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Bridging Research and Policy

EPIC started the Visiting Fellows in Policy Practice program to help contextualize research in a policy setting. As practitioners who served in various capacities in government—from Capitol Hill to executive agencies and the White House—these policy fellows provide invaluable perspective and expertise through events, workshops and one-on-one meetings with faculty and students.

Events featuring the policy fellows explore the latest policy-relevant research from EPIC-affiliated faculty and its impact on policy debates. Evidence-based insights serve as the launch pad to frame these deep-dive conversations, as faculty and the policy fellows navigate ways to translate research into solutions.

“EPIC plays an important role in developing creative, market-based solutions to today’s most important energy and environmental challenges… I’m eager to learn from the dedicated faculty and students at EPIC, and to share the lessons I have learned from more than 25 years of working on environmental and energy issues. I hope that this collaboration will lead to better-informed regulations and policies that will allow us to reach our environmental goals and preserve access to affordable, reliable energy.”

– Jeff Holmstead, former Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Air and Radiation, 2017-2018 Policy Fellow

  • Carlos Curbelo
    EPIC Policy Fellow, 2021-2022; Former U.S. Congressman (R-FL); Founder, Vocero LLC

    Carlos Curbelo represented Florida’s 26th Congressional District from 2015 to 2019, where he consistently ranked as one of the House’s most bipartisan members for his work to build consensus on challenging policy questions. While in Congress, Curbelo led on climate policy, co-founding and co-chairing the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. In 2017, he was honored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation with the New Frontier Award for his work promoting bipartisan cooperation on environmental policy. In 2018, he filed the landmark Market Choice Act, ambitious legislation that would invest nearly a trillion dollars in American infrastructure while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by pricing carbon. Curbelo is now an analyst for NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo, and after departing Congress launched Vocero LLC, a communications and public affairs firm.

    Prior to his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Curbelo was the state director for U.S. Senator George LeMieux before serving on the school board for Miami-Dade County, overseeing the fourth largest school district in the country. After attending the University of Miami, he founded and for more than a decade managed a media and public affairs firm, doing work for a wide array of local and international companies as well as political campaigns and policy initiatives.

    “Now more than ever, policymakers need unbiased and evidence-based analysis to solve climate and energy challenges. EPIC and the University of Chicago are leaders in bringing data-driven analysis to the forefront to inform sensible, practical solutions to critical policy problems. I’m excited to join their efforts and share my insights gained from working in Congress to continue making a real impact on policy debates.”
    – Carlos Curbelo

    Heather McTeer Toney
    EPIC Policy Fellow 2021-2022; Former Southeast Regional EPA Administrator; VP of Community Engagement, Environmental Defense Fund; Senior Advisor, Moms Clean Air Force

    Heather McTeer Toney is the vice president of community engagement for the Environmental Defense Fund and a senior advisor for Moms Clean Air Force, two affiliated organizations that represent more than 3 million climate and environment allies committed to fighting climate change and protecting children from the dangers of air pollution. In 2014, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Southeast Region, where she served until 2017. There, McTeer Toney was responsible for protecting public health and the environment in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as six federally recognized tribes; making the region the most populated and diverse of the ten EPA regions.

    Prior to serving in the EPA, McTeer Toney was the first African-American, first female and youngest mayor of Greenville, Mississippi. She is an expert on environmental and climate justice with SheSource, a publication of the Women’s Media Center and is often called upon to train officials on equity in leadership, environment and climate. She has been featured as one of the “50 Most Remarkable Women in the World” by Essence; “Top Politician” in Marie Claire’s annual “Women On Top” awards; “Top 40 Lawyers Under 40” by the National Bar Association; and as one of the “Black Women In Politics That Rock!” by Black Entertainment Television.  McTeer Toney has appeared on numerous news outlets and has written for publications including New York Times and the Washington Post.  Most recently, Heather was one of the essayist featured in the breakout climate book of 2020, “All We Can Save,” essays from women at the forefront of the climate movement.

