Rylee is a sophomore studying economics and environmental science. She is interested in the economic effects of environmental policies and sustainable solutions to economic development.
In March 2023, Rylee shared with us what the Cohen Research Award has meant to her, and for her interest in the field:
The Harvey Cohen Fellowship has given me the opportunity to engage with research topics that interest me and has been a source of personal and professional growth. One of the larger projects I have been a part of at PEEL investigated how the deviation between the preferences and placements of bureaucrats in the Pakistani civil service impacted their long-run performance at work in the public sector. This project was led by my developmental economics professor last semester, Dr. Tourek, allowing me to apply what I was learning in class to authentic research and to discover my passion for this subfield of economics.
More recently, I have been working with Dr. Tourek on a project seeking to quantify the effectiveness of rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines in Ghana, conditions which are leading causes of mortality for Children under 5 in developing nations. In working on this project, I have been researching variables that impacted the prevalence of these illnesses prior to the introduction of these vaccines in Ghana in 2012, as well as the educational outcomes and health-related implications for affected children and how this has evolved in recent years.
The variety of the scope of research done at PEEL has helped me cultivate a well-rounded understanding of research design and methodology, and has allowed me to explore different career interests. Working alongside the researchers as a Cohen Fellow continually makes PEEL a powerful learning environment and has been very enriching to my undergraduate experience at Pitt.