Joachim Jose Mendoza Rillo

Student, Columbia University
  • Columbia University
  • People
  • United States of America

About Joachim Jose Mendoza Rillo

Aspiring economist and researcher at Columbia with experience spearheading internationally recognized non-profits through collaborations with National Geographic, UNESCO, the Asian Development Bank, UNICEF USA, and the Philippines Department of Education.

I am a/an:

Undergraduate Scholar

Area of Expertise

Business and Management Economics Entrepreneurship Leadership Mathematics Social Sciences

Research Topic

Economics

Laidlaw Cohort Year

2021

University

Columbia University

I am from:

Philippines

I speak:

English Filipino Japanese Spanish

My hobbies/interests are:

Basketball Gaming Nature & environment Reading Travelling Volunteering

I am open to participating in mentoring/buddy programmes

Yes

Influencer Of

Topics

Rooms participated in:

Columbia University

Recent Comments

Replying to Hassan Javed
  • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?
  • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

One of the biggest challenges I have faced for my project was the availability of information surrounding my original topic. I came into the program wanting to research the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and how it negatively impacts Pakistan with high interest rates, burgeoning debt, and unstable ownership. However, by the time I began researching, I could not find any data available on the topic. Most, if not all, information available was from media outlets rather than academic/government sources. So, this challenge shaped my research by changing the focus of my project. Now, I am studying how China's history of foreign policy has led to the Belt and Road Initiative (the program of which CPEC falls under the umbrella of) and what threats the problem creates. In this new topic, CLIO has helped me find numerous sources from the Chinese and other foreign governments that allow me to source necessary data.

Hi Hassan!

I relate with the challenge of finding information availability on my research—it is often difficult to find coverage on every single subsidy case. Consequently, I also took a similar mitigating approach by broadening my focus and searching for the parent company instead of the specific company name.

Best of luck with your research :)

  • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

Issues that come with scavenging media coverage for over 1800 subsidy cases are naturally abound to arise. Currently, one of my biggest problems is: how do I optimize my search within the LexisNexis database in order to ensure that I don't accidentally mis-label subsidy cases that may actually have media coverage as "no coverage"? I'm countering this problem through a common searching procedure that makes me narrow all search categories under "jobs" to the parent company, the state, and when applicable, the name of the subsidy program. This has been extremely effective for me.

  • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

Goodjobsfirst.org offers a database of subsidies and allows me to double check whether I'm searching for the right subsidy. Sometimes, I may have the exact same subsidy program under the same state for a company but the subsidy may occur in a different county, so this website is very useful for me to double check.

Replying to Evan Li
  • I believe my research of detecting fallacious arguments is part of a larger project in the NLP community that aims to teach machines reasoning capabilities through language, which can be applied for good in many settings (e.g. chatbots and automatic monitoring of online forums). 
  • I think my research matters in two ways. First, manual human monitoring of online text content is unrealistic given the vast nature of the internet. AI-assisted monitoring of forums opens many possibilities for improving online discourse. Second, I am working on methods to train NLP models in low data settings, which key to sustainable and practical machine learning. 

Hey Evan,

I'm particularly excited about the significance of your research in the NLP community. One question I'd have would be: fallacious can, at times, be a vague term; how can programming determine which arguments are fallacious? Consequently, how would you plan to alleviate this issue through your code?

Super excited to see the rest of your research!

  • While all Laidlaw Scholars will be presenting their research at the Columbia Undergraduate Research Symposium in the fall, what are the more immediate expectations that you have for your research? Are you writing a paper you hope to get published? Will your research be part of a larger scientific study? Is your research now the first phase of a project you’ll continue to work on throughout the year, and/or next summer? Now that we are nearing the one month mark of the program, please write about your expectations for your research.

Based on my current progress, I expect that my research will show that media coverage can be an effective accountability mechanism for firms to meet their job creation target when given a subsidy. I plan to help my professors finish the raw data this summer for our research, then potentially help with the paper if possible.

