EPIC welcomes a new class of fellows to the highly-competitive program which 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.
Jesse Jian Adelman is a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC. He assists the research efforts of Harris School of Public Policy Assistant Professor Eyal Frank, focusing on the efficacy of U.S. conservation policies designed to rebuild populations depleted by overfishing and maintain those that have recovered. Prior to joining EPIC, Adelman received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, where he majored in Economics with a minor in Chinese. During his time at Pitt, Adelman became interested in land and resource economics after his experiences researching the Kingdom of Portugal’s colonization efforts in Brazil, as well as his assistance in researching the adverse effects of slash-and-burn agriculture throughout India.
“When deciding on a pre-doctoral program, I often faced a tradeoff between which institution will provide the most opportunity and which institution’s research aligns most with my passions. At EPIC, I get the best of both worlds. With coursework, seminars, and workshops offered by UChicago, BFI, and EPIC, I have plenty of opportunities to be excited about during my fellowship. In addition, the welcoming and passionate nature of my professors, fellow pre-docs, and the entire EPIC team made me feel right at home. Best of all, I have the opportunity to contribute to environmental economics research during a time when the world is finally beginning to realize that a renewable resource is not an expendable one.”
Junho (Jun Ho) Choi is a pre-doctoral fellow for the Climate Impact Lab, working primarily with the coastal impacts team. Before joining the Lab, Choi graduated from the University of Chicago’s Masters in Computational Social Science (MACSS) program, with a concentration in economics. In his MA thesis, Choi conducted an empirical analysis of how recipient-specific information hinders or promotes sponsorship in child sponsorship programs and explored sponsorship organizations’ optimal “inventory” strategies using a simple theoretical model. Choi also holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University.
“At the Climate Impact Lab and the coastal impacts team, I am learning something new each day, whether in economics, climate science, computer science, or more. There is so much ground to cover, but I am glad to have senior and peer researchers to count on, along with other great EPIC pre-docs. Through regular contributions to on-going projects and diverse learning opportunities at EPIC and the Climate Impact Lab, I am genuinely excited about the prospect of myself developing as a researcher well-versed in various methodologies and techniques in economic and climate science research.”
Alina Gafanova is a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC working with Harris Public Policy Assistant Professor Amir Jina. She earned a bachelor’s in Economics at New Economic School (Moscow, Russia), where she worked as a research assistant on oil industry topics. Her current interests encompass the intersection of economics and environment, specifically health issues related to poor environmental conditions and climate change. Gafanova’s bachelor thesis focused on how vulnerable Russia may be to the rise of vector-borne infections due to the variations in climate. Prior to her economic research, she worked and interned in various industries: management consulting, pharmaceuticals, and urban development projects. This well-rounded experience gives her a deeper understanding of the real-world problems and will assist her in conducting applied research in the future.
“Due to pandemic, I am joining EPIC from my home in Russia, but the team does everything possible to expose me to all the amazing opportunities: from attending UChicago seminars to learning new coding skills during orientation sessions. My main motivation behind becoming an EPIC predoctoral fellow was to be surrounded by people who study issues which I personally find the most pressing. That’s why I am so delighted to work with my PI, Amir Jina, who now helps me to see the frontier of interdisciplinary research between economics and climate science.”
Kei Irizawa is a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC working for Director Michael Greenstone on energy and environmental economics projects. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics with specialization in Data Science from the University of Chicago in 2020. He wrote an honors thesis that considers the future of monetary policy through a two-country economy model with national currency and global (crypto) currency as imperfect substitutes in providing liquidity services. His research interests are in macroeconomics, microeconometrics, environmental economics, and computational economics.
“There are three reasons why I chose EPIC. First, EPIC has an ideal working environment that brings out the best in us. Second, Dr. Greenstone highly values the capacity development of pre-doctoral fellows. Third, EPIC conducts cutting-edge economic research that addresses the most important global theme: energy and environmental challenges. I hope to further expand my passion for economic research through my valuable experience at EPIC.”
