The Evans School Student Ambassadors are current students who welcome the opportunity to connect with prospective students and share insights about the student experience in the MPA program and life in Seattle. Prospective students are encouraged to review the brief biographies of the student ambassadors and email an ambassador who may share an area of interest or other notable connection.

If you are a prospective student and would like to connect with our admissions staff, please contact or 206.543.4900.

Jacqueline Wu

Focus: Civil Rights; International Development


Jacqueline is a second generation Asian American, whose father hailed from Shanghai, China and mother from Samar, Philippines. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jacqueline moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington. At the UW, Jacqueline graduated with a B.A. in American Ethnic Studies and History (Honors) and minors in Labor Studies, Diversity, and Chemistry.

During undergrad, Jacqueline became involved with Seattle’s Asian and Pacific Islander community. She currently serves as OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, Greater Seattle chapter President. In addition, Jacqueline is also involved at the International Examiner where she writes and archives.

In her downtime, Jacqueline enjoys writing, performing spoken word, making music, traveling, long walks, stimulating conversation, cooking and tea.

Saul Valdez
Madison, Nebraska
Focus: Education Policy and Nonprofit Management 
Born in the city of Chicago and raised throughout the state of Nebraska---there's no surprise that Saul is proud of his Midwestern roots!  After earning his undergraduate degree in International Business and Spanish at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Saul moved to Atlanta, Georgia to work at a local nonprofit that provides social and legal services to the Latino community. His move also stemmed from his desire to test how his 'Midwest nice' mannerisms matched up with the well-known Southern Hospitality culture. His experience in Atlanta led him to further his interest and practice in the intersection of community advocacy, program design, and organizational strategy and development.
Since moving to Seattle for graduate school, Saul has kept himself busy by interning with United Way of King County, serving in the GO-MAP student advisory board, and helping launch a new student interest group called EPOC (Evans Students of Color). Outside of school, he enjoys running half-marathons and searching for the best restaurants and coffeehouses in the city.
Saul was selected as an Education Pioneers Fellow and will work for the Center for Houston’s Future this summer in Houston, Texas.

Why Saul chose the Evans School:  The first thing that caught my eye was the Evans School's prestige in academia.  Ultimately, however,  what helped me choose the Evans School was the curriculum's rigor, the welcoming and caring faculty and administration and the invaluable opportunity to engage with leading agencies and forward-thinking leaders in Seattle.

Elena Swartz

Hometown: Newton, MA; Philadelphia, PA

Focus: International and Social Policy


I grew up near Boston, MA but more recently lived in Philadelphia and all over the west coast. I am an arts advocate, certified chain-sawyer, and museum nerd and would be glad to talk at length with anyone about these topics and look forward to learning about your interests!
I graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2012 where I was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow with a major in Growth and Structure of Cities. I studied abroad and conducted independent research in South Africa in 2010-2011 on the role of heritage sites in the country's reconciliation processes. I served two terms with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), experiences that inspire my dedication to public service. I first served as a Corps Member in 2007 and later as a Field Team Leader in 2013 where I worked on a FEMA disaster recovery mission in New York City. 

I am passionate about finding ways to integrate arts approaches to helping communities process humanitarian and natural disaster. I have trained in contemporary dance and theater and helped develop the capacity of non-profit arts organizations in Philadelphia for nearly two years before joining the Evans community. As a first year at Evans I served on the Evans School Curriculum and Assessment Committee, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate Diversity Committee, and worked part-time as the Director of Community Outreach with Silver Kite Community Arts. 

Why Elena chose the Evans School: The academic rigor and passionate community of learners and scholars inspired me to choose Evans. I knew I would receive a top-notch education alongside people who also wanted to have challenging conversations and share resources. Seattle also provided the amazing public art culture I craved after living in Philly!

