Born in California, Ania is the daughter of Polish immigrants. Troubled by the political and economic climate of Communist Poland, her parents seized an attractive job opportunity at a prestigious American university, arriving in the US a few years before Ania was born.
Like many immigrants, however, they soon learned that education and hard work do not guarantee financial success. Without the safety net that cultural and social capital helps ensure, her parents struggled to weather a series of financial shocks. After seeing the psychological impact of this financial hardship on her and her family, Ania became devoted to understanding the psychology of poverty.
Ania began formally pursuing these interests in her undergraduate career at the University of California, Berkeley, where she double-majored in economics and psychology. After graduating, she spent several years working with the federal government, first at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and then on consumer protection with the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Economics. She also volunteered extensively with a microfinance organization operating in Kenya and a transitional housing center in Washington, DC.
Now pursuing a PhD in behavioral decision research at Carnegie Mellon University, Ania hopes to combine her firsthand experiences with financial struggle, her secondhand observations from her professional and volunteer work, and her training in economics and psychology to help combat poverty through research. In particular, her goal is to use behavioral economics to design psychologically informed poverty-alleviation and consumer protection policies.