As an intern in a Tokyo consulting firm, Yawen Zhao noticed many Japanese brands creating air conditioners that could detect human movements and body temperature in order to automatically adjust temperatures to save energy. She learned from this the impact technology could have on shaping and benefitting policy.

Noticing a giant gap in energy efficiency knowledge between Japan and her home country of China, Yawen Zhao became interested in energy issues and social conservation awareness. She is now pursuing this topic as a masters student at the Harris School of Public Policy, studying specifically energy policy, international development and public finance.

As an EPIC Bartlett Fellow, Zhao learned that technology could also have negative impacts. As a fellow, she worked with EPIC Postdoctoral Fellow Katherine Meckel to study human development and healthcare. Part of her work included looking at the association between natural gas development and impacts on infant mortality.

“The experience at EPIC leads me to connect energy issues with healthcare and human development,” Zhao says. “I want to acquire better data analysis and research skills, and here at EPIC, the skills-sets that are cultivated and initiatives that you are encouraged to take are undoubtedly of the best value.”