    McTeer Toney was also a Spring 2021 Pritzker Fellow for the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

    “EPIC and the University of Chicago share a history and mission of bringing research and data to bear on the greatest challenges of our times, and climate and environment issues certainly rank among them. I am delighted to be back at UChicago to explore the ways that research can inform policies to help all Americans join in the solutions to these critical challenges.”
    – Heather McTeer Toney

  • McKie Campbell
    EPIC Policy Fellow, 2018-2019; Former Staff Director, U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Managing Partner, BlueWater Strategies LLC

    McKie Campbell is managing partner of BlueWater Strategies LLC, a bipartisan business and governmental affairs consulting firm specializing in energy, environment, and natural resources issues. He has more than 30 years of governmental and private sector energy and natural resource experience. Before joining BlueWater, Campbell was the staff director of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee under Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R). In that role, Campbell worked with lawmakers from both parties in Congress and federal agencies on a wide variety of energy and natural resource issues and legislative efforts, including electric generation and transmission, hydropower, nuclear energy, oil and gas development, carbon capture and sequestration, mining development, land use and more. Prior to his tenure in Washington D.C., Campbell worked on natural resource policy in Alaska.

    “Energy policy has profound implications for both our economy and our environment. Too often, however, policy makers and advocates substitute partisan alignment for analysis,” says Campbell. “EPIC and the University of Chicago have become national leaders in cutting through the arguments and bringing parties together for careful fact and research based consideration. I’m honored by the invitation to be a visiting fellow.”

    Michael Catanzaro
    EPIC Policy Fellow 2019-2020; Former Special Assistant on Energy & Environmental Policy, The White House; President and Chief Policy Officer, CGCN Group

    Throughout his career, Michael Catanzaro has served in several senior energy and environmental policy positions in the federal government, including the House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, the EPA, and the White House.

    Before joining CGCN, Catanzaro served as Special Assistant to President Trump for Domestic Energy and Environmental Policy at the White House National Economic Council. In that role, he helped craft energy and environmental policy at multiple agencies and advised the president on the administration’s major policy decisions in that space. He previously served on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and on the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign as a top adviser on energy and environmental policy. He was Associate Director for Policy in the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Associate Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under former President George W. Bush. He also served as a senior adviser to then-Speaker John Boehner on energy and environmental policy.

    Now in the private sector, Catanzaro is a partner at CGCN Group, a policy consulting and public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C.

    Catanzaro received his B.A. from Fordham University in political science and philosophy, and an M.A. in Government from John Hopkins University.

    “EPIC and the University of Chicago have a long-time commitment to cutting through partisan divides to bring unbiased, empirical analysis to the forefront of our nation’s energy policy debates,” says Catanzaro. “I’m excited to join their efforts as a visiting fellow and share my insights gained from serving in Congress and the White House in hopes that our collaboration will lead to more informed policies.”

    Jeff Holmstead
    EPIC Policy Fellow, 2017-2018; Former Assistant Administrator, U.S. EPA Office of Air and Radiation; Partner, Bracewell, LLP

    Jeffrey Holmstead is a partner at Bracewell, LLP, where he heads the firm’s Environmental Strategies Group. During the George W. Bush Administration, he served as the Assistant Administrator of EPA for Air and Radiation. There, he was the architect of several of the Agency’s most important initiatives affecting energy sectors and energy use, including the Clean Air Interstate Rule, the Clean Air Diesel Rule, the Mercury Rule for power plants and the reform of the New Source Review program.

    Earlier, Holmstead served on the White House Staff of President George H.W. Bush. As Associate Counsel to the President, he was involved in the passage and implementation of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He now draws on his significant experience in policy development, administrative and legislative advocacy, and litigation to advise a wide range of energy companies on climate, Clean Air Act, and energy issues.

    “With the University of Chicago’s long-time commitment to economics and public policy, EPIC plays an important role in developing creative, market-based solutions to today’s most important energy and environmental challenges,” says Holmstead. “I’m eager to learn from the dedicated faculty and students at EPIC, and to share the lessons I have learned from more than 25 years of working on environmental and energy issues. I hope that this collaboration will lead to better informed regulations and policies that will allow us to reach our environmental goals and preserve access to affordable, reliable energy.”

