EPIC’s DRW Graduate Fellowship in Economics & Policy program supports students focused on contributing to energy, environment or climate research while pursuing advanced degrees. DRW fellows have opportunities to work closely with EPIC affiliated faculty on a variety of research initiatives.

EPIC is pleased to welcome a new class of DRW Graduate Fellows in Economics & Policy for the 2019-2020 academic year.

PhD Students

Nadia Lucas

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’s been exposed to policy-relevant economics research, working for Ryan Kellogg in analyzing the U.S. fracking industry. In beginning her PhD this fall, 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.”

Yixin Sun

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.”

Jeanne Sorin

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.”

Master’s Students

Borui Sun

Advisor: Tamma Carleton, Postdoctoral Scholar, EPIC

Borin Sun is a second year Master of Public Policy student at the Harris School of Public Policy. Through this fellowship, she is assisting postdoctoral fellow Tamma Carleton on research which aims to develop the first causally-identified as well as globally-comprehensive empirical estimates of agriculture’s water footprint. Sun’s interest in agricultural development originated from her undergraduate studies at George Washington University, where she took advanced courses in agricultural policy, rural development as well as food security. In addition, during an internship with the Global Food and Agriculture Program at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, she contributed to key research and policy support for the Council’s annual publication on sustainable water management in agriculture. She also assisted with the Council’s research on Chinese investment on the development of the African water sector.

“I am interested in data-driven and evidence-based research in the field of international development and I believe that this fellowship is an amazing opportunity for me to apply my Harris education to resolve real world policy challenges. I hope that by the end of this internship, I can have a better understanding of the influence of agricultural policy on global water consumption.”

Anna-Elise Smith

Advisor: Ryan Kellogg, Professor, Harris Public Policy

Anna-Elise Smith is a second year Master of Public Policy student at the Harris School of Public Policy, where, through this fellowship, she is working with Harris Public Policy Professor Ryan Kellogg on a project that evaluates the economic costs of the Jones Act, which has effectively prevented nearly all movement of oil and refined petroleum products from the U.S. Gulf Coast to the Eastern Seaboard. Prior to coming to the Harris School, Smith graduated with a degree in economy and evolutionary biology from the University of Colorado Boulder. She spent her summer working as a greenhouse gas reporting policy intern at The Climate Registry and continues to work for the organization by designing and testing an automated and responsive Excel tool to help countries track progress towards their Paris Agreement goals.

“I hope to become more comfortable working with data, outside of the classroom and hope to gain hands on experience in academic research. I want to apply the quantitative skills gained at Harris to meaningful research. This experience as a fellow will help me determine my professional and academic path forward in several ways. First, it will help me demonstrate my skills to employers. Second, it will help me determine what kind of work is right for me. I may want to continue working in academia, or with research at a think tank. I hope this experience helps me decide what career path fits me best.”

Emily Bablitch

Advisor: Kim Wolske, Assistant Professor, Harris Public Policy

Emily is a second year MPP at the Harris School of Public Policy and is pursing the Environmental and Energy Policy Certificate. This summer she interned as a Policy Intern at the Environmental Law and Policy Center helping gather air quality data for future advocacy and policy work. On campus she is the Vice President of Communications and Marketing for Harris Environmental and Energy Association (HEEA), a Writing TA, and a Research Assistant for Professor Wolske through EPIC’s DRW Fellowship. Prior to Harris, Emily worked as an Environmental Educator at a nonprofit in Milwaukee. During the year, Emily will be working with Professor Wolske to examine policies to encourage greater household investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies (e.g., fuel efficient cars, energy efficient appliances, home insulation, solar panels).

“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 

Shruti Bhimsaria is a first year Master of Public Policy student at the Harris School of Public. Prior to coming to Chicago, Bhimsaria worked for more than five years in various parts of India for the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). In her role at J-PAL, Bhimsaria was a research manager on several projects conducted jointly with EPIC-India, including a project to launch and evaluate the world’s first trading market for particulate pollution in Gujarat, India, and a project to improve electricity access in Bihar, India. As a fellow with EPIC, she will assist the central communications team with their efforts to gain international visibility for the Gujarat and Bihar projects, as well as other projects.

“Communications is integral to policy and is deeply rooted throughout the policy cycle. As a DRW fellow, I’m looking to understand how stakeholders and the public respond to policies and how these policies end up shaping the larger information campaign.”