Research and Strategic Partnerships for EPIC India. In this role, Shruti develops research partnerships related to energy and environmental policy, forms strategic alliances for AQLI, manages research, and develops and expands EPIC-India’s pipeline of applied economics research projects. Shruti recently served as the Head of Research at Climate Vault, a non-profit founded at the University of Chicago that leverages existing carbon markets to help organizations and individuals meet their carbon reduction goals. Before this, Shruti spent several years at J-PAL South Asia, where she managed their Energy and Environment Portfolio. She has experience working on energy access, air pollution, net-zero strategies, and carbon markets. She has also briefly dabbled in health and governance research. Shruti recently completed her MPP degree from the University of Chicago. She also holds a Masters in Economics from the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics and a Bachelors in Maths & Statistics from Banasthali University, India.
Jennifer Boughton is earning her master’s in environmental science and policy at Harris after spending the past several years working abroad. Boughton, who earned a bachelor’s in political science and Spanish from The Ohio State University, worked with Harris Assistant Professor Eyal Frank on a variety of projects at the intersection of ecology and economics. Projects included calculating the impacts of animal waste from factory farms on nearby residents, examining the shortcomings of the Sustainable Fishers Act of 1996, exploring the effects of the Endangered Species Act on property values and evaluating the effect of using high levels of pesticide in a region in Vietnam. Prior to enrolling at Harris, Boughton was a government relations assistant for W2Worth Innovations in Manila, Philippines, during summer 2017. Before that, she taught English in Bogota, Columbia, as a Teaching Fellow for the IIE Fulbright Association. She is fluent in Spanish, having lived in Venezuela for seven years as a child.
“This research at the intersection of environmental improvement and economic feasibility is crucial in today’s society to create viable and sustainable green policies,” Boughton said. “I am thrilled to be a part of it.”
Geet Chawla, an MPP student at Harris Public Policy, worked with EPIC South Asia Director Anant Sudarshan to perform predictive analysis on post lockdown trends in electricity consumption and pollution levels in India. Additionally, Chawla worked on an experiment assessing the impact of cash-transfers on remittances and other behavioral changes in a subset of migrant laborers impacted by the pandemic in India. And he analyzed whether painting the roofs of under-developed houses with reflective paints could help in decreasing the cooling costs of a household.
“In my work at EPIC, I learned how high frequency data can be used to understand the economic implications of policy and how we can use energy and pollution patterns as a proxy for economic recovery. These implications are highly valuable and will go a long way in my professional aspirations to solve real-world problems using statistical inferences.”
Chi Cheng, a Master of Arts in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM) student, teamed up with Harris Assistant Professor Shaoda Wang. Cheng assisted in a project studying how livestreaming judicial trials affect court rulings, with environmental lawsuits as a case study. Cheng created datasets, literature reviews, and data visualization. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in political economy after graduation.
“I learned how to combine information from different sources to conduct a comprehensive analysis. The EPIC experience also enhanced my adaptability skills, which could be quite useful when conducting cutting-edge research. Technically, I learned the skills to deal with large-scale datasets, as well as data visualization. EPIC allowed me to learn about the challenges a researcher could face and prepare me for my future years of pursuing a PhD in a related field.”
Dave Foote works as a Power Market Analyst at LS Power, in an office that mainly focuses on trading FTR’s. In his position, Dave spends most of his time writing Python code to help model and analyze the electrical grid and the economics behind it. Before working at LS Power, Dave was a Research Assistant at EPIC for Dr. Eyal Frank. He received a Master of Science in Computational Analysis and Public Policy from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy in 2020.
Lily Grier, a Master of Science in Computational Analysis and Public Policy (MSCAPP) student at Harris Public Policy, is teaming up with Harris assistant professor Amir Jina to study the relationship between climate change and wealth inequity. Grier is using historical global temperature data to identify the areas within countries that experience the most extreme heat and comparing that to the spatial distribution of wealth within countries. The ultimate goal of the project is to see whether climate change disproportionately affects communities experiencing greater levels of poverty.
“I greatly value the experience of having ownership over a project from its inception. Much of the research process is about determining the best questions to ask and what data is best suited to answer those questions. This process involves adapting the project based on developments and challenges. My current project looks very different from what I had originally set out to do and learning how to be flexible and willing to change plans as needed is certainly valuable in any field. I plan to pursue a career as a data scientist, and my experiences at EPIC have prepared me to handle the types of messy problems that lie ahead.”
Will Seonmin Heo, who is pursuing a Master of Public Policy, worked with Harris associate professor Koichiro Ito on attribute-based regulations in the automotive industries by collecting data on the global car market and examining automobile tax structure as a DRW Fellow during the summer of 2019.
Now as a Bartlett Fellow, Will is continuing to work with Ito on the global car market and automobile tax structure in India.
“I hope to learn what research entails from one of the top researchers in the field and conduct independent research using microeconomics models in the near future.”
Prior to joining Harris, Will Seonmin Heo served three years as a military intelligence officer in the Air Force. Afterwards, Heo plans to pursue a PhD to tackle policy challenges through research.