Student Spotlight- Xiaoyun Niu

EPM student Xiaoyun Niu

Student Spotlight

Xiaoyun Niu

Xiaoyun was born and raised in China, she received her bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Science from the Ocean University of China. She is currently a master student in Environmental Policy and Management and a Ph.D. Candidate in Atmospheric Science at the University of California Davis.

Why did you choose to pursue a dual major? Why the EPM program?

Before joining EPM, I have amassed years of training in advanced climate science. Moreover, I started volunteering at the local chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL) in 2018, an international non-profit organization that aims to collect the opinions and needs of citizens in order to propose effective solutions for climate change.

Standing at the interface of science and policy, I recognized the necessity of accelerating the level of interaction between these two fields. Therefore, I look forward to preparing myself in a more formal way to bridge the differences between my academic background and policy management within a political and economic decision-making framework. For me, this comprises my core motivation to pursue a double graduate major in EPM program. Furthermore, EPM offers a 12-month competition option that fits into my original graduation plan for my primary degree in Atmospheric Science perfectly. 

What has been your experience in integrating coursework between both majors?

According to the Graduate Studies, I am allowed to share up to 12 units of coursework between my two majors. Fortunately, a couple of courses I took for my primary major meet the standard of EPM’s elective courses and can be counted to fill up the degree requirements in EPM. I very much appreciate the flexibility of EPM’s degree requirements that enables students doing a second major, like me, to integrate the coursework between different majors smoothly!

What core EPM course have you found the most interesting so far and why?

The most interesting core course I found so far is ENV 200B: Environment Policy Evaluation, instructed by Professor Mike Springborn. I’ve got a limited background in economics before I took the course, but Professor Springborn did an excellent job walking me through the key concepts in environmental economics as well as showing me the approaches to design and assess environmental policy tools with those key concepts. It was also rewarding for me to complete a case study analyzing carbon pricing in Canada using economic tools and lens at the end of the course.

What are your ultimate career goals?

My career ultimate goal is to work for an intergovernmental organization or international consulting firm in order to address climate change mitigation and adaptation and bridge the gap between science, policy, and the public. In the short term, I am interested in spending a couple of years working and living in Japan after graduation. I fell in love with Japanese culture while visiting there and would like to improve my Japanese language skills as well.

What do you like to do for fun?

I am a part-time vlogger, I enjoy shooting and editing videos.