Keisuke Ito is a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC, working with Koichiro Ito, an associate professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, on research topics ranging from the effects of India’s car tax policy on air pollution, safety, market competition, and welfare to the relationship between ozone monitoring and strategic fuel switching of U.S. Midwest power plants. Ito initially became interested in environmental and energy economics after he experienced the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and power outages caused by the Fukushima nuclear accident. Besides energy and the environment, he has always been interested in the consequences of policy such as tax and social welfare policies for income inequality and equality of opportunity, and statistical tools for analyzing public policy. Ito graduated from Tohoku university with a major in Economics and spent a year abroad at UC Berkeley where he studied machine learning and causal inference in the Statistics department.
“One of the reasons I started studying Economics was because I was deeply impressed by a book written by my PI, Koichiro Ito. Now, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with him and I am especially excited to be directly involved in the process of cutting-edge research where I look to tackle real world social problems by applying statistical methods.”
Simoni Jain is a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC working with Professors Ryan Kellogg (Professor and Deputy Dean at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy) and Thomas Covert (Assistant Professor of Economics at the Booth School of Business) on their portfolio of research projects examining questions in the field of industrial organization regarding productivity growth and misallocation of economic activity, looking specifically at the US energy markets. She earned a Bachelors in Economics from the University of Delhi in 2015 and a Masters in Research Methods (MACRM) from the University of Chicago in 2019. Prior to joining the University of Chicago, Jain was a Senior Research Associate at J-PAL South Asia where she was working with Professors Karthik Muralidharan, Paul Niehaus (UCSD), and Sandip Sukhtankar (UVA) on various empirical projects directed towards welfare reform in India. The team works closely with central and state governments to evaluate major reforms to social welfare programming using large scale RCTs.
“Getting the opportunity to work with Ryan and Thom was the perfect next step in my research trajectory. It gives me the opportunity to one, complement my training in empirical research with more structural methods, and two, exploit this well-rounded research experience to prepare for a PhD in economics with a focus on two sub-fields which have a very interesting intersection and a huge scope for new research, specially in the context of developing countries- industrial organization and development economics. Having spent some virtual months here, I have no doubt in saying that the EPIC team makes for a “perfect environment” to ensure I come out a better researcher.”
Tianyu Luo is a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC. He is working with Harris Public Policy Associate Professor Koichiro Ito on the effect of policy and infrastructure change in the Chilean electricity market. He graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences. He became interested in energy in an undergraduate class on environmental economics, where he learned about externality, emission regulation, and the health and economic impact of pollution. While at Northwestern, he also helped with evaluating the outcome of educational and career interventions that targeted parents with low-income and their children.
“EPIC offers me opportunities to work with faculty whose research interests coincide with mine. I look forward to learning the details of doing empirical work and getting to know the staff and RAs at EPIC. I thank them for having helped me get onboard smoothly under these difficult circumstances.”
Ucindami Mafeni is a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC, working for Harris Assistant Professor Fiona Burlig to study how farmers in California — one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions — respond to environmental regulations aimed at reducing underground aquifer depletion. He earned a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Warwick in 2018 and a Master’s in Applied Economics with a major in Public Policy and Development from the Paris School of Economics in 2020. He wrote his undergraduate thesis on female economic empowerment in developing countries, and his master’s thesis on affirmative action in higher education in Malawi. Mafeni’s interests include economic development and public policy, and how both can be adapted to take the environment into account.
“After looking at some of the projects which the lead researchers were undertaking, I was drawn to the idea that the work which I would be involved in during my pre-doc would be both interesting and beneficial to society. Furthermore, I believed that it would serve as ideal preparation for the PhD which I intended to pursue immediately after the pre-doc. Finally, during the interview process I was convinced that a pre-doc at EPIC would let me into a tightly knit and supportive community of mentors and colleagues, all of whom would help bring out the best in me as researcher. Now that I am part of the team, I can honestly say that those pre-conceptions were 100% correct.”
Odiche Nwabuikwu is a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC. She works under the supervision of Director Michael Greenstone, on a variety of energy and environmental economics projects. Before joining EPIC, Nwabuikwu was a research assistant at the Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development and Evaluation, where she contributed to education policy research in East Africa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Mount Holyoke College and a Public Policy Master’s degree from Georgetown University.
“Working as a fellow at EPIC has shown me that climate conditions are important to consider when designing social policies. I look forward to learning more about the mechanisms through which climate affects our wellbeing.”
