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Sabina Shaikh

Sabina Shaikh, 34

Residence: Roscoe Village

Quick: Does inclusion of landowners’ nonmarket values lower costs of creating carbon forest sinks?

Ask Sabina Shaikh. As a lecturer in economics and environmental studies at the University of Chicago and a senior research economist for a downtown consulting company, she regularly tackles such tongue-twisting topics. (The answer, by the way, is generally no.)

Born in Milwaukee to a Korean mother and a Pakistani father, Shaikh says she grew up “eating all sorts of ethnic food,” but she managed to claim her cheesy birthright as a rabid Packers fan, even while earning her doctorate in environmental economics at the University of California–Davis.

An accomplished runner and triathlete, Shaikh has competed in nearly a dozen races. “The last time I swam in Lake Michigan was during the triathlon, and I was really horrified by it,” she says. Rather than stop swimming, or simply complain, she landed a grant from the Joyce Foundation to analyze the economic value of the lake’s beaches—and, she hopes, make an economic case for cleaner water.

“People really do care,” Shaikh says. “I just had no idea how hard I would have to fight.”

Email Sabina at cm_sshaikh@yahoo.com

Photography by McArthurphotography.com

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