Welcome! Shiran Victoria Shen has been an Assistant Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of Virginia since August 2018. Previously, she forged her own path in graduate school at Stanford University (2013–2018) by simultaneously pursuing a Ph.D. in Political Science and an M.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering (atmosphere & energy), and was the first student at Stanford to complete such joint degrees. She graduated with high honors from Swarthmore College in 2012.
Prof. Shen’s research explores how incentives shape environmental politics, especially in industrializing and urbanizing countries (China, India, Kenya, Mexico, Uganda). Her specialties are in the comparative politics of air pollution and the social impacts of climate change. She seeks to integrate relevant techniques from political science, engineering, earth systems, computer science, and other disciplines to illuminate the problems of energy and the environment.
Prof. Shen is writing a book based on her dissertation, The Political Pollution Cycle: An Inconvenient Truth and How to Break It. The article-length version of two dissertation chapters has won two best paper awards from the American Political Science Association (2017 Paul A. Sabatier Award) and the Southern Political Science Association (2018 Malcolm Jewell Award), respectively. Her research has been very generously funded by a number of organizations, including the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy.
This academic year, Prof. Shen is teaching three classes reflecting her research interests: “Politics of Air Pollution,” “Environmental Politics in China,” and “Approaches to Environmental Politics.”
One of Prof. Shen’s favorite quotations, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary” (by Steve Jobs).