Meet Professor Alice Tianbo Zhang Zhang teaches Statistics for Economics and Introduction to Economics, and she is interested in developing courses on the economics of climate change, migration and gender.
1. What attracted you to Washington and Lee University?
Stellar students and supportive colleagues in the economics department. I am also drawn by W&L’s unique and complex history and its mission to inspire and equip young minds to serve the nation and the world. I am excited to be joining a historical institution at an important juncture in time when it is pivoting towards the future.
2. What will you be teaching?
I will be teaching Statistics for Economics and Introduction to Economics for the 2020-2021 academic year. Going forward, I am interested in developing environmental and development economics courses around the topics of energy, climate change, migration, gender and China.
3. What do your research interests lie? How did these develop?
I am an environmental economist, passionate about environmental and social justice issues. My research seeks to improve our understanding of how large-scale natural and social processes, such as anthropogenic climate change, natural disasters and how forced migration affects economic development and human welfare. I am especially interested in using cutting-edge data and economic models to address the distributional implications of government policies and provide practical solutions for the challenges of sustainability. Currently, I am researching the social cost of dams, the impact on natural disasters and the gender difference in energy access.
4. Besides your work, what’s something that you’re passionate about?
I am passionate about making a positive impact on the world and those around me. In my spare time, I like road trips, photography and spending time with family.
5. What’s on your must-read or must-watch list?
Books by C.S Lewis.
6. What is the hardest lesson you had to learn as a student?
This quote by Winston Churchill: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” Learning to have that courage is the hardest and most important lesson I have learned in college and graduate school. Sometimes the lowest moments of our lives can be blessings in disguise and the launch pads for us to become better versions of ourselves. Be bold, be curious, keep on fighting for what is right. Remember, it is the courage to continue that counts.
7. Is there anything I didn’t mention that you would like to add?
If you are a student passionate about quantitative social science research and are interested in working together, please get in touch!
About Professor Alice Zhang
Zhang is an assistant professor of economics at Washington and Lee University.
She earned her doctorate from Columbia University and her bachelor’s from U.C. Berkeley. Zhang is a fellow at the Center for Development Economics and Policy and a research affiliate at the Earth Institute’s Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management at Columbia University.
Prior to joining W&L, she was a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University.
Her research interests are at the intersection of environmental and development economics. She uses data and methods from economics, data science and climate science to understand the impact of environmental change on economic development and human welfare.