Six students from the Harris School of Public Policy spent their summers working closely with University of Chicago faculty as part of the James Bartlett Fellowship Program in Energy and Environmental Policy and the DRW Graduate Fellowship in Economics & Policy. From analyzing nuclear reactor vendor data to exploring the intricacies of power distribution and operation, each fellow gained valuable skills this summer. Learn more about their experiences.

Zhenyu Zhu

DRW Fellow, Shaoda Wang

Zhenyu Zhu, a MA in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods student at Harris Public Policy, worked with Prof. Shaoda Wang to explore the political economic determinants of the global decline in nuclear investment, with a regional focus on China. As an aspiring public policy researcher, Zhenyu helped analyze various datasets from nuclear reactor vendors and China’s mainstream newspapers to examine the study Chinese government’s thought process on nuclear energy development post-Chernobyl. Zhenyu plans to pursue a PhD degree in economics or public policy.

“The RA experience provided me with in-depth exposure to the application of causal inference approaches, and increased my proficiency in coding to process large-scale data of diverse types, which is highly beneficial for my future research career. In addition, the first year PhD courses at Harris Public Policy School helped me lay a solid foundation in econometrics.”

Max Zahrah

Bartlett Fellow, Eyal Frank

Max Zahrah, a MA in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods student at Harris Public Policy, worked with Prof. Eyal Frank on the development of adaptation strategies that address the compounding effects of climate change. As an aspiring climate policy researcher and advocate, Max contributed to the creation of a comprehensive database encompassing agricultural animal units across the United States during their time as a Bartlett Fellow. This database paves the way for future research focused on unraveling the intricate connections between concentrated animal farming, human well-being, and environmental health. Max plans to apply for interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs and pursue a career in climate policy research and advocacy.

“The Bartlett Fellowship has been instrumental in honing my research capabilities and fostering collaboration with faculty members. Notably, I’ve vastly improved my analytical data skills, allowing me to adeptly dissect complex datasets and extract meaningful insights. Additionally, I’ve gained proficiency in translating real-world policy challenges into research ideas that align with econometric rigor. This experience bridged my academic knowledge with real-world applications, allowing me to translate theoretical concepts from my studies into actionable, econometrically sound research ideas. The fellowship not only reinforced my Harris-acquired skills but also enabled their practical application in a dynamic research environment. The mentorship, interdisciplinary exposure, and hands-on research opportunities have collectively affirmed my passion for contributing meaningfully to shaping effective policy solutions addressing pressing global challenges.”

Madeleine Augostini

Bartlett Fellow, Hajin Kim

Madeleine Augostini, a MA of Public Policy student at Harris Public Policy, worked with Dr. Hajin Kim on exploring the relationship between shareholder expectations and corporations’ prosociality, evaluating the impact of market-based instruments on the moral stigma of pollution, and assessing effects of voluntary corporate efforts on the crowding of government regulation. As an aspiring public policy researcher, Madeleine worked on data sets and visualizations for a project involving the crowding of government regulation in response to corporate voluntary efforts which was later submitted to the American Law and Economics Review. Upon graduating, Madeleine hopes to pursue a role in research, policy analysis, and policy implementation at a think tank, city or local government agency, or government adjacent organization in roles that leverage quantitative research with local initiatives pertaining to energy and infrastructure.

“My internship with EPIC has exposed me to an array of contemporary issues surrounding the energy space. As I am interested in urban and sustainable development, exposure to policy research currently being conducted will be valuable for me to rely on in future roles. Additionally, I hope to continue conducting research and policy analysis. Working with empirical data and different research design methods has strengthened my ability to work with large data sets and statistical packages, which will be transferable to analyzing policy across disciplines. This experience has deepened my understanding of issues surrounding energy policy and research development, which I am eager to carry into future roles. It is with sincere gratitude that I reflect on my summer working with Dr. Kim and EPIC through generosity of the Bartlett Fellowship.”

Keisuke Ito

DRW Fellow, Koichiro Ito

Keisuke Ito, a PhD student at Harris Public Policy, worked with Prof. Koichiro Ito on analyzing the institutional makeup of the Japanese electricity market. Keisuke worked on collecting and analyzing the most recent data available on the Japanese electricity market, including news articles and government materials.

“In recent years, the Japanese electricity market has been deregulated, and more and more data has become available to researchers. Koichiro and I assembled a novel rich dataset on the electricity market to address the question of whether the 2020 Japanese power crisis was exacerbated because institutional flaws gave large firms room to exercise market power. Koichiro and I talked about the institutional details and potential research topics every day. I learned from Koichiro, not just skills and institutional knowledge but how to think about real-world problems in terms of economics. I would like to continue to work hard to ensure the success of the project we started this summer.”

Eshan Prashar

Bartlett Fellow, Dr. Kim Wolske

Eshan Prashar, a MS in Computational Analysis and Public Policy student at Harris Public Policy, worked with Dr. Kim Wolske on exploring decision-making of builders in the US around solar panel installation in single-family homes. As an aspiring energy consultant, Eshan focused on exploring types of builders who design customized homes, creating a list of large production builders and figuring out how many solar permits map to each of them in the last 20+ years. Specifically, Eshan focused on making the analysis more efficient and robust. Currently, Eshan is trying to build upon this experience and explore the energy equity space more deeply through part-time work or volunteering. After graduation, Eshan hopes to utilize this experience in energy consulting or for data-driven organisations in the energy space.

“This internship gave me tremendous insights into a vital aspect of energy policy – solar installation in residential buildings. I developed a great foundational understanding of challenges around clean energy economics and equity in residential markets, an understanding I hope to strengthen in the future.”

Will Macheel

DRW Fellow, Mark Templeton

Will Macheel, a MA in Public Policy student at Harris Public Policy, worked with Prof. Mark Templeton at the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic (AELC) on intervening in electric utility cases before the Michigan Public Service Commission on behalf of local community organizations representing low-income and environmental justice communities. In collaboration with a team of clinic faculty, law students, and an undergraduate research assistant supervised by Will, he helped draft case testimonies and briefs that included research on electricity reliability, affordability, clean energy.

“The opportunity to research a case, collaborate with clinic practitioners and outside organizations, and come to an agreement on a policy recommendation was a highlight of my time with the AELC and one that I will build off of in my time post-Harris, particularly in roles that have a high demand for project management and stakeholder engagement. If I continue in the energy policy field post-Harris, this experience will be invaluable to understanding how public utility commissions function and the key actors typically involved in utility cases. I also came away from this experience with additional knowledge about the current issues facing utilities, commissions, and stakeholders such as the clients we served. Some of these topics include electricity reliability, affordability, clean energy, and utility finance.”