Alumni Spotlight: Eliana Polimeni

At the BIP Lab, our main goal is to understand parental decision-making. If information is power, we believe that learning about someone else’s personal experience can be particularly helpful when making decisions for your career, too. That’s why we wanted to introduce a new interview series, “Alumni Spotlight,” where we sit down with former students to learn what drives them, what they liked about working at the BIP lab, and where they are now.

This quarter, we sat down with Eliana Polimeni, a former BIP alumni, self-proclaimed fitness junkie, and second year PhD student at Kellogg.

BIP Lab: What drew you to work at the BIP Lab?

Polimeni: The combination of behavioral science and public policy drew me to the lab initially. I was a psychology major at the University of Chicago and was looking for a way to get involved with impactful research. The BIP Lab was answering the questions I wanted to ask.

BIP Lab: What is one of your favorite memories of the BIP Lab, and how does your experience reveal what the BIP Lab is all about?

Polimeni: My favorite memory from the BIP Lab is when we were piloting the PACT study in the summer of 2014. There were a lot of hiccups that could not have been anticipated once we got into the schools and started distributing iPads to parents. But I was working with incredible people and we were able to think on our feet, solving problems both quickly and effectively. As a group we figured out all the kinks, and seeing it all come together was truly special. I think the BIP Lab is unique in that it unites people with different perspectives to tackle difficult, yet fascinating problems. I learned so much that summer, and I attribute that to the fact that the BIP Lab let me explore and experiment freely.

BIP Lab: What are you doing now?

Polimeni: I’m in the second year of my PhD in Management and Organizations at Kellogg, studying judgment and decision-making.

BIP Lab:  How did you become interested in your field?

Polimeni: I became a psychology major early on in college because I knew I wanted to study human behavior. I worked in a few psychology labs throughout my college career, but through working in the BIP Lab I learned I wanted to understand how insights from behavioral science could be used to make an impact in the world. 

BIP Lab: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Polimeni: While I was working in market research after I graduated college, I led an initiative to use more behavioral measures in our studies. I introduced Implicit Association Testing (IAT) to my team’s set of capabilities, which helped us get more reliable data. It was really cool to be able to bring in new methodologies that could advance our technological offerings!

BIP Lab: What advice would you give to other students who aspire to follow a similar career path?

Polimeni: Everyone has their own path but I greatly valued working for a few years before starting my PhD. It helped me feel confident in my career path and taught me tons of skills that I’ve found useful in my studies. This all solidified my research interests and confirmed I wanted to explore them in an organizational context. 

BIP Lab: What do you enjoy doing with your free time?

Polimeni: Eating mostly! I love going out to restaurants and trying new foods. I’m also a fitness junkie who loves CrossFit and yoga.

BIP Lab: How did the BIP Lab help you get to where you are today?

Polimeni: The BIP Lab played a pivotal role in getting me where I am today. It was my first experience doing applied research in psychology and taught me the impact that behavioral science can have in the policy realm. T