The Carolyn Harper Fund and Fellowship

The Carolyn Harper Fund and Fellowship is an active scholarly awards program, administered by the Chair of the Department of Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It was established in 1993 following the death of Professor Carolyn Harper, who as a student and teacher had been affiliated with the department for more than a decade.

Each year the Department of Resource Economics has honored one or two graduate students who best exemplify the qualities that Carolyn Harper had in such abundance: scholarly achievement, concern for social and environmental issues, and racial and gender justice. This is done in the Department's conference room, under the watchful eye of Carolyn's photograph that hangs there, and attended by all faculty and graduate students. It is a special time for us to remember Carolyn collectively, as we do throughout the year individually.

Give to the Carolyn Harper Memorial Fellowship

To make a contribution, call the Development Office at 866-450-UMASS or visit the secure UMass Amherst website to contribute online. Be sure to designate that your gift be allocated to the Carolyn Harper Memorial Fellowship in the Resource Economics Department.

(If giving onine, select the 'Other' option under Fund Designation and enter "Carolyn Harper Memorial Fellowship--Resource Economics" in the box below.) Thank you!

Harper Fellowship Recipients:

2019: Manuel Enrique Estay Montecinos joined us in the Fall of 2016 from the University of Concepcion in Chile, where he earned a M.Sc. in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics.  Manuel also joined us with significant teaching experience from the University of Concepcion including having taught courses in Econometrics, Environmental Valuation and Microeconomics.  He is also a former student of Carlos Chavez who won the Carolyn Harper award in 1997.  His research focuses on aquaculture in Chile and he is doing both theoretical and applied work in this area.  His research questions surround tradeoffs of how closely aquaculture sites should be located to one another.  He is also working on a paper regarding the prevalence of the drug ban problem in India.  Manuel is a particularly diligent, resourceful and thorough researcher and these traits coupled with his concern for the well-being of his homeland recommend him strongly for the Carolyn Harper Award.  Congratulations Manuel!

2019: Felipe Quezada Escalona joined us in the Fall of 2016 from the University of Concepcion in Chile where he earned an M.Sc. in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics.  Felipe is a former student of Carlos Chavez who won the Carolyn Harper Award in 1997.  His research interests center around the management of common pool resources in developing countries, particularly TURFs in Chile. He uses multiple methodologies in his research including theoretical modeling, lab experiments, lab-in-the-field experiments and empirical research with field data.  One current project investigates the endogenous formation of common pool resource groups who must also cooperate to defend their resources from poaching.  Another project uses field data to investigate how monitoring and enforcement efforts influence the health of the Chilean abalone fishery. Felipe has presented his work at numerous academic conferences and won a Best Paper Award from the journal Aquaculture Economics and Management!  Felipe has proven to be an excellent researcher was well as an active and important member of the ResEc community.  His commitment to understanding the management of common pool resources in Chile coupled with his excellence in research make him a great choice for the Carolyn Harper Award.  Congratulations Felipe!

2018: Jayash Paudel is one of our top young scholars.  His advisor Christine Crago hails his work ethic, resourcefulness, and independence.  His presentation style rivals those of our polished faculty.  As a PhD student, he has made 26 presentations, including 12 during 2018.  He has 5 publications including 3 during his time here at UMass.

Carolyn cared deeply about gender and racial justice.  Jayash has conducted research on these issues and has published papers: on natural disasters and educational outcomes; community forests, fuelwood use and food consumption; and women’s empowerment in Nepal.

Jayash has a number of honors and awards including scholarships, invitations, and poster awards. He was a finalist in the UMass Three Minute Thesis Competition, a testimony to his presentation skills. He has been a consultant for the UMass Institute of Social Science Research (ISSR) and has given 14 workshops on statistical software use through ISSR. He was an outstanding TA helping us redesign our stats course when he first arrived and was the instructor of record for our RAP Introductory Statistics course.

Jayash’s current research with Dr. Crago aligns very closely with Carolyn’s. During her time here at UMass she conducted research on water quality and the presence of fertilizers in our groundwater. Jayash’s current research on agricultural adaptation to climate change and the impacts on water quality is closely related.  His dissertation has three related papers at the nexus of agriculture, the environment, and water quality.  And, he has a great list of 6 “ongoing research projects.”  If Jayash stays here any longer, we’ll have to consider him for tenure and promotion!

Jayash is clearly a most deserving recipient of the Carolyn Harper Fellowship Award.  Congratulation Jayash.

