With the 2019-20 academic year coming to a close, EPIC will be saying goodbye to nine pre-doctoral fellows who have worked closely with EPIC-affiliated faculty and staff over the past two years to produce valuable research and develop new skills.

The highly-competitive fellowship provides young researchers who have completed their bachelor’s degrees the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience in a full-time work environment under the guidance of EPIC-affiliated faculty and researchers. This year’s departing class – including Laura Alcocer Quinones, Tom Bearpark, Claire Fan, Simon Greenhill, Dylan Hogan, Chinmay Lohani, Vishan Nigam, Maya Norman, and Andrew Smith – are heading across the country to pursue advanced degrees in economics, public policy and international affairs. Each will leave with the strong support network of professors and postdoctoral scholars who helped advance their research skills, knowledge base and career paths.


Laura Alcocer Quinones worked at the Climate Impact Lab under the direction of EPIC Director Michael Greenstone, and Tamma Carleton, EPIC postdoctoral scholar with a focus on the impacts of climate change on agricultural yields. She’s excited to be joining the Agricultural Resource Economics doctoral program at the University of California-Davis in the fall.

“My time at EPIC has been, for lack of a better word, invaluable. The faculty, staff and my peers have taught me so much at both a professional and personal level. This is where I was exposed to the world of environmental economics and experienced what it’s like to work at the frontier of research.”


Tom Bearpark worked to quantify and project the effects of climate change on economics and social outcomes as part of the Climate Impact Lab. Bearpark worked under the direction of EPIC Director Michael Greenstone and Ashwin Rode, Director of Scientific Research. They studied the effects of climate change on global conflict, migration, energy consumption, and labor supply. In the fall, Bearpark will head to Princeton to receive his PhD in Public Affairs with Professor Michael Oppenheimer where he plans to work on research related to inequality and the environment.

“At EPIC, I learned a lot of technical skills that will help me in my career as a researcher. I also gained an understanding of the climate impact literature and had the chance to work with researchers who are at the cutting edge of this literature.”


Claire Fan spent her time at EPIC working with Michael Greenstone on the Air Quality Life Index, as well as on a project on the effects of pollution fees in China. In the fall, Fan will be staying in Hyde Park to start her PhD at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

“Before coming to EPIC, I knew that I wanted to use economics to study environmental issues in the context of developing countries, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it meant to do that or how such research could make a difference out in the world. My work and the community at EPIC have given me an in-depth look at both, and I’m excited to try to contribute to this line of work with my own research going forward.”


Simon Greenhill contributed to work at the Climate Impact Lab under the direction of EPIC Director Michael Greenstone and Tamma Carleton, EPIC postdoctoral scholar, where he made contributions to the migration and labor sectors, as well as on energy, mortality, and agriculture. Greenhill will be entering the Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) PhD program at the University of California-Berkeley in the fall.

“EPIC’s pre-doctoral fellowship program was an amazing opportunity for personal and professional growth. As pre-docs, we contribute to frontier research while being mentored by leaders in our field and building lasting friendships with other early-career researchers. I could not imagine a better preparation for a PhD program and subsequent research career.”


Dylan Hogan spent his time with EPIC working in the Climate Impact Lab on the impact of climate change on all-cause mortality. Hogan worked closely with Amir Jina, Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy and Tamma Carleton. After leaving EPIC, Hogan will head to Columbia University to start his PhD in Sustainable Development.

“My experience at EPIC gave me the opportunity to fully engage in the academic research process and develop critical intuitive and technical skills that will be invaluable in graduate school. More importantly, EPIC provides a welcoming and supportive community of researchers interested in important environmental issues and I’m proud to be a part of it.”


Chinmay Lohani worked with Fiona Burlig, Assistant Professor at Harris Public Policy, on projects related to electricity markets in California and India. Lohani will take his talents to the PhD program in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania in the coming fall.

“Besides teaching me core economics skills, my time at EPIC showed me how to be a productive researcher. I cherished learning how to do economics from my extremely competent friends and mentors at EPIC.”


Vishan Nigam spent his time at EPIC working with Michael Greenstone on a variety of projects related to climate change, air pollution, and energy access. This included a paper on power shortages and energy theft in Bihar, India, a study of the impacts of childhood exposure to air pollution in China on educational attainment and adult incomes, and a project on the damages to American agriculture due to extreme heat. In the fall, Nigam will be pursuing a PhD in Economics at MIT focusing on a combination of development, environmental, and urban economics with an emphasis on India.

“I leave EPIC after two years with a stronger understanding of both economics research methods and the types of questions that are important to environmental economics and policymakers. Michael Greenstone and the other EPIC professors gave us invaluable guidance about how to transition to research. At the same time, EPIC has given me a community of pre-docs and friends that I hope to stay connected with for years to come.”


Maya Norman worked at the Climate Impact Lab under the supervision of Amir Jina, Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy and Ashwin Rode, Director of Scientific Research on the energy sector. Norman will be moving on to a PhD at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

“EPIC has been an amazing place to learn from my peers, my supervisors, and the bustling academic environment. I came to EPIC with very little work experience in a research environment. With the support and guidance of my peers and supervisors, I learned the necessary technical skills to get the job done, further developed my ability to break a problem into many smaller chewable pieces and began to get a feel for the nature of the wandering path of research. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity I was given and all that I have learned through the work.”


Andrew Smith worked with Koichiro Ito, Associate Professor at Harris Public Policy, to understand the impacts of increased competition on prices and market power in the Chilean electricity market. Come the fall, Smith will be heading north to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue a PhD in Economics.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better experience at EPIC. I was able to develop great friendships with the fellows who challenged me daily. Moreover, I was privileged to learn how to do economic research from Koichiro, who is not only a great economist, but a phenomenal person.”