Introducing the Risk Center’s 2020-21 Undergraduate Fellows

As the fall 2020 semester begins, the Wharton Risk Center is pleased to welcome our 2020-21 inaugural cohort of Undergraduate Fellows!  These 20 highly motivated undergraduate upperclassmen were selected from a pool of over 30 competitive applicants.  (The Undergraduate Fellows Program follows our successful student fellows program pilot during the 2019-20 academic year.)

The goal of the Undergraduate Fellows Program is to complement students’ academic experiences at Penn by providing education, career development, and practical engagement on climate risk management, disaster resilience, and sustainability topics that are relevant to private and public sector stakeholders. Through the program, the Risk Center is seeking to build an interdisciplinary community of students interested in risk management and resilience.

Students come from a range of disciplines with the largest concentration majoring in economics, as well as those majoring or double majoring in fields including political science, history, sociology, philosophy, environmental science, environmental studies, biology, psychology, and engineering.

Undergraduate Fellows will develop a working knowledge of real-world challenges and solutions in climate risk management and public policy, gain exposure to academic work on disaster risk management and risk finance, become familiar with career options in climate risk management and sustainability fields, and network with other students, faculty, and professionals.

This fall, our Undergraduate Fellows will attend a virtual lunchtime seminar every other week throughout the semester. Undergraduate fellows are offered direct interaction with Risk Center experts and distinguished visitors through lectures and discussions in the bi-weekly seminar on a wide range of climate risk management, resilience, and sustainability challenges and emerging solutions. Topics include, for example, risk communication and decision-making, risk transfer and the role of insurance in coastal adaptation, public and private climate governance, disaster policy, economics of biodiversity, climate and politics, and development finance and climate change.

In the spring semester, the Undergraduate Fellows will each produce a short-written product based on background research undertaken in the winter and spring.  Stay tuned to read their contributions!

2020-21 Undergraduate Fellows:

Sarfraz Ahmed is a senior at the Wharton School majoring in Economics with a concentration in finance and strategic management and minoring in Art History.  Sarfraz is interested in the growing influence of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors on corporate governance and better understanding long term risks.

Katelin Collier is a junior in the School of Arts & Sciences majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with a concentration in choice and behavior and minoring in Cognitive Science.  Katie is interested in learning about how to address the gap in society’s ability to effectively communicate climate data to policymakers in a way that facilitates sound decision-making; linkage between vulnerabilities in our food production-supply chain and what we eat; and how to better influence outcomes that have the highest probability of reducing the impacts of climate change.

Marina Dauer is a junior in the School of Arts & Sciences double majoring in Environmental Studies and Political Science, a University Scholar, and a second year Undergraduate Fellow at the Wharton Risk Center. Marina is interested in innovative risk transfer solutions; green infrastructure; the impact of worsening extreme weather; and policies addressing environmental injustice.

Robert Fetell is a senior in the School of Arts & Sciences majoring in Earth Science with a concentration in geology.  He has sub-matriculated into the M.Sc. of Applied Geosciences and Engineering Geology.  Robert is interested in coastal resilience, adaptative engineering, and disaster management; approaches to building public-private sector partnerships and public policy solutions; and adaptive solutions for infrastructure.

Matthew Fouts is a senior in the School of Arts & Sciences double majoring in Earth Science and Psychology.   Matt is interested in combining his education in the sciences with the practical applications of policy and risk management; learning how people make decisions pertaining to climate risks they face; and learning about sustainable waste management.

Victoria Gallivan is a senior at the Wharton School majoring in Economics with concentrations in health care management and policy and operations, information, and decisions.  Vicky is interested in how to incentivize people to adopt more sustainable practices through behavioral economics and learning about agricultural climate change solutions.

Beverlye Gedeon is a senior at the Wharton School majoring in Economics with concentrations in finance, statistics, and public policy.  Beverlye is interested in learning about risk finance and risk reduction strategies; how to design disaster insurance, especially in developing countries; and how to reinforce public-private partnerships in difficult times to support large corporations and SMEs towards economic recovery.

