Exploring the Intersection of Energy, Environmental, and International Development

Annabella Korbatov
MA ’17
Energy, Resources and Environment

As an undergrad at UC Berkeley, Annabella majored in Political Science and minored in Public Policy with an emphasis on comparative politics, but she always wanted to explore international affairs in greater depth. The opportunity to explore the intersection of energy, environmental, and international development topics while also acquiring stronger quantitative skills encouraged Annabelle to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS. The interdisciplinary nature of the Energy, Resource and Environment program, the variety of course offerings, and the flexibility to tailor her degree to her interests with an International Development minor set the school apart from other institutions. After graduation, Annabella hopes to work in a position that combines her interests such as development consulting, policy analysis, and academic research.

While at Johns Hopkins SAIS, Annabella has been part of a practicum team of students in partnership with SwissRe, who have conducted research to evaluate the relationships between climate change, earthquakes, droughts, and floods on energy grid disruption in British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington State. Their research also attempts to quantify the financial and physical impacts of such catastrophes on the energy grid.

On her upcoming trip to the Pacific Northwest, Annabella and her team will meet with various stakeholders from the public and private sectors to learn from their unique perspectives on the risks that natural disasters and climate change pose to the electrical grid. The insights that these state and local government officials, utilities, researchers, and other experts bring to bear will help inform the team’s panel presentation in April and final report in May.

True to its reputation, the practicum has been a challenging project, but it’s also been rewarding. The opportunity to work with SwissRe, a major global reinsurer, and learn from a variety of experts in the insurance, energy, and environment fields has been incredibly helpful to Annabella and her team’s research and her own professional development. Read more about the practicum report here: https://openminds.swissre.com/stories/1182/