Scott Spencer

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Focus: Science and Technology Policy; Public Finance


Scott is from the great state of Ohio and attended The Ohio State University. While at The Ohio State University he earned a BS in Molecular Genetics and a BA in chemistry. Scott was also a member of the Varsity lacrosse team. Scott is currently a Graduate Student Assistant (GSA) at the Office of Research Information Services (ORIS) and also a concurrent Master’s candidate in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities. He is also president of the Science & Technology (S&T) Student Interest Group as well as chair of the GPSS Science and Policy Committee. Outside of school, you can find him drinking lots of coffee, watching buckeye sports or snowboarding throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Scott chose the Evans School because he felt it had a solid core curriculum that included a thorough quantitative skillset while preparing its student to become leaders in their prospective fields of interest. The UW community was also a huge factor in Scott’s decision. The excellent work being done all throughout campus lends itself to interdisciplinary opportunities that simply do not exist at other institutions. Also, Seattle has many exciting opportunities, in the technology and biotech space specifically, that were also a huge positive for Scott.

Name: Cooper Smith
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Focus: Metropolitan and Regional Policy, Social Policy, Nonprofit Management

Now this is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down.
And I'd like to take a minute just sit right there,
I'll tell you how I came to Evans to study social welfare.

In - South Seattle born and raised, on the playground I used to spend most of my days. Hanging out, relaxin, and actin all cool; playing some Yu-ghi-Oh outside of my school. When a few years later, I applied to U-Dub, they granted me admission and showed me some love. I got my undergrad degree, and my parents were there - they said, “Now go and get a job and move ya butt on outta here.”

I looked for some jobs, but the market was bare. My degree was sketch, and my future in the air. I started thinking, “If I want to stand a prayer, I gotta get back - yo homes to Red Square!”

I - pulled - up - to Parrington round seven or eight, and I yelled to the Dean, “I’mma make this city greater!” I looked at the classroom, I was finally there, to earn my MPA, in the Parrington lair.

Why Cooper chose the Evans School: I chose Evans because I really want to stay in Seattle and make my impact here. Evans has a strong presence in the Seattle community, a name recognized by all the important movers and shakers in the public sphere, and having that name associated with you gives you access to a lot of fantastic opportunities in this region. Evans also provides a good balance of teaching technical skills that you can take with you outside of the classroom, and feel like you have the ability to ‘do’ the work, not just ‘talk’ about it.

Steven Sawada

Hometown: Mililani, Hawaii

Focus: Race, Poverty, Homelessness


I've lived in Seattle for about 12 years. Prior to that, I resided in Eugene, Oregon, where I completed my undergraduate education in Journalism back in 2001. After college, I freelanced for The Stranger and The Seattle Weekly (interviewing everyone from David Lynch to the Wu-Tang Clan's GZA), and most recently, I was Vice President at one of our nation's largest banks.

As a returning student and founding member of Evans People Of Color (EPOC), I strive to foster an equitable, inclusive and welcoming space for all students. I also consult and organize with our other Student Interest Groups (SIGs) committed to diversity and equity: Partnership for Community and Diversity (PCD) and Race Action Committee at Evans (RACE). Additionally, I'm a Graduate Staff Assistant (GSA) at the Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP), which is a unit of the Graduate School.

I'm passionate about municipal policy that strives to improve income and racial inequity.

Why Steve chose the Evans School: I wanted to learn the technical skills necessary to implement equitable and efficient public policy. I love process improvement and worked on many different initiatives in my career that involved this. I wanted to learn the best way to apply these skills to the public sector.

Name: Rowena Sace Johnson

Hometown: Baguio, Philippines and Edina, Minnesota

Focus: International Development, Social Policy


Rowena was born in the Philippines, spent her childhood in Australia, and the rest of her upbringing in Minnesota. She graduated from Iowa State University, majoring in Aerospace Engineering and minoring in Sociology, and studied abroad in the Netherlands and Singapore. Her career to date is a bit eclectic. She has worked as a design engineer at Boeing, an English teacher (Indonesia), a technical program assistant at a development NGO (Indonesia), citizenship instructor with Refugee Women’s Alliance (Columbia City/Seattle), and a researcher at the Evans School Policy Analysis Research Group (EPAR). These combined experiences have fueled her passion in promoting equity and social welfare through culturally-appropriate policy, programs and services. Rowena is also very involved in Evans People of Color (EPOC).

