Varsha AppajiVarsha Appaji ’21 is a Research Associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Previously, Varsha worked as a Research Analyst in the Hunt Institute.

While Varsha studied at SMU, she found her passion at the place where her three majors intersected: critically evaluating the potential mechanisms that can help alleviate socioeconomic inequality. In the Hunt Institute, she worked as both Co-Lead of the Research Team and an Undergraduate Research Analyst on a project dedicated to analyzing what it takes for an inclusive economy to realistically and sustainably exist. Her work focused on optimizing a database of inclusive economics best practices to create a model of sustainable stakeholder collaboration. She co-authored a proposal for piloting a “Living Labs” model in Dallas geared toward decreasing inequity by improving public safety, sustainable housing, and entrepreneurship opportunities through technology. In addition, she initiated an effort for the Institute to analyze the policy impacts of IoTs, as well as the business case of emerging technologies.

Varsha also has great interest in the potential of emerging technologies. Through her research, she has discovered the vast impacts these technologies can make on agricultural production and access, green energy, emergency response systems, politics, privacy, and more, for better or for worse. Varsha is committed to furthering her study of the effects that technology can have on various aspects of human life. In the long run, she is motivated to one day shape policy that can ensure innovation is for the benefit of all humanity, serving to fill the gap between dominant and subaltern groups.

Varsha spoke about her connection when she worked in the Institute, “…our research is guided by a holistic scope. We look at intersections of industries and innovation so that we can address issues as a system versus as isolated situations. Rather than adding to the information-overload, we learn from established best practices and understand how we can implement their principles to make a realistic local impact.”

Varsha also spent her time at SMU as the Jack C. And Annette K. Vaughn undergraduate fellow of the Tower Center, actively involved in policy and international affairs research. Outside of her academic pursuits, Varsha is a South Indian classically trained singer and she regularly performs throughout the US, often alongside different world music ensembles.

Varsha graduated with a B.S. in Statistical Science, a B.A. in Public Policy, and a B.A. in Economics. She was recognized as an SMU Dean’s Scholar, Pre-Law Scholar, and Discovery Scholar.

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