2017: Kelly Hellman joined the Resource Economics department as a PhD student in 2012 after completing double undergraduate majors (both with highest honors) in Economics and Environmental Science and an M.S. in Environmental Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Kelly has been a highly regarded teaching assistant receiving the Vijay Bhagavan Teaching Assistant of Distinction Award in 2015 and contributing significantly to the redesign of the statistics curriculum in the department as part of two course redesign teams. Kelly has also been the teacher of record for introductory statistics in the Honors College and introductory microeconomics in the University’s RAP program. As a teacher she has been described as "demanding", "tireless", "incredibly patient" and "kind". Kelly has regularly gone well beyond the roles normally taken on by graduate students in regard to departmental service as exemplified by her membership position on a (successful) hiring committee for a lecturer position. She served as a research assistant at UMass and RIT, leading to coauthorships in both cases and has developed her own research agenda addressing human contributions and responses to environmental risks ranging from flooding, to oil spills, to air pollution. Her scholarly work continues to directly engage with important economic, environmental, and social issues. Her research has already been published in the journal of Ecological Economics and landed her a post-doctoral position at the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. 

Kelly's dedication to scholarly advancement and student service in the UMass community will continue, as she has accepted a faculty position at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. At our sister institution, there is little doubt that Kelly will continue the research, teaching, and service that has convincingly qualified her as a recipient of the Carolyn Harper Award this year.

2017: Irene Mussio is a Fulbright grant recipient and a fifth year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department. In keeping with Carolyn Harper’s concern for social issues and justice, Irene is interested in the factors that impact risk preferences as well as the relationship between social aspects of risk and healthy decision making. This is a timely and important topic—both for individuals who are facing health-related decisions and for families, where parents are making decisions for their children or adult children are making health-related decisions for their elderly parents.

While our department does have several researchers who work in behavioral/experimental economics and environmental health (one of which is a member of Irene’s committee), we do not have a concentration in health economics. Irene has shown a great deal of independence, seeking out outside mentors and networking opportunities in this research community in order to supplement the specializations in our department. Examples include connections she has made at the Center for the Economic Analysis of Risk at Georgia State University and her upcoming CINCH Fellowship at the University of Duisburg Essen.

In Irene’s job market paper, “An (un)healthy social dilemma: using normative messaging to increase flu vaccinations,” she independently designed and implemented a public health campaign in conjunction with UMass Health Services. She managed the entire campaign – including meeting with and achieving buy-in from all of the relevant departments and organizations on campus. She extends the model of warm glow to incorporate the impact of messages on either the private or the public benefit of the vaccine in a manner similar to identity priming impacting utility. She then uses the experimental data from the public health campaign to examine the impact of different risk messaging—focusing on risks to self, others, or both—on the willingness to get a flu vaccine. She finds that social messaging is positively related to the probability of getting a flu shot. That is, individuals who see the ‘protect yourself and the community’ messages are more willing to get a flu shot than those who see only the community-messages or the self-messages. However, this result is predominantly driven by the response of women.

In addition to her research, Irene has been an outstanding teaching assistant winning the Vijay Bhagavan Teaching Assistant of Distinction Award in 2014. She has taught our University RAP course, Consumer in Society, several times with excellent ratings as well as the math camp for entering graduate students. She is an active member of the Department contributing in many ways – we are delighted to recognize her scholarship and citizenship with this award.

2016: Lawrence De Geest (PhD Candidate) is the 2016 Carolyn Harper Fellowship Award winner. Lawrence joined us from River Forest, Illinois, but is originally from Belgium. Lawrence is completing his dissertation: “Three Essays on Social Dilemmas with Strategic External Threats.” Lawrence has been a tremendous contributor to the Department during his tenure here. Lawrence has worked as a teaching assistant for both environmental economics and natural resource economics with his dissertation advisor, Professor John Stranlund. He developed an online environmental economics course and taught the course during the 2014 and 2015 summer sessions. During fall semesters of 2015 and 2016, Lawrence taught three sections of the new first year seminars for majors in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS). Lawrence worked with the SBS Dean’s office to develop materials for the first year seminars and brought a number of Resource Economics issues forward. He has also worked with the SBS Dean’s office to analyze teaching data important to strategic planning for the college and departments. Lawrence has taken the initiative to organize graduate student meetings to discuss their dissertation research and has worked with our environmental economics search committees organizing meetings with our students and assembling graduate student feedback on candidates. Lawrence has also taught our large lecture section of environmental economics during spring semesters 2016 and 2017. Lawrence has contributed to the Department’s teaching mission beyond what is expected; he has developed an outstanding teaching dossier that reflects his scholarship and strong sense of community.  

