Grace Kaste (She/Her)

undergraduate researcher, Columbia University
  • Columbia University
  • People
  • United States of America

About Grace Kaste

Research at the Columbia University Sabin Center for Climate Change Law in summer 2023. Studying sustainable development and economics.

I am a/an:

Undergraduate Leadership & Research Scholar


Columbia University

Laidlaw Cohort Year


Research Topic

Climate Change Law

Area of Expertise

Environment Law Politics

I am from:

United States of America

I speak:

English German

My hobbies/interests are:

Cycling Music Nature & environment Politics & current events

I am open to participating in mentoring/buddy programmes


Recent Comments

Jun 02, 2023
Replying to Kashish Kumar

1.  Interacting with students from different disciplines has exposed me to a variety of perspectives, methodologies, and approaches to problem-solving in a research setting. This exposure has helped me think beyond the boundaries of my own area of research. It has encouraged me to consider alternative viewpoints and innovative solutions I might not have explored otherwise. The exposure to different research areas has encouraged me to delve deeper into topics outside of what I have previously been exposed to. This past week has been invaluable in shaping my academic interests and inspiring me to pursue interdisciplinary research further.

2. Strong communication with mentors and informed collection of data are key takeaways from last week that have guided my involvement so far. I have found that the universities computing and database resources are especially helpful to my area of translational study. Also, connecting with my mentor to discuss different methodologies under the same goal or research question has broadened my understanding of the field. 

I definitely agree with you about the importance of communicating with mentors! My relationship with my graduate mentor has been so inspiring this week, since she has been through these very same stages with her own research but did it recently enough that she remembers the most challenging aspects. Talking with her, like you said, has also broadened my understanding of the field, since her research has been in similar areas but has worked with different types of data and methods. It's been so helpful whenever I feel stuck. 

Jun 01, 2023
  • 1. During my meetings with my graduate student, I've been able to hear from the other Laidlaw students in my group about the early stages of their research. Each of our projects relates to law/policy in some way, but also focuses on completely different subjects. I feel like all four of us are at a similar stage, establishing preliminary background about each of our subjects. Because of this, hearing about their research process for grasping this background this week has helped me so much -- for example, they've reminded me to back up and ask broader questions when I get stumped, and inspired me to look at new resources when I hit a dead end. The diversity of topics is helping me to internalize the research process in general, instead of getting sucked into rabbit holes within my small topic.
  • 2. Our discussion with Professor Klitzman about research ethics has come to mind a lot this week. As he led us through demonstrations of ethical questions, he asked us whether a party involved should be required to disclose their intent to collect data or what a party’s responsibility to the community is as they perform and publish research. It made me realize the power of research and information, especially because it is almost impossible to always get the full picture. As I’ve started reading academic literature about the effectiveness of a type of environmental law, I’ve realized that the data presented is often manipulated, to the point that there are multiple papers that use the same data set to make completely contradictory claims about the effectiveness of this law. Environmental policy is a field where there is so much dark money on the side of fossil fuels, and it’s also a field where so much is at stake in terms of our planet’s future. Professor Klitzman’s lesson has stuck with me that there are often ulterior motives involved in research, and has caused me to be aware of the interests of the people whose research I read.
May 25, 2023
Replying to Sively de los Santos
  1. What do you hope to learn about leadership--your leadership, leadership in general, etc.-- through the Laidlaw program? I hope to learn about the different styles of leadership and different ways leaders interact with their peers. I hope put into practice the novel idea of leadership that there isn't just one leader and everyone else follows or is idle; every person is an individual and community leader. 
  2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project? For my project, I will be faced with information about names and properties of drugs and medicines that I'm not familiar with. One of the challenges that I anticipate is remembering to differentiate and access understandable information about these medicines. But, I anticipate that my faculty leader will be able to answer any questions I have or guide me to more support. 

I feel like I'm in a similar position as you for question 2 - as I'm trying to do background research for the specific topic my faculty member assigned me, I keep getting sucked down rabbit holes and overwhelmed by academic lingo. As you said, I think it's important for me to pace myself by focusing on the more understandable/comprehensible information that's out there, and also to ask my faculty member for guidance.

May 25, 2023

1. As I start my research with faculty at the law school, I want to learn how to maintain the confidence and competence of a leader while working in an environment where I'm surrounded by people who are much more advanced and expert than me in their knowledge of the research topic. Hearing from Pamela about balancing your inner leader with a dynamic of leading from behind or beside feels really relevant here and I'm excited to practice these different styles of relationships. 

2. My biggest challenge is that, although I'm familiar with my research topic, I'm much less familiar with the research community and rhetoric that has formed around this topic. My first assignment from my faculty member is to compile an annotated bibliography of academic literature, so my goal is to apply the skills we've learned with Zotero, as well as the tools from the digital humanities workshop, to make this task less daunting.