    Melanie Kenderdine
    EPIC Policy Fellow, 2018-2019; Former Energy Counselor to the Secretary & Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, U.S. Department of Energy; Principal, Energy Future Initiatives

    Melanie Kenderdine is a principal at Energy Future Initiatives, a non-profit founded by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz that seeks to provide policymakers, industry leaders, NGOs and other leaders with analytically-based, unbiased policy options to advance a cleaner, safer, more affordable and more secure energy future. Kenderdine has held senior-level positions at the U.S. Department of Energy under two administrations, most recently, as the energy counselor to Sec. Moniz and director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. In this role, she wrote or edited two installments of the Quadrennial Energy Review, and provided key strategic advice on a broad range of issues across the department. Prior to that, Kenderdine was the Executive Director of the MIT Energy Initiative. She also held several posts in the Clinton administration, including senior policy advisor to the secretary, director of the Office of Policy, and deputy assistant secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to serving in the Clinton Administration, Kenderdine was chief of staff for New Mexico Congressman Bill Richardson. In 2014, she was named by the National Journal one of the top five women in Washington shaping energy policy and is the longest serving political appointee in DOE’s 40-year history.

    “Universities are our nation’s most credible source of unbiased and evidence-based research,” says Kenderdine. “EPIC and the University of Chicago are helping to lead the charge in bringing this vital research out of academia and into government where it can make a real difference in shaping successful policies. I’m looking forward to sharing my insights from my time in government to contribute to this important goal.”

    Susan Tierney
    EPIC Policy Fellow, 2017-2018; Former Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Energy; Senior Advisor, Analysis Group

    Susan Tierney is a highly-regarded expert on energy policy and economics, specializing in the electric and gas industries. As a former Assistant Secretary for Policy at DOE under President Bill Clinton, state cabinet officer for environmental affairs in Massachusetts, Massachusetts Public Utilities Commissioner, and a consultant advising clients in the public and private sectors, Tierney has deep and varied experience that allows her to provide invaluable knowledge on energy markets, as well as on economic and environmental regulation and strategy.

    Currently, Tierney serves as a Senior Advisor at Analysis Group, where she has consulted with companies, governments, nonprofits, and other organizations on issues including industry structure, market analyses, utility ratemaking and regulatory policy, clean-energy regulatory policy, wholesale and retail market design, energy infrastructure, and resource planning and procurement. She also chairs the External Advisory Board of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and serves on the board of directors of many organizations, including the World Resources Institute, Resources for the Future, the Energy Foundation, and ClimateWorks Foundation.

    “Washington and state houses throughout the country need unbiased and evidence-based research more than ever to provide the groundwork for rational and successful policies,” says Tierney. “EPIC and the University of Chicago support that kind of high-quality and relevant research, and are educating the smart, passionate leaders of the future who will need to turn that knowledge into action. I am so looking forward to spending time on campus and sharing with researchers and students the insights needed to make some real change in this difficult political environment.”

    Emily Wimberger
    EPIC Policy Fellow 2019-2020; Former Chief Economist, California Air Resources Board; Climate Economist, Rhodium Group

    Emily Wimberger is a Climate Economist at Rhodium Group working on the Energy & Climate team.

    Emily analyzes the economic impact of climate change and policy responses, with an emphasis on the transportation sector. She also provides policy outreach and support to the Climate Impact Lab, focusing on the application of the social cost of carbon.

    Prior to Rhodium, Emily served as the Chief Economist for the California Air Resources Board where she analyzed the economic impact of California’s portfolio of climate change and air quality policies and programs with a focus on carbon markets and transportation. Emily has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and received her Bachelor’s degree from Penn State.

    “Effective policy is supported by the best evidence from science and economics,” Wimberger says. “EPIC and the University of Chicago are at the forefront of a rigorous effort to center research insights in public debates on energy and environmental policy. I am excited and honored to be a Visiting Fellow in Policy Practice this academic year and look forward to participating in these important discussions with other experts, faculty, and students.”

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