Carolyn would be delighted and proud of Lawrence’s research that considers ways to deter poaching and protect common-pool resources. Lawrence has papers under review, accepted for presentation and a number in preparation. In addition to his focus on environmental economics research, Lawrence shares Carolyn’s concerns about developing countries and her love of music! I think Carolyn would be delighted to learn that Lawrence keeps guitars and an amplifier in his office, and was even willing to haul an upright piano to the fourth floor of Stockbridge Hall.  Thank you Lawrence for your many valuable contributions, and your character, which have enriched the Department.  Congratulations! 

2015: Abdul Kidwai (PhD Candidate)The 2015 Harper Award winner is Abdul Kidwai.  Abdul is from Aligarh, India, and is working on his dissertation here at UMass. Abul has a BA in Economics from Aligarh Muslim University and an MA in Development Studies from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Abul has been here studying for the PhD degree since September, 2012. Adbul earned several awards for his scholarship. In 2009, he was awarded the Young Scholar Award by the Reserve Bank of India. He received the Silver Medal in 2011 for being second in his class at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and he was awarded the 2012 Sir Syed Emerging Scholar Award by the Aligarh Alumni Association. During his tenure here at UMass, Abdul has been awarded a Graduate School Dissertation Grant by the University of Massachsuetts Graduate School and this winter he was awarded a competitive external grant from the Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental Research.

Abdul exemplifies the characteristics we admired in Carolyn that we want to honor each year: scholarly achievement, concern for social and environmental issues, and racial and gender justice. Abdul is one of our top scholars who is now focused on completing his PhD dissertation on Uncertain Returns from Threshold Public Goods applying experimental economic methods. Abdul’s research is very close to those issues that were so important to Carolyn. Abdul has twice taught one of our sections of Hunger in a Global Economy (2014 and 2015). His teaching evaluations are outstanding – he has quickly become one of our top instructors. His students acknowledge the great concern he shows for his students and he makes great effort in his teaching to bring global issues of equity and justice to students. Students also appreciate Abdul’s efforts to challenge them to think critically about these issues – Abdul focuses his teaching on taking learning to a higher level!  Abdul has been an outstanding member of our Resource Economics community. He has always been quick to volunteer for tasks around the Department and he has played an important role in helping other researchers conduct experiments in the Cleve E. Willis Experimental Economics Laboratory. Abdul is a wonderful addition to our list of Carolyn Harper Fellowship Award winners. Congratulations Abdul! 

2014: Jillann Fitzsimmons. It is completely fitting that our Harper Award winner this year is from Carolyn’s home town of Greenfield, Massachusetts! Jill lives in Greenfield with her husband Josh Watson and their son Robert (Bertie – just 4 months old). Jill earned a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master’s degree in Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University. Jill worked for the Franklin County Community Development Corporation as the Extended Season Farm to Institution Project Manager before joining us.

Jill exemplifies the characteristics we admired in Carolyn and want to honor each year. Jill is an excellent scholar who is now focused on completing her PhD dissertation in industrial organization economics with a focus on demand for food and food supply channels. Jill has been a very active researcher during her tenure in the Department and her research has received national and international attention. Jill received a 2014 national award for her research from the Institutional and Behavioral Economics Section of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA). She presented her work at the 2014 AAEA national conference and at the 2015 European Agricultural Economics conference Consumer Behavior in a Changing World: Food, Culture and Society in Naples, Italy. A part of her dissertation research has focused on farm to institution markets and demonstrates her deep concern about the environment and society. Her research will provide information to enhance farm to institution markets, which in turn can help preserve agriculture in the Commonwealth, improve farmer welfare and increase the supply of local foods to schools. Jill continues our tradition of finding outstanding young scholars to honor Carolyn’s memory. We are very proud to award the Carolyn Harper Fellowship to Jill. Congratulations Jill! 

2013: Hongli Wei. Hongli is from Chongqing, China, a city with a long history and famous for its spicy hot pot. Hongli earned her Bachelor’s degree of economics at Sichuan University in 2008 and graduated from WISE (The Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics), Xiamen University, with a master’s degree of economics in 2011. Hongli joined the Department fall 2012, when she enrolled in the MS in Resource Economics. This past year, Hongli was accepted into the PhD program in Resource Economics. Hongli is primarily interested in applied econometrics and industrial organization and will work with Emily Wang on her dissertation. Hongli has distinguished herself as a top scholar in the Department’s PhD program and recently distinguished herself on the PhD qualifying exam in econometrics. Hongli has been an outstanding teaching assistant in statistics and econometrics and works willingly with students to help them understand material. She rises to volunteer whenever help is needed on any project in the Department and her warm and pleasant personality has been an infectious presence in Resource Economics since she joined. We are delighted to be able to recognize her with the Carolyn Harper Award. She is truly deserving.

