Ten EPIC pre-doctoral fellows are moving on to new opportunities and academic pursuits this fall. The highly competitive fellowship program provides young researchers who have completed their bachelor’s or master’s degrees the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience and new skills in a full-time work environment under the guidance of EPIC-affiliated faculty and researchers.
This year’s departing class—including Junho Choi, Kei Irazawa, Keisuke Ito, Simoni Jain, Ruixue Li, Ucindami Mafeni, Garrison Schlauch, Kit Schwartz, Jared Stolove, and Jinglin Yang—are taking on new roles and pursuing advanced degrees in economics, sustainable development, public policy, and medicine. Each will leave with the strong support network of professors, postdoctoral scholars, and colleagues who helped advance their research skills, knowledge base and career paths.
Junho Choi worked primarily with EPIC Director Michael Greenstone and Harris Public Policy assistant professor Amir Jina, as well as other members of the Climate Impact Lab. Junho’s main task was to contribute to DSCIM-Coastal, an open-source modeling platform to gauge global impacts of sea level rise. The full Climate Impact Lab community also uses it to calculate the social cost of carbon due to sea level rise. Junho also worked on projects involving social costs of tropical cyclone activities, which are projected to become more intense in the future due to climate change. In the fall, he will be starting a PhD in Sustainable Development at Columbia University.
“I think I had a unique experience as many of my team members were from a non-economics background. However, this meant that I was able to get a chance to see the climate-economic problems through an economic lens (which I am more used to, due to my background) but also that of natural science. This unique opportunity heavily influenced me to want to learn more about interdisciplinary studies and shaped my decision to apply for programs such as a PhD in Sustainable Development at Columbia.”
While at EPIC, Kei Irazawa worked with EPIC Director Michael Greenstone on projects related to energy markets and energy efficiency programs. Kei will attend Yale University in the fall to pursue a PhD in Economics.
“My invaluable experience at EPIC has developed my passion for economics research. I learned and executed cutting-edge methods used in environmental and energy economics research. I will treasure my experience at EPIC and hope to utilize what I learned for my future research in graduate school. I am very grateful for Michael Greenstone and EPIC’s support!”
Keisuke Ito spent his time at EPIC working with Koichiro Ito, associate professor at the Harris School of Public Policy. Keisuke primarily worked on three research projects. The first involved analyzing data of the car market in India to estimate the welfare impacts of a change in the attribute-based tax system. He also explored whether wholesalers use dual-fuel power plants to exercise market power. Additionally, he worked to estimate the welfare impacts of transboundary air pollution in East Asia using innovative instrumental variables based on Atmospheric Science models. In the fall, Keisuke will be staying at the University of Chicago to pursue his PhD at the Harris School of Public Policy where he intends to continue his exploration of energy and environmental economics, public economics, and econometric theory as an applied economist.
“As a full-time pre-doctoral fellow for professor Koichiro Ito, I’ve had the opportunities to work on energy and environmental economics. Working with him helped me not only develop skills but also deepen my understanding of empirical economics and refine my academic interests. I am excited to continue my exploration of economics for my next chapter.”
Simoni Jain worked with Thomas Covert, assistant professor at the Booth School of Business, and Ryan Kellogg, professor at the Harris School of Public Policy. She assisted on a portfolio of projects aimed at understanding the contracting and allocative efficiency on heterogeneous oil and gas parcels, and modeling firm drilling decision-making in the U.S. post-shale economy. Simoni will head to the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business to pursue a PhD in Business and Public Policy.
“Working as a pre-doctoral fellow at EPIC has been both a rewarding and a learning experience. It has prepared me well for the next big step I am going to take, in allowing me to get the first experience of the different aspects of an academic research career, honing my econometric and technical skills, and most importantly helping build advising and co-working relationships that I hope to carry with me. I am truly grateful for the support I have received from my PIs in navigating this journey (especially through the pandemic!) which has only left me richer in my own research interests.”
Ruixue Li worked on empirically estimating the social cost of carbon with the Climate Impact Lab. Ruixue worked closely with Climate Impact Lab postdoctoral fellows Ashwin Rode and Ishan Nath. She mainly focused on the impact of climate change on labor productivity and energy consumption. Upon leaving EPIC, Ruixueshe will start her PhD in Sustainable Development at Columbia University.
“For those interested in doing research in energy and environmental economics, the exposure to the research frontier and the access to the professional network in this field provided by EPIC is unbeatable.”
Ucindami Mafeni worked with Fiona Burlig, assistant professor at Harris Public Policy, on two projects. He first estimated the effect of temperature exposure on the water usage of agricultural groundwater consumers. He then estimated the price elasticity of demand for groundwater consumption. After leaving EPIC, Ucindami will be joining Oxera Consulting LLP as an analyst for the Data Science and Econometrics Center of Excellence.
“While my predoc has had to be fully remote due to COVID, my time at EPIC has allowed me to develop the skills required to carry out academic research. I have learned how to manage, clean and analyze large scale datasets, and how to illustrate and communicate my findings to an academic audience. But most importantly, I have been able to interact and form connections with other aspiring academics from all walks of life even while being thousands of miles away. My relationship with my supervisor has been stellar, as I felt like she was rooting for me every step of the way. There has not been a day where I regretted joining EPIC, and I doubt the day will ever come.”
Garrison Schlauch worked with Fiona Burlig, an assistant professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, on projects studying the effects of government policies in developing countries on health, wellbeing, and consumption. Garrison will be joining the PhD program in Agricultural and Resource Economics at University of California, Berkeley in the fall.
“Working at EPIC has improved my understanding of how to formulate and pursue research topics in environmental and public economics. I am grateful to Professor Burlig and the EPIC community for their guidance and support throughout my time here. I feel well prepared to pursue a PhD and future career in research.”
Kit Schwartz spent her time at EPIC working on estimating the social cost of carbon with the Climate Impact Lab. For her next career move, Kit will be heading back to her hometown of Vancouver to start medical school.
“I feel so privileged to have worked with the incredible CIL team on one of the biggest policy issues we’re facing today. My research skills have improved hugely over the past couple years, and I hope to use what I’ve learned when embarking on clinical research during my next degree.”
While at EPIC, Jared Stolove worked with EPIC Director Michael Greenstone on the demand for electricity in developing countries, the social cost of carbon, and air pollution regulation. In the fall, Jared will pursue a PhD in Economics at Yale University.
“EPIC has provided me with a community of friends and mentors who share my passion for using economics to address important social issues. Through my experiences at EPIC, I’ve developed skills in data analysis, economic modeling, and policy communication, which will serve me well in graduate school and beyond.”
Jinglin Yang worked with EPIC Director Michael Greenstone on projects related to air pollution, marine conservation, and energy markets. In the fall, Jinglin will be joining the PhD program in Economics at the University of California, Berkeley.
“My time at EPIC has allowed me to earn hands-on experience of projects at different stages. I leave EPIC after two years with a deeper understanding of economic research methods and a clearer idea of the types of questions I want to pursue in the future. I am grateful for Professor Greenstone’s guidance and support during the past two years. I also cherish the time spent with my amazing colleagues here.”