Garrison is a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC working for Harris Assistant Professor Fiona Burlig and her colleagues on a variety of energy and development economics projects. He earned bachelor’s degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018. While at Santa Barbara, Garrison coauthored The Path to an Economics PhD with Dick Startz and worked on several research teams studying health incentives, gender disparities in hiring, and educational inequality. After graduating, he taught secondary mathematics in an underserved community in his native Sacramento. During this time, he became deeply interested in addressing inequality on a large scale through economic research, especially as it relates to energy and environmental policy.
“I chose EPIC, and Fiona specifically, because I was really interested in working at the intersection of climate and development economics, and because I felt like I would make great friends with the other pre-docs. I majored in Math and Economics at UCSB and taught secondary math in an underserved community after graduating. Right now, I am excited to work with Fiona on projects involving migrant workers in India and COVID-19.”
Kit Schwarz is a pre-doctoral fellow working at the Climate Impact Lab. She earned a Bachelor of International Economics from the University of British Columbia. Prior to joining CIL, Kit was a research assistant at Pragati Abhiyan, studying the effect of commercial dairies on pastoral groups and the effectiveness of yield-improvement techniques for millet farmers. She also spent six months working in the Moria refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece. Her research interests lie in the fields of development, environment, and humanitarian aid.
“Growing up in beautiful British Columbia gave me a deep respect for the incredible natural world that sustains us as a species. I see my work at the Climate Impact Lab as a great opportunity to use my skills as a budding economist to better understand our dependence on the environment, and to help set policy that maximizes human welfare both today and in the future.”
Nishka Sharma is a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC, where she works with the Climate Impact Lab, a multi-institution, multidisciplinary research group co-led by EPIC Director Michael Greenstone that works to quantify the impact of climate change. She earned her master’s in International and Development Economics from Yale University and a bachelor’s in economics from Shiv Nadar University in India. In the past, Nishka worked as a researcher at the Indian School of Business in India on projects that empirically evaluated the impact of digital identity in social welfare programs. Her current research interests lie broadly in the intersection of environmental and development economics including social impacts of climate change, and how adaptation to climate change can be made more accessible.
“I wish to work towards quantifying the impact of challenges due to climate change in harmony with economic development. I am excited to work with my peers and the experts at the Climate Impact Lab to pursue that goal and contribute to developing scientific strategies to mitigate them. I also look forward to making the most of the learning opportunities that CIL, EPIC, and UChicago have to offer.”
Jared Stolove is a pre-doctoral fellow on EPIC Director Michael Greenstone’s research team. He works on a variety of projects in energy and environmental economics, including the enforcement of pollution regulations, the electrification of rural areas in India, and the social cost of carbon. Aside from his work at EPIC, Stolove has researched behavioral interventions to combat HIV in Mozambique, the distributional consequences of the Affordable Care Act, and the effects of trade liberalization on U.S. and Mexican labor markets. Stolove graduated from the University of Michigan with majors in Economics and Mathematics.
“EPIC stood out to me not only as a place to do cutting-edge research with clear policy impact, but also as a uniquely supportive, collaborative and friendly community. Both the faculty and the other fellows have really impressed me with their openness and willingness to help me grow as a researcher.”
Jinglin Yang is a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC, working for Professor Michael Greenstone on a variety of environmental economics projects, such as the value of statistical life and the health impact of climate change. She holds a bachelor’s in economics and applied mathematics from Peking University in 2019 and a master’s in social science with a concentration in economics from University of Chicago in 2020. Jinglin’s interest is in environmental economics, with a particular attention to developing countries, especially her home country of China.
“I was born in a small county where there is clean air, blue sky, but bad economic performance. On the other hand, while I studied in Beijing, there was severe air pollution and murky sky, but good economic performance. It made me begin to reflect on whether environmental pollution is inevitable for economic development and which policy would be effective and efficient for developing countries. I believe EPIC would be an ideal place where I could further my understanding of these issues. At EPIC, I am excited about working on research on environmental issues, with particular attention to developing countries, such as the health impact of climate change and people’s valuation about their life. Moreover, I enjoy working in the warm and friendly atmosphere at EPIC.”
To learn more about the program or apply, visit: https://www.epicpredoctoralfellowship.com/