Having lived in Beijing since 2003, the negative health consequences caused by pollution was a part of Maggie Fan’s everyday life. The premature birth of her daughter because of a persistent cough that Fan experienced weeks before her due date was among the most impactful of these challenges. Because of her personal experiences with pollution, Fan is now passionate about paving a way for cleaner sources of energy.
“Many people suffer from the serious air pollution caused mainly by energy generation and consumption,” said Fan, who was pursuing her Master’s of Public Policy at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, and a 2016 summer Bartlett Fellow for EPIC. “Clean air is a basic need for all human beings, [who] should not be deprived of this.”
Before coming to UChicago, Fan worked for the Asian Development Bank, where she partnered with Chinese government officials to effectively and efficiently implement energy projects. She also had experience working with the environmental NGO Future Generation, where she worked as an accountant. Her team there aimed to raise public awareness of energy conservation and researched grassroots clean energy and conservation practices.
Fan applied her real-world experience through her work at EPIC. Specifically, she is worked with Harris Assistant Professor Steve Cicala to estimate the health effects of coal-fired power plants. This can provide valuable information to governments.
“Economic agencies are concerned about the increased cost of clean power generation,” Fan explained. “However, policymakers need to consider the overall social benefit and cost of varies alternatives to energy generation. By providing information on the health effects of coal-fired power plants, policymakers can make better decisions that fully consider the social cost of the various types of power generation.”
Fan was excited by the opportunity to learn from the experts at EPIC and become familiar with the ways in which they address energy issues. She was excited to put to use the research skills that she acquired from her academic program.