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George Mason University

Ideas with Impact—Bringing Together Service, Leadership, and Global Experiences

Bev Harp headshotBeverly Harp is always busy. During her three years at Mason, she’s excelled in the classroom, won two State Department grants that allowed her to study abroad in India, volunteered for political campaigns, and co-founded and led a successful student organization. Though these may seem like disparate pursuits, for Beverly, they're all pieces of the same puzzle. Through her undergraduate her research, those pieces finally came together.

This past year, Beverly studied U.S.-India bilateral relations on climate change, focusing on U.S. climate finance in India. The project shifted over time. “I initially just wanted to understand what type of climate finance was the most politically useful to the U.S. in its emissions negotiations with India,” she says. As the project progressed, she began to explore what equitable climate finance looked like in India under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In its most recent iteration, Beverly’s research asks, “How can U.S. climate finance better align with India’s climate and energy policies to accelerate progress on mitigation and adaptation?” As part of her project, she reviewed and synthesized relevant scholarship on climate finance programs and policies, then conducted a number of interviews in with activists and policy makers in Rajasthan, India and in Washington D.C.

Beverly's findings suggest that U.S. climate finance should be strategically channeled to the state level and engage more sub-national actors. She argues that finance should be prioritized to rural electrification and adaptation efforts, though these areas do not necessarily have the easiest investment tracks. “The more that U.S. climate finance empowers India to develop its own local energy market rather than supplanting it, the sooner mitigation goals will be reached,” says Beverly.

Beverly began her project during the first semester of her junior year as part of the Mason’s Global Problem Solving Fellows Program. She earned a Undergraduate Research Scholars Program grant, which allowed her to continue her study during the spring.

In both semesters, she was mentored by Younsung Kim, a professor affiliated with both Mason’s Global Affairs Program and the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. She expanded her project this summer, when she served as an intern at the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, India. There, her work was guided by Geetika Singh, a program office with CSE.

Beverly’s current research experience builds upon her prior study in India as a Critical Language Scholar for the past two years. She has presented her work at OSCAR’s spring research exhibition and published versions of it on both on the CSE website and in the Roosevelt Institute’s 10 Ideas series. The Roosevelt Institute is a progressive policy think tank, and Beverly is the co-founder of Roosevelt@Mason -- George Mason University’s chapter in Roosevelt’s campus network.

Though all of these experiences have been critical to Beverly’s success as a student researcher, she cites Honors 110 as the foundation on which her experience was built. “I think that Honors 110 gives you both the practical tools and the self efficacy required to pursue significant research as an undergraduate,” she says. “It prepared me to ask higher quality, more critical questions about U.S.-India relations, and my own role in doing that research.”