Back home in China, Miao Zhang examined problems in her country’s smart energy market and investigated China’s foreign direct investment in the energy and resource sectors. Now, she brings that experience with her as a first-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. Zhang worked with Professor Prabhat Barnwal as part of EPIC’s Bartlett fellowship program.

In China, Zhang gained experience drafting policy briefs as an intern at the Development and Research Center of State Council in China while at Tsinghua University in Beijing. At Tsinghua, she majored in Economics and Linguistics and worked on various projects, including one that measured environmental awareness in China. Her interest in energy topics began with a course on environmental economics and she expanded it through coursework and internship experience.

“The more I engaged with environmental issues, the more problems I found existing in these sectors,” Zhang explained. Her primary research interests now revolve around energy markets and energy policy.

As a Bartlett fellow, Miao assisted Professor Barnwal on a project that analyzed input decisions and productivity in agriculture, focusing on inputs that cause externalities, such as fertilizers and ground water irrigation. The objective for the summer was “to clean and make data ready for analysis of the impact of policy and non-policy factors,” she explained, adding that the project “explored an interesting perspective of externalities in productivity in agriculture and will shed light on environmental quality and policies.”

Miao wanted to take advantage of her time as a Bartlett fellow to learn how to best carry out a research project. Additionally, she hoped that her summer internship will put her in “contact with more cutting-edge research in energy policy.”