2012: Francesca Colantuoni. Francesca joined us from Napoli, Italy, in 2009. Francesca completed her BS degree in Agricultural Sciences and Technology and her MS degree in Agricultural Economics and Policy in Italy before joining us. Upon joining our department, Francesca began studying toward a Ph.D. with a major field in Industrial Organization, and a minor field in Applied Econometrics. Francesca shares interests with Carolyn through her research on local foods and food policy. She has published research on attitudes towards Community Supported Agriculture and marketing local foods in Italy. Her current research addresses the impacts of taxes on soft drink consumption, important research for policymakers considering ways to address obesity across the US. Francesca has been a valued member of our Resource Economics family through her excellent teaching, serving on the graduate studies committee and a search committee, providing yummy baked goods and carrying furniture on moving days. She is one of our warmest and finest department citizens, a great choice for this wonderful tradition that honors our fine scholars and citizens. Award Ceremony document

2011: Christopher BurnsChris joined the Ph.D. program in 2009 after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education from the College of New Jersey in 2005. While this is not a typical background, Chris has a passion for environmental and resource economics, and more specifically how distorted markets have led to unsustainable growth in many areas of our economy. He developed this passion by reading countless books and New York Times opinion pieces, by working as a Field Organizer for U.S. PIRG where he helped promote renewable energy as practical means of electrifying the grid, and eventually by taking courses in preparation for a graduate degree in economics. For his Ph.D. dissertation, Chris is interested in the management of fisheries. He is examining whether the purported benefits of individual tradable quotas such as reduced excess capacity, maximization of revenues for participants, and reduced overharvesting, still hold under conditions of stock uncertainty and imperfect enforcement. He will analyze the effect of those real world complexities in a laboratory setting. Chris is one the finest citizens of the department, being always willing to help faculty members in any way he can.

2010: César Viteri Mejía. César is completing his Ph.D., with his dissertation focused on the impacts of tourism on the Galapagos Islands. His work is funded through a competitive grant from the Latin American and Caribbean Environmental Economics Program. César is Ecuadorian; he earned his Master’s degree at the Universidad de Concepción in Chile. César has been active in presenting his work at conferences such as the World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists in Montreal and the Economics and Environment Network Symposium in Australia. He has taught microeconomics in the Sustainability Residential Academic Program at UMass Amherst.

2010: David Timmons. David is completing his Ph.D., with his dissertation focused on the potential supply and cost of cellulosic biomass energy crops in western Massachusetts. He earned his M.S. degree from the University of Vermont; has done research on local food systems; has led undergraduate groups to Iceland to study renewable energy, technology, and resource economics; teaches a MBA course on Managing for Sustainability at Marlboro College; and has taught several courses in Resource Economics in the Residential Academic Program at UMass Amherst. He will join the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Boston in January 2011.

2009: Brent Dickinson. Brent attended Albion College but was drawn to the University of Massachusetts' Resource Economics program by his interest in environmental and developmental tradeoffs.  He graduated with a degree in Resource Economics in 2008 and began his masters program the same year. He is very involved in survival training as well and is becoming adept at living off berries and plants in the woods. His research is focused on the economics of carbon sequestration forests.

2009: Kate Rallis. Kate is a Massachusetts native.  She joined the M.S. program in 2008 following graduation from the College of the Holy Cross with a degree in economics.  Kate was coxswain for the crew at Holy Cross--so she really knows how to keep people in line. She is interested in environmental policy and is focusing her research on identifying factors that have contributed to a decline in visitation to national parks in the United States during the last fifteen years.

2008: Laura Alayon. Laura grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, where she studied economics at the Universidad de Los Andes. She joined the M.S. program in 2007 with an interest in understanding the economics of resources management and in designing policies that improve decision-making in local contexts. Her MS thesis is on the economic and social factors associated with violation of fishing regulations in Columbia.

2008: Michelle Woodford. Michelle joined the M.S. program in January 2008 following the completion of her undergraduate degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Michelle qualifies herself as a feminist and environmentalist. Michelle is committed to improving higher opportunities for all women especially those trying to climb out of poverty. In her field essay, she examines factors affecting decisions of low income single mothers’ to further their education, especially impacts that state policies can have on choices.