Emma Glasser is a junior in the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences and the School of Arts & Sciences double majoring in Materials Science and Engineering and Earth Science; she is in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER).  Emma is interested in climate risk management and policies that can help vulnerable communities; impacts of climate disasters on communities; and the psychology behind willingness to engage in climate actions.

Ria Jain is a junior at the Wharton School majoring in Economics with concentrations in statistics and finance and minoring in Political Science.  Ria is interested in designing policies for ‘just transitions’ from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy—from fossil fuels to renewables—in communities historically dependent on jobs based in the fossil fuel industry; and developing a deeper understanding of how the public and private sectors can effectively mitigate, prepare for, and manage climate risks and disasters.

Trae Jordan is a senior at the Wharton School majoring in Economics with a concentration in business economics and public policy and minoring in Urban Real Estate and Development; he is also starting the Masters of City Planning.  Trae is interested in emergency management; urban climate resilience; climate migration; and how risk is framed, planned for, managed, and mitigated.

Victoria Li is a junior in the School of Arts & Sciences majoring in Biology with a concentration in mathematical biology and minoring in Statistics and Mathematics.  Vicky is interested in the effects of climate risk, management, and resilience; geo-engineering; and carbon emission reductions.

Yani Li is a junior at the Wharton School majoring in Economics with concentrations in finance and risk management.  Yani is interested in sustainable development; creating financially-viable solutions for businesses facing climate-related risks; and the impacts of climate change on the agricultural commodities market.

Paul Lin is a senior in the School of Arts & Sciences majoring in Earth Science with a concentration in environmental science and minoring in Computer Science.  Paul is interested in the role of geospatial tech in climate and risk management studies; learning how scientists and policy makers can better take advantage and apply such geospatial technological advancements to better understand and prepare for future climate issues; researching the effects of climate change on national security; and learning about the challenges, responses, and strategies of climate risk management.

Maeve Masterson is a junior in the School of Arts & Sciences majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in environmental management and sustainability, minoring in Economic Policy, and a second year Undergraduate Fellow at the Wharton Risk Center.  Maeve is interested in how to mitigate the effects of climate change, and the injustices faced by largely marginalized, vulnerable communities through better climate risk management across the private and public sectors.

Alison Millman is a senior in the School of Arts & Sciences majoring in Philosophy, Policy, and Economics with a concentration in environmental governance and minoring in Sustainability and Environmental Management.  Alison is interested in the role of corporate environmental initiatives within mitigation spaces; disaster insurance and financing recovery; and climate mitigation and adaptation more broadly.

Lucy Popko is a senior in the School of Arts & Sciences majoring in Political Science with a concentration in political economy and minoring in Spanish Language and Hispanic Studies.  Lucy is interested in disaster preparedness; flood mitigation and risk calculation for insurance premiums; and sustainable agriculture.

Edward Stevens IV is a senior in the School of Arts & Sciences majoring in Sociology and Criminology.  Edward is interested in emergency management, disaster preparedness, and business resilience; and how we, as a nation, can prepare communities struggling with poverty for natural disasters and make it so that these communities can become more resilient and successfully return from a crisis.

Ashmit Vyas is a junior in the School of Arts & Sciences majoring in Economics and in the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program.  Ashmit is interested in learning about ways in which government can work with firms to develop sustainable growth strategies; how world leaders can be incentivized to balance competing financial and environmental interests; and how stakeholders from the private sector influence attempt to curb climate change.

Hiyori Yoshida is a senior in the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences and at the Wharton School double majoring in Engineering and Economics with a concentration in business analytics; she is in the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology.  She has started an M.Sc. in Engineering in Computer Science.  Hiyori is interested in learning about investing capital in climate change solutions.

Alexandru Zanca is a senior at the Wharton School majoring in Economics with a concentration in business economics and public policy and minors in Data Science and History.  Alex is interested in credit rating risk; developing world climate change preparedness; and risk and public policy.

For more information on the Wharton Risk Center’s Undergraduate Fellows Program, please see the program page