Rowena enjoys volunteering, bicycling (she is training again for Seattle-to-Portland!), traveling, cooking, gardening and eating.  Don’t ever hesitate to hit her up for a lunch or dinner date, especially if it involves pastries or rice.

Why Rowena chose the Evans School: Rowena joined the Evans School because she appreciates the interdisciplinary scope of the program, and felt very positive vibes from the Evans School staff, faculty, and students.  And of course...the Pacific Northwest, her beautiful home base.

Maeve Russell

Hometown: Ithaca, New York

Focus: Program Evaluation & Policy Analysis, International Development


A self-described “liberal arts kid”, Maeve attended Wesleyan University for her undergraduate degree, and majored in both Government and Environmental Studies. Working for several organizations, she has seen social change manifest itself as a tuition-free school for girls in the slum of Kibera, tuberculosis treatment in Malawi, assisting refugees seeking security and livelihoods, and curriculum creation for Kenyan students. Her conviction in the value of community-driven services compelled her to seek an MPA graduate degree. Maeve is also pursuing a certificate in Global Health at the Department of Global Health in UW. She is a member of the student-led group, EvansWorld, and will be doing research for a professor this summer and academic year. When she’s not haunting the halls of Parrington, Maeve enjoys exploring her new home, drinking a cold beer with friends, and soaking up all the vitamin D that she can when the sun shines.

Why Maeve chose the Evans School: Choosing a graduate program was an admittedly difficult process for Maeve. While there are many prestigious and high-ranking schools to choose from, Evans was the only school where Maeve felt a real connection to the students and faculty. There seemed to be more opportunities to engage in research and the participate in reformations of the school itself. As an epicenter for persistent and innovative work in the field of global health, the city of Seattle itself also held an appeal for Maeve. Also, hailing from the cold Northeast, Maeve wanted to see what all the hype surrounding Seattle was about.

Name: Michaella Rogers
Hometown: Westminster, CO
Focus: International Development

Michaella grew up in Colorado near Denver and attended the University of Colorado Boulder where she studied International Affairs and Italian. After graduating, she spent several years as a General Manager of a small business and volunteered with local nonprofits focused on international education. Michaella chose to pursue an MPA to gain more skills in quantitative analysis and finance. Her interests include international development, financial management, corporate social responsibility, and cross-sectorial partnerships. She is also pursuing the Technology Entrepreneurship Certificate at the Foster School of Business. Outside of school Michaella enjoys running around Green Lake, binge watching Netflix, eating earl grey ice cream from Molly Moon’s, and cuddling with her cat, Peppers.

Why Michaella chose the Evans School: Michaella was set on attending an MPP program before she came to an Admitted Students Day at Evans. After learning more about the rigorous core and breadth of classes and professional opportunities available at Evans, she was convinced that it was the right place for her. She was also excited to live in the beautiful city of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest in general! 

Hannah Nochera 
Hometown: Old Saybrook, CT
Focus: International Development 

Originally from Connecticut, Hannah graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN in May 2015 with a double major in Spanish and Political Science. While in college, Hannah worked for the Center for Immigration Studies, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, and at the office of Congressman Joe Courtney. She moved to Seattle in September and is concentrating in International Development and Food Policy. On the side she works at Trader Joe’s and loves to go hiking and try out new restaurants around the city.

Why Hannah chose the Evans School: Hannah chose the Evans School because of the high caliber of professors and program. She also wanted to try out the west coast and live in a cool city like Seattle!

Name: Bryan Namba

Hometown: Glendale, Arizona

Focus: Social Policy & Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy Certificate


Bryan was raised in Glendale, Arizona and prior to moving to Seattle last year, was finishing his undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. While completing his BA in Political Science and Sociology, he helped create U of A‘s volunteer and civic engagement center and found his passion for philanthropy and a specific interest in housing policy. Bryan loves music, photography and exploring news coffee shops and restaurants on the weekends.

Why Bryan Chose the Evans School: Bryan chose the Evans School because of the hybrid of analytical and quantitative skills in addition to the management skills that were required. In addition, Seattle’s unique culture of giving and nonprofit work made it the perfect place to integrate himself into the housing policy and foundation work that he wanted to pursue. Also Dungeness crab.

