A native of the Bay Area, Maya Norman decided it would be beneficial to leave California for college.
“I think I wanted to see somewhere new,” she said. “California is a great place, but I thought leaving for college was a good idea to get exposed to a different place in the country, a different culture.”
She wound up about as far away from home while still in the United States.
Norman in December graduated with a bachelor’s in economics from Bowdoin College, a small liberal arts school just outside of Portland, Maine. She initially thought she would major in history or a similar social science field, but “I found myself much more excited and interested in more quantitative analysis of social problems that drew me to history and those types of classes,” she said.
The majority of Norman’s economics research has been environmentally-related, which she said wasn’t initially by design. She said a couple professors at Bowdoin got her excited about their economic research through local projects, and she pursued a self-design project investigating how aquaculture could alleviate policy tensions surrounding Maine fisheries.
“That’s when I started to realize some of my interests were more align with questions that were in the environmental economics sphere,” Norman said.
After graduating, Norman interned with the nonprofit Earth Economics, calculating a cost-benefit analysis of a dam expansion project on the Upper Mississippi River. Today, her research is global: Norman works with the Climate Impact Lab (CIL), a multi-organization, multidisciplinary research group that seeks to calculate the social impacts of climate change. She primarily works on calculating the impact of climate change on energy consumption.
Norman said she enjoys the challenges and benefits of working across disciplines with CIL.
“This kind of research environment is very new to me, so I’m definitely glad I’m getting to see what it’s about,” she said.