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Dancing through Decisions: Meet Aspen Buck

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

By: Esther Koh, PRISE, Harvard College '22

Time to bring some lovely Economics researchers into the spotlight! This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Aspen Buck (PRIMO Fellow), a rising junior in Pfoho House concentrating in History and Science.

This summer, Aspen is working with not one but two PhD students at Harvard Business School (HBS) under the Behavioral Decision Making Lab. Drawn to her work’s similarities with Microeconomics, Aspen loves analyzing the way people make financial decisions and the diverse set of tasks she encounters everyday in her research. One day, she’s working in Qualtrics running a survey and analyzing data with SPSS in another! She’s most excited, however, by the liberty she has in choosing projects that speak to her and working on them from start to finish alongside HBS professors.

When asked to describe a day in her life, Aspen starts off her mornings at the weekly “NERD” lab meetings, listening to doctors present their studies while simultaneously giving feedback and brainstorming even more project ideas to extend off of them. She loves the super collaborative environment and the positive vibes all around! The rest of the day is always dynamic - a mixture of more meetings with her mentors sprinkled with PRIMO programming like the lunchtime faculty talks.

When she’s not studying how humans make decisions, Aspen dances- a talent she shares with her famous dad! A daughter of one of America’s Got Talent Tapping Dads, Aspen has been dancing her way ever since a Hollywood interview at age eight alongside her amazingly passionate dad!

Let’s be real, lately, Harvard’s fall semester announcement has been keeping Aspen up at night; but on other sleepless nights, she can be found pondering about the possibilities of her research. For now though, she longs for the end of quarantine, and is especially nostalgic for nights to the movie theater:

“There's so many things I want to do, but just one normal life type thing that I miss is going to the movies. I never appreciated it before this, and now all I want to do is go and get that good buttery popcorn and that huge drink, and just sit and watch a movie.”

When that day comes back, be sure to ask our wonderful dancing, behavioral scientist out to the movies!

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