Alissa Muller
Garland, Texas
Focus: Education Policy

Raised in the heart of the South, Alissa grew up in Dallas, Texas and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Public Relations in 2015. While at UT Austin, Alissa worked for several years as an event planner and then worked for the Texas Charter Schools Association. During her time at TCSA, she fell in love with education policy advocacy at the state level. Alissa is interested in education policy and nonprofit management. Outside of school, she is on the Board of Directors at Communities in Schools Peninsula. Her interests include: being a proud Navy wife, spending way too much money at Half Price Books, binge watching Gilmore Girls and eating ice cream, and a newfound love of both hiking and yoga. 

Why Alissa chose the Evans School: When researching degrees in Public Administration and Policy, the Evans School consistently ranked highly. She also wanted a well-rounded policy program that included building her (nonexistent) quantitative analysis skills as well as that allowed her to take some classes in the College of Education. Alissa feels incredibly blessed that the Navy stationed her husband at a base near the fourth best public policy school in the nation.  

James Moschella

Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts

Focus: Public Leadership, Science and Technology Policy


I am a Bostonian, by way of Las Vegas and even Turkey. I was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts and earned an undergraduate degree in political science and comparative politics from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. 

I worked on various political campaigns throughout Massachusetts and Nevada, and in regulatory support for cancer research trials at Dana Farber Cancer Institute before setting sails for the rains of Seattle. I'm  the Vice President of External Affairs at the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), and am active in the Science and Technology Student Interest Group (join our newsletter!). 

Outside of school and meetings, you'll probably find me with my phone in one hand tweeting and snapchatting, sitting at the bar watching the day's slate of baseball and soccer games. I have a passionate love for flags, national anthems, learning languages, and whiskey. 

Why James chose the Evans School: When I looked for schools, I had previously never heard of the Evans School. I pulled up a syllabus from my first possible "core" class, and read the opening paragraph. I sent a picture of it to my family asking what they thought. It discussed a passion for making the world a better place, solving social problems, and committing to public services.  When I received emphatic responses from my family telling me I was meant to be here, I knew that my only choice was Evans, and I'm ecstatic I'm here. 

Katie Maser
 Palo Alto, CA
Focus: Environmental Policy 

Katie is a proud (and self proclaimed)  “Double Husky” who graduated from the University of Washington in 2015 and received a B.A. in Political Science with a focus in international security and a double minor in Environmental Studies and Law, Societies & Justice. She is originally from the Bay Area but has called Seattle home for almost six years. Katie is interested in environmental and public health and is completing the Environmental Policy and Management Program Option through Evans. When she’s not studying or working, Katie enjoys exploring Seattle, dog watching, hiking, reading, Netflix, and most importantly, skiing every chance she gets. 

Why Katie chose Evans: Katie chose the Evans School because of its strong core curriculum (especially the quantitative classes)  as well as fantastic environmental policy options. She was familiar with Evans as an undergrad, and knew that this strong community would be the perfect place for her to pursue her master’s degree. She also loves Seattle more than anything and had no intention of leaving. 

Austin Kinney

Hometown: Waterloo, Iowa

Focus: Metropolitan and Regional Policy


I grew up in Iowa and then went to the University of Iowa and graduated May 2015. I earned a degree in Economics and another in Political Science. However, I wasn’t quite ready to leave school, so I decided to go straight into graduate school. While in undergrad, I worked for the Iowa Policy Research Organization, which focused on policies that affected the Iowa City area and the State of Iowa. Policies we researched included affordable housing, minimum wage, and traffic cameras. Also, I worked in student life for a majority of my undergrad (Resident Assistant), which led me to work with the Graduate & Professional Student Senate my first year of graduate school

At the Evans School, my primary interests include economic development and capital projects in cities and regions. Outside of school, I like to explore the different neighborhoods in Seattle, going to see live music, and working out and intramurals at the IMA.

