Coming from Beijing, where air pollution is a major challenge, Zeyuan Zhou became interested in environmental problems caused by energy consumption. An atmospheric scientist by training, Zhou studied PM2.5 pollution—considered by many to be the most toxic form of pollution. But while living in China, she noticed the tight connection this pollution had to the economy.

“Because China is a developing country…the traffic and manufacturers are greatly responsible for the problem,” Zeyuan Zhou says.

Now a first-year Master’s student at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy specializing in environmental science and policy, Zhou joined the EPIC team as a Bartlett Fellow and worked with Professor Michael Greenstone, who has studied PM2.5 pollution in China extensively.

At EPIC, Zhou worked closely with the Social Cost of Carbon team to collect data on population, labor, energy, and mortality at both the country and state levels. She is interested in the merging of various energy topics, environmental problems, and economic and policy concerns. She hoped to delve deeper into the project to “see how it runs, to utilize and learn some data cleaning methods in practice,” and learn new software skills.