2007: Nikolaos Zirogiannis. Nikolaos became interested in economics after taking an elective course in resource economics at the Athens University of Business and Economics. He then transferred to the Environmental Sustainability program at the University of Edinburgh. He joined the Resource Economics Master's program during fall 2006 to pursue his interest further. He has developed an interest in the economics of pesticide use and human health similar to a major thrust of Carolyn Harper's research.

2006: David McEvoy. Dave joined the Ph.D. Program in 2003 following completion of his undergraduate degree at the University of New Hampshire and after earning an M.S. in Environmental and Resource Economics from the University College London. His dissertation research used experimental economics to look at design of public policies. Dave is now an Assistant Professor of Economics at Appalachian State University in North Carolina.

Bernardo Urdaneta. Bernardo joined the M.S. Program in 2004 following completion of his undergraduate degree at Lycoming College. In 2006, Bernardo completed his Master’s degree titled "Evaluating Alternative Funding Mechanisms for Acadia National Park Using Stated Preference Methods."

2003: Sirisha Naidu. Sirisha grew up and was educated in Madras, India. She completed her Ph.D. in 2007. Sirisha is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Wright State University in Ohio.

2002: Ning Ding. Ning was born and educated in Yunnan province, People’s Republic of China, the province with the greatest biodiversity in all of China. She worked there on two international technical assistance projects aimed at simultaneously reducing poverty and managing the environment. She completed her M.S. degree in September 2003 and currently lives in Ohio.

Maria Alejandra Velez. Maria grew up in Bogota, Columbia, where she studied economics at the University of the Andes. She then worked for the National Federation of Coffee Growers on a survey of organic coffee production, followed by a stint in the Biotrade Program at the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute. She completed her Ph.D. in 2006. Working with Juan Camilo Cardenas, John Stranlund and Jim Murphy on a collaborative project funded by the U.S. Department of State, she investigated how communities can be encouraged to make environmentally sound decisions.

2001: Colin Cushman. A former Commonwealth Scholar, Colin wrote a research proposal, subsequently funded by a federal agency to study environmental issues in the offshore islands of Thailand, which are experiencing massive growth in tourism. At the time of his award he was doing fieldwork in Thailand and used the money to supplement his research grant.

2000: T. Robert Fetter. Rob received an MS degree in 2002. Among his other activities he joined a group who bicycled across country in the summer of 1999, stopping at communities along the way to take part in local volunteer service projects and to raise funds for organizations involved in social justice. He now works in Colorado as an Environmental Economist at Science Applications International Corporation, a major consulting company.

1999: Marcelo Caffera. Marcelo completed his Ph.D. in 2004. He returned to his native Uruguay where he is on the faculty at the University of Montevideo.

1999: Corinna Noelke. Corinna obtained her Ph.D. degree in 2000. She then worked in New York for Random House publishers as a financial analyst. She now lives and works in Middlebury, Vermont.

1998: Ina Porras. Ina worked as a team member on sustainable development projects in her native Costa Rica. She received a Master’s degree in 1999, and now combines work with the International Institute for Environment and Development in London with a Ph.D. degree at the University of Newcastle, England.

1997: Tammy Barlow. After completing her Ph.D. in 2001, Tammy took a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

1997: Carlos Chavez-Rebolledo. Carlos received his Ph.D. in 2000, He then returned to Chile where he is a professor the Department of Economics at the University of Concepcion.

1996: Jennifer (Lewis) Gruber. Jennifer gained her MS in 1997 in the area of Food Marketing and has been a Category Analyst at Advantage Sales and Marketing with Petzrow in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

1996: Billy Manoka. Billy gained his Ph.D. in 2000 then returned to resume his position on the faculty of the Department of Economics, University of Papua, New Guinea. He has been Head of the Department since 2001.

1995: Michelle McGregor. Michelle began her Master's degree in 1994 and completed her thesis, titled "Measuring Profitability and Environmental Impact among Integrated Pest Management Strategies in Massachusetts Apple Production" in 1997. She went on to the Ph.D. program at the University of California, Berkeley.

1994: Tracy Brocks. Tracy gained her MS degree in 1996, and now works in the electric utility sector in New Hampshire.

1994: Michelle Gerry. After gaining her MS degree in 1995, Michelle went to work in the energy sector. She just recently became Analyst, Financial and Compliance Group, with the New York electricity pool operator in Albany, New York.

1993: Juan-Camilo Cardenas. Juan-Camilo was working on his master’s thesis at the time, and Carolyn was his advisor. He returned here for a Ph.D., which he received in 2000, and is now Professor, Department of Economics, University of the Andes, Bogota, Columbia.