  • Why does your research matter? Explain the significance of the question you are investigating, and why you are interested in it.

My research is extremely important in investigating whether firms are actually committed to ESG goals. Often, there is a negative portrayal of the media. Consequently, it is important to evaluate whether media coverage can actually bring a positive effect in holding firms accountable to create jobs for the communities around them.

Replying to Hassan Javed
  • What are some of the ethical issues that you are grappling with in your research? What are some of the ways in which you are responding to these questions?

One of the ethical issues in my research surrounds the issue of displacing workers and creating unemployment. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, although disastrous for Pakistan's economy because of high interest rates and ownership seizure, does provide jobs. There are many positions open through the Gwadar Port, highways, power plants, and the other infrastructure the initiative has created through out the country. And, to reduce the detriment CPEC brings to Pakistan's economy, my research will center around restricting Chinese involvement through ownership transfers and domestic infrastructure investments. Although, because Pakistan's infrastructural prowess is not at the same level as China's, we can expect some scale of downsizing - which may bring unemployment, temporary economic stagnation, and other issues.

  • As you continue your research, have you considered alternative viewpoints in your investigation? If so, how have these alternative viewpoints enriched or changed your project?

Influenced by the ethical issue of creating economic stagnation by nationalizing foreign infrastructure projects, I have recently began considering an alternative viewpoint in my investigation. Under this lens, instead of gaining ownership of these projects, Pakistan can benefit from CPEC by campaigning for more favorable loan agreements. These can ensure that at a micro-level, at the very least, job security is not threatened due to a consistent presence of a revenue source - China. 

Hey Hassan!

You bring up a good point with the ethical issue of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. I'd also like to point out that, empirically, these sorts of agreements which provide small benefits with significant long-term consequences often create an unhealthy codependency culture which can hinder a country's development in the long-term.

Best of luck with your project :)

  • What are some of the ethical issues that you are grappling with in your research? What are some of the ways in which you are responding to these questions?

My task of research under my PIs involves mostly database scavenging for subsidy media coverage, so I believe there are not many ethical issues I currently have to grapple with. However, one potential concern in the overall research project we are doing includes an ethical side for firms; do they ethically use the subsidies given by the government for ESG goals (eg. increasing employment within the region, committing to environmentally friendly production, etc.)?

Furthermore, a potential ethical concern is the intent behind media—journalism can often be used for ulterior motives such as political campaigns, and it is important that I keep that in mind as I note key numerical details from articles. A way I'm counteracting this is looking for multiple articles which cover the same subsidy in order to gain a more nuanced perspective.

  • As you continue your research, have you considered alternative viewpoints in your investigation? If so, how have these alternative viewpoints enriched or changed your project?

My research project involves collecting data first BEFORE exploring various viewpoints. Economics at the academia level involves extremely heavy math, making it very logic-oriented and, at times, not open to alternative viewpoints. However, I do plan to consider alternate viewpoints as I work with my PIs to explore the next steps of this paper once the raw data has been sorted out.

  • Last week the trainings and discussions we had cut across the disciplines. How does the interdisciplinary nature of this program, the fact that students are focusing on such a diverse range of projects, help you think about your project and/or your academic interests more broadly?

I think that the interdisciplinary nature of Laidlaw is helpful as different research projects will require different methodologies; for example, humanities will most likely be more qualitative than the quantitative nature of STEM research. Consequently, as someone who is researching economics—which settles in the awkward in-between of humanities and STEM— I can learn methods from my humanities-oriented peers as well as methods from my STEM-oriented peers and possibly apply it to my future economics research projects.

  • As you begin your individual research projects this week, do you anticipate any challenges in getting started? If so, what are they?

My main job under my faculty is to work on scavenging for media coverage in Lexis Nexis. Thus, I anticipate one of my main challenges to be how to efficiently find media coverage on each individual subsidy case. Another challenge may be efficiently executing one of my other main tasks, which is identifying the type of media coverage; nowadays, journalism and political coverage get conflated so it may be hard for me to distinguish between the two.