EFCampus Research Assistants

Meet the 2020 EFCampus Research Assistants. EFCampus is the campus-based component of the Environmental Frontiers initiative, enabling students to use campus data as a case study for understanding a path to a more sustainable future. Undergraduate Research Assistants will work remotely in partnership with UChicago’s Offices of Facilities Services and Campus Sustainability, the Program on the Global Environment, and the Center for Robust Decision-making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP) on projects analyzing energy system data to consider opportunities to create energy-savings and reduce excess consumption on campus and beyond.

Shopnavo Biswas

Shopnavo Biswas

Laboratory Building Energy Analysis

Shopnavo Biswas is a rising third-year studying computational & applied math, economics, and physics. He is interested in using data science techniques to reveal empirical patterns, turning them into actionable insights to guide environmental policy. Shopnavo has researched satellite imagery machine learning techniques at the Energy Policy Institute in Chicago and long-term US productivity growth at the Booth School of Business. In the future, he hopes to bridge the communication divide between policymakers and scientists to synthesize policy that is effective and practical. Shopnavo is originally from Fremont, CA. In his free time he runs for the varsity cross country and track teams, debates carbon taxes, and reads The New Yorker.

Eric Chen

Eric Chen

Laboratory Building Energy Analysis

Eric Chen is a rising fourth-year double majoring in Biology and Chemistry. Eric is interested in studying energy usage in order to reduce the footprint of laboratory research. This stems from his biological research experiences in evolutionary and developmental systems. He is currently working in the Edwin Munro laboratory at UChicago to study the dynamics of cell polarization in the C. elegans zygote. Previously Eric studied insect wing evolution at the Marine Biological Laboratory, and the genomics of long-lived mammal species at UChicago. Eric’s skills include data analysis and computational modeling, as well as molecular biology techniques. He is also a coxswain on the UChicago Crew Team.

Gillian Gagnard

Gillian Gagnard

Water Efficiency Assessment

Gillian is a rising fourth-year business economics major and molecular engineering minor at the University of Chicago. She is interested in how conservation and green infrastructure can create a more promising future for our most important natural resource: water. Using data analytics, Gillian is excited to see where water usage can be reduced to have the most impact on our campus. This summer, she is working part-time for Klir, a start-up developing a modular SAAS platform that centralizes water utilities’ workflows and data for environmental regulation, compliance, and quality. She is a member of the varsity swimming team and enjoys coaching track, swimming at the point, and binging Netflix in her spare time.  Gillian hopes to utilize her experience this summer to enter the sustainability industry after graduation.

Dinesh Das Gupta

Dinesh Das Gupta

LEED Building Performance Benchmarking

Dinesh is a rising third-year pursuing a BA/Masters in Public Policy with a specialization in Environmental Policy. As a College Council Representative for the Class of 2022, he has advocated for improving UChicago’s sustainability with students, staff, faculty, and members of the board of trustees. Dinesh co-founded UChicago Environmental Action, a student-group that has helped establish the recently announced Green Fund. He interned for The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi, helping organize the 2018 World Sustainable Development Summit.  He has also worked for the Institute for International Finance, Paulette Jordan’s 2018 campaign for Governor of Idaho, and Marcus Goodwin’s 2018 campaign for DC Council at-Large. Dinesh hails from Washington, DC.

Lily Mansfield

Lily Mansfield

LEED Building Performance Benchmarking

Lily is a third-year undergraduate physics major and statistics minor at the University of Chicago. Her research interests lie in how data science can lead the way to impactful insights and meaningful change to benefit the environment. Lily has spent time working in physics labs during her undergraduate career, developing strong research skills. Recently, she has started work investigating how weather variables impact the spread of COVID-19. Lily is very excited to be working with the Mansueto Institute this summer on benchmarking UChicago LEED buildings. She is interested in learning more data analysis techniques and applying skills learned in the classroom to data affecting the lives of UChicago students.
Kimika Padilla

Kimika Padilla

Laboratory Building Energy Analysis

Kimika Padilla is a recent graduate of  the University of Chicago who double-majored in Environmental & Urban Studies and Public Policy. In August, she will start a full-time role at McKinsey & Company’s Chicago office. Kimika is passionate about three causes: education, homelessness, and the environment. She has served three homelessness shelter nonprofits, including ChicagoHOPES, LifeMoves, and Fundación Catalina Muñoz. During her college career, she worked for the Energy Policy Institute and the Program on the Global Environment on campus. Kimika also chaired the Committee on Campus Sustainability under Student Government, a student group dedicated to increasing advocacy, awareness, and action around sustainability at the University of Chicago. She aspires to work in the private sector implementing sustainable business practices. In her free time, she enjoys food, fitness, and the outdoors.

Ruby Rorty

Ruby Rorty

Water Efficiency Assessment

Ruby Rorty is a rising third-year majoring in Economics and Environmental Studies. She is interested in environmental policy and decision-making, as well as the economics of ecosystem services. She has researched plastic pollution in Cape Cod salt marshes with Dr. Ivan Valiela at the Marine Biological Laboratory and currently studies the human health impacts of plastic pollution under Professor Amir Jina at the Harris School of Public Policy. On campus, she is the head editor of the Viewpoints section at The Chicago Maroon and leads sustainability research at the Paul Douglas Institute. In her free time, she climbs trees, listens to policy podcasts, and works with environmental organizations, including ThinkOcean Global and the Wild Hometown Movement.

Jasmina Scekic

Jasmina Scekic

LEED Building Performance Benchmarking

Jasmina is a rising third-year majoring in mathematics with a minor in statistics. She has previously worked on research in paleontology and, most recently, computational biology. She is interested in applying her math background to sustainability projects as well as other environmental and urban issues.

Mark Siedentopf

Mark Siedentopf

LEED Building Performance Benchmarking

Mark is a first-year Odyssey Scholar at the College. Prior to coming to the University of Chicago, Mark was actively involved in the sustainability program at the Culver Academies where he had the privilege of working on multiple projects and gaining valuable applied experience. He is passionate about improving the sustainability of his local community and enjoys taking creative approaches to finding new solutions. Mark looks forward to new challenges and developing new skills that he can apply toward future projects.