David Yellen (C’20) believes a mix of technologies, including but not limited to renewable energy, are needed to save the world from the effects of a rapidly changing climate. The 2020 Rhodes Scholarship finalist wants to examine the intersection of technology and policy to keep the planet clean and sustainable.
Hometown: Newton, Massachusetts
Major/Degrees: Government; minor in economics
Research: The senior conducts research on environmental policy in developing countries, examining how aid can help fight climate change while supporting economic growth. He recently completed his senior thesis on factors that have allowed China to dominate the clean energy sector.
“I believe that focused development aid coupled with technology sharing can help developing countries electrify and save their populations from poverty without sacrificing the planet,” he says. “Developed countries have a responsibility to help them do so.”
Yellen works at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center as a project assistant, conducting research on the role of oil and gas producers in the energy transition and helping with the center’s flagship energy forum.
“I am broadly planning on continuing my work on energy policy and advancing decarbonization.” he says.
Addressing Climate Change: The Georgetown senior believes it will take more than having renewable energy such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat alone to combat climate change. He wants to one day help leverage development aid packages through the World Bank or another organization to help areas lacking modern energy services and encourage their clean energy choices.
“But money is not enough – I want to strengthen partnerships between developed and developing countries to share essential technologies and knowledge,” he says.
Why Georgetown? Yellen says he wanted to attend Georgetown College because of the hands-on opportunities he could gain by living in the heart of the nation’s capital, and because of the university’s mission of being people for others.
Campus and Community Activities: While at Georgetown, Yellen served as deputy director of advocacy for the Georgetown University College Democrats and collaborated with staff writers on an article for The Economist. He also is a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society.
DC Internships: Before working at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, he held several internships in nonprofit and governmental offices – including the Council on Foreign Relations and the office of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts).
A Professor’s View: Yellen worked closely with government professor Michael Bailey, studying current U.S. policies and their effect on various aspects of legislation.
“David is a remarkable young man, combining a deep intellect with strong curiosity about how the world works,” Bailey says. “I am confident he will be an important leader as his generation takes on the growing challenges associated with climate change.”