Aimee Curtright is a senior physical scientist at the RAND Corporation, where she studies energy policy and technology and is associate director of the Engineering and Applied Sciences Department. Before joining a Zócalo/UCLA panel discussion on fracking’s environmental effects—“Is Fracking Good for California?”—she talked in the Zócalo green room about her kids, burning her hand on an oven, and how the rest of America needs to catch up to California’s energy policy.
Describe your teenage self in three words.
Angsty. Big-haired. Dramatic.
You went to school at the University of Miami. Is there anything you miss about living in Florida?
I do miss the beach.
If you could change one thing about California energy policy, what would it be?
Really, the rest of the country should catch up to California, in terms of carbon-related policy. California’s not as far as it could be, but instead of changing things, it would be better for everyone else to get to where California already is.
If you had an extra 30 minutes each day to practice a musical instrument, which instrument would you choose?
I’d probably go for the oboe.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Working at a bakery. Burned my arm on that damn oven.
Do you listen to podcasts?
Mostly I listen to NPR. Sometimes I listen to This American Life.
What’s your greatest strength?
I have a very good intuition for people. I know who to trust.
And your greatest weakness?
What do you think about the most when you’re not thinking about work?
My kids. They are 9 and 6, both girls.
What’s an object you couldn’t live without?
My phone. My husband made me get a smartphone, and now my kids are like, “Mommy, put the phone away.”