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 at the University of California, Berkeley, where she double-majored in economics and psychology, and then subsequently at Carnegie Mellon University, where she completed her MS and PhD in behavioral decision research. She supplemented her formal education on the psychology of poverty by working and volunteering at a range of consumer protection and poverty-alleviation organizations, including the Federal Trade Commission, the World Bank, and a transitional housing center in Washington, DC.
Now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, Ania combines 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 and resource inequality through research. In particular, her goal is to use behavioral economics to design psychologically informed poverty-alleviation and consumer protection policies.