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Meet Ph.D. Candidate Easwaran J. Narassimhan

From Electrical Engineering to Green Economy Development, Why Easwaran Narassimhan Chose to Pursue his Ph.D. at Fletcher

Easwaran J. Narassimhan is a research fellow at The Fletcher School’s Climate Policy Lab and a member of the international environment and resource policy (IERP) program at Fletcher. Prior to enrolling in the Ph.D. program at Fletcher, Easwaran was a MALD (F15) specializing in environmental policy and development economics.

In this Q&A-style Ph.D. profile, Easwaran shares a bit about his journey to The Fletcher School, his experiences as a Ph.D. student, and some advice for those considering their own Ph.D. path.  

Describe your background and path to Fletcher

I am an engineer by training. Prior to joining Fletcher, I worked at the Intel Corporation for five years where I designed energy efficient power regulation systems for microprocessors commonly used in data centers. Despite being at the forefront of designing energy efficient technologies, I wanted to better understand the connection between technology innovation, the environment and human development. Fletcher’s education helped me better appreciate the role technology and policy play in shaping sustainable development outcomes. Prior to completing the MALD at Fletcher, I earned a graduate degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University at College Station and my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from BITS Pilani, India.

What has been the highlight of your experience as a Ph.D. thus far?

The highlight of my Ph.D. experience has been the generosity of Fletcher students and faculty. I truly hope to give back as much time as the community has provided to me. Despite their busy schedules, the Fletcher community makes time for their fellow pupils and it creates a positive atmosphere for learning.

What is your doctoral dissertation topic and why did you select it?

My dissertation endeavors to understand how developing countries manage socio-economic objectives while undergoing a green economy transition. I look at this topic from the vantage point of how countries achieve multiple objectives using industrial policies, and I hope to address an important gap in the academic literature that mostly analyzes developmental and environmental objectives in isolation. I chose this topic because I wanted to understand the opportunities and challenges developing countries face while trying to simultaneously address pressing developmental imperatives, such as electricity access and employment, while also addressing climate change issues. 

How have the Ph.D. resources at Fletcher supported your research?

The Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) at Fletcher has been a pillar of support both in terms of academic inputs and financial assistance. The Climate Policy Lab led by Professor Kelly Sims Gallagher has been my academic home for the last four years. Besides my dissertation work, I have benefited a lot from collaborating with professors, post-doctoral fellows, and other Ph.D. students on joint research projects at the center. 

Do you have any advice for those seeking to pursue a Ph.D.?

Every individual wishing to apply for a Ph.D. has to have a rationale to justify why they would like to pursue it. I’d like to emphasize the following for consideration: 1) A Ph.D. may not be necessary for career growth; 2) It’s a five to six year-long roller coaster; 3) you will have a deeper understanding of yourself and your field at the end of it, and it will feel personally rewarding to have completed it.