Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, the College and the Harris School; Director, EPIC and Becker-Friedman Institute
Michael Greenstone is the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics, the College, and the Harris School, as well as the Director of the Becker Friedman Institute and the interdisciplinary Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. He previously served as the Chief Economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, where he co-led the development of the United States Government’s social cost of carbon. Greenstone also directed The Hamilton Project, which studies policies to promote economic growth, and has since joined its Advisory Council. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the Econometric Society, and a former editor of the Journal of Political Economy. Before coming to the University of Chicago, Greenstone was the 3M Professor of Environmental Economics at MIT.
Greenstone’s research, which has influenced policy globally, is largely focused on uncovering the benefits and costs of environmental quality and society’s energy choices. His current work is particularly focused on testing innovative ways to increase energy access and improve the efficiency of environmental regulations around the world. Additionally, he is producing empirically grounded estimates of the local and global impacts of climate change as a co-director of the Climate Impact Lab. He also created the Air Quality Life Index™ that provides a measure of the gain in life expectancy communities would experience if their particulates air pollution concentrations are brought into compliance with global or national standards.
Greenstone received a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University and a BA in economics with High Honors from Swarthmore College.
Executive Director (EPIC)
Sam Ori is the Executive Director at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC). From 2013 to 2015, he served as Executive Vice President at Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), a Washington, DC-based organization dedicated to reducing American oil dependence in order to enhance economic and national security. From 2007 to 2013, Sam led SAFE’s policy work on a variety of topics, ranging from global oil and natural gas markets to transportation technology. Prior to joining SAFE, Sam spent four years working in the federal government at the Broadcasting Board of Governors and Department of State, including at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India.
Christa Hasenkopf is the Director of Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) and Air Quality Programs at EPIC. Her career focuses on efforts that open up information, resources, and networks so that more people in more places can help make the air they breathe healthier. Previously, she co-founded and was the CEO of OpenAQ, an environmental tech non-profit, which fosters a global community around the world’s largest open database of air quality information. She has also served as the Chief Air Pollution Advisor to the Office of Medical Services at the US Department of State and in multiple positions at the US Agency for International Development. Hasenkopf received a PhD in Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences from the University of Colorado and a BS in Astronomy & Astrophysics from The Pennsylvania State University.
Vicki Ekstrom High
Senior Director, Communications & External Engagement (EPIC)
Vicki Ekstrom High is the Senior Director for Communications and External Engagement for EPIC. Prior to coming to the University of Chicago, Vicki created and led the media and public relations efforts for the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. She was also a speechwriter for the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, and a Press Secretary for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship under the chairmanships of Senators Mary Landrieu and John Kerry. Vicki started her career in Washington D.C. as the national beat reporter for the Bangor Daily News.
Ashirbad S. Raha
Director of Communications, EPIC India
Ashirbad directs the communications strategy for EPIC India and leads the institutional efforts of simplifying research for mass consumption through targeted outreach, campaigns, media engagement, social media marketing, and public events.
A former journalist, over the last 13 years he has spent his time working with the media, international nonprofits, humanitarian agencies, and research groups. His expertise in strategic communication and stakeholder engagement comes in from his different assignments in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives among others.
Aarsh Batra is the Research Associate for Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) at EPIC. He joined EPIC India as a Research Intern in 2021 and since then he has worked on a couple of air pollution themed projects. Prior to joining EPIC India, Aarsh was working as a RA in a Health Economics setup. He loves talking about Code, Mathematics and Data and enjoys sculpting, sketching and writing about Polyhedra. He also founded the Polyhedra Appreciation Society. Aarsh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Delhi University and is based in Ghaziabad.
Research & Policy Manager, AQLI
Nishka Sharma is the Research & Policy Manager of Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) and Air Quality Programs at EPIC. Prior to joining AQLI, Nishka was a Predoctoral Fellow at the Climate Impact Lab where she worked at the intersection of climate change and economic development. She graduated with a Master’s in International and Development Economics from Yale University and a Bachelor’s in Economics from Shiv Nadar University. She enjoys going on hikes, painting and reading in her leisure time.
Communications and Digital Marketing Manager (EPIC)
Mollie is the Communications and Digital Marketing Manager for EPIC. Prior to coming to the University of Chicago, Mollie led digital marketing efforts at the World Resources Institute’s climate, forests, and food programs. As a student, Mollie supported several communications teams including the Robert R. McCormick Foundation at Cantigny Park, HAVI, and the University of Galway’s press office. She earned her B.A. in Journalism, Spanish, and Political Science & Sociology at the University of Galway. She also holds an M.S. in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science.