An Athenian in Glasgow

Published by Naya Koulocheri on

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Naya. Society and school convinced her that she’s good at writing but not so good at calculating or rationalising stuff, which is okay because girls are biologically dispositioned to be good at literature and to suck at maths. At high school, she studied classics and got even more convinced that economics, algebra and rational thinking are just not for her.

She did her Bachelor’s at the University of Piraeus, which is more of an applied science kind of thing, but don’t worry she got admitted to the most theoretical department: the department of European and International studies.  For her Erasmus experience, she wanted to go a small, student city called Aix-en-Provence in the South of France.  However, the only available programme was with the School of Applied Economics at Paul CézanneAix- Marseille III University. Hmmm. Houston, we have a problem, she thought : “I will never gonna make it!”. Well, she did. There, she studied health economics, which not only she loved but surprisingly she understood!

This is pretty much how she ended at Edinburgh University doing an MSc in Health Systems and Public Policy. She chose all the health economics classes and organised her curriculum so that she gets the best of both worlds: economics and social policy. For her dissertation, Naya spent four months reading about behavioural economics and examining whether we can actually make people healthier using “nudges”. The evidence was controversial but the concept of behavioural economics clicked in her. After her Master’s, with the academic  help from great people in  Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, she developed her research proposal.

However, after much work, she realised that she ended up not liking what she loved. She decided that she wanted to write about research and evidence, not actually doing it. She thought that science shouldn’t be privilege of the few; that it should be accessible, understandable and why not enjoyable by a diverse audience.  “What’s the point of having evidence if most people won’t even look at it”, she thought.

She developed an interest for topics such as health inequalities and feminism and tried to incorporate everything she learnt to her writings. She believed that even though she’s a woman, she’s capable of rational thinking and now that she’s aware of her cognitive biases, she can work towards improving them.  She wants 1) to make more people aware of their biases; 2) to convince at least one person a day that evidence is cool and needs to be loved. Why? Because less dumbness means less racism, sexism, fascism, toxic masculinity, inequality, classism , harmful individual and societal decisions.

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