Why Austin chose the Evans School: I chose the Evans School because it has the best mix of classes for learning about public sector management, while also providing a rich environment to engage in through professional development and social events. Additionally, I wanted to move to Seattle because it is at an exciting point for policy development and economic growth. The coffee is also the best in the world!

Holland Kitchell

Hometown: San Diego, California

Focus: Social Policy; Public and Financial Management


Holland is a Southern California native through and through: born in Los Angeles, raised in San Diego, and graduated from University of California, Irvine. In her undergraduate studies she double majored in Political Science and Sociology. After graduating she worked in fundraising for a human services nonprofit for several years. Through her first year at the Evans School and internship with Seattle Public Utilities, she is interested in how local government influences social policy. When not working or studying, she enjoys running, hiking, reading, and exploring Seattle’s many wonderful restaurants.

Why Holland chose the Evans School: Holland was drawn to the Evans School because of its reputation, but what really stood out was the school’s balance of management and policy curriculum. After speaking with ambassadors and Evans School staff, combined with Seattle’s strong public sector, she knew it was the right choice.

Sam Kelly-Quattrocchi
Santa Rosa, CA
Focus: Policy Analysis

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Sam is from Santa Rosa, California. After spending all his life soaking up that California sunshine Sam wanted a change and attended Oregon State University for 5 years where, after many many major changes, he graduated with two honors degrees in Social Work and Criminology. After graduating Sam followed his partner out to Oberlin, Ohio where they lived for 10 months before realizing 2 feet of snow and negative 20 degree weather was not their cup of tea. After being accepted into the Evans School Sam and his now husband moved back to the pacific northwest where they live happily with their two cats, Topsy and Turvy, in Redmond, 

Why Sam chose the Evans School: Sam always wanted a degree option that was general enough that he could follow his various career aspirations while still attending a top 10 school and getting a solid framework of understanding. The ample support from the school and the open house event sealed the deal for Sam and he has not regretted his decision since. 

Makeda Hope-Crichlow
Denver, Colorado
Focus: Social Policy

My name is Makeda Hope-Crichlow and I was born in Brooklyn, NY, but grew up mostly in the suburbs of Denver, CO. I'm a first generation everything: first generation immigrant, my whole family is from Barbados which is a small island in the Caribbean, first generation college graduate, and a soon to be first generation graduate school graduate. I went to Colorado State University, class of 2015, for undergrad (go Rammies!) with a degree in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts with minors in Ethnic Studies and Diversity in Law. As a person who never strays far from home and family, I looked for graduate programs that were away from home so I could spread my wings, and Seattle was the perfect place. 

My favorite things to do are shop, shop a little more, attend endless happy hours with my friends, binge watch Netflix and work out whenever I can! 

My academic area of interest is social policy, more specifically race and social justice, and social equity in all aspects of society. 

Why I chose Evans School: I chose Evans firstly because of its top 5 ranking and killer reputation. But, also as a person with limited work experience in the field that I am interested in, Evans was perfectly suited to give me the core skills I need to be competent and competitive in my career, the opportunity to gain work experience, and also a variety of perspectives to view policy problems and create policy solutions with. 


Mitch Hannoosh
Hometown: West Newbury, MA
Focus: Social Policy

I am a proud Bostonian. I grew up outside of the city and moved downtown after my graduation from Whitman College, spending 5 years there in sales and marketing roles in the private sector. After those 5 years, I realized I wasn’t motivated in the same way as my colleagues, and I wanted to seek out something I saw as more worthwhile. Public policy was the answer, and after I had spent my 4 years of college in Walla Walla, I had a desire to move back to the Northwest. At Evans, I have started to follow my passion for social policy—I am part of the leadership team for the Education and Social Policy student interest group. I now hope to pursue a career in fighting to break the cycles of poverty that exist in America. Since my time at the Evans School, I have found my peers and alumni to be the best sources of information and resources toward my career goals. There are some really amazing and impressive people in this program, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Why Mitch chose the Evans School: I chose Evans School because of its highly regarded MPA program and the outreach I received before making a decision. Additionally, I was drawn to Seattle because of its progressive nature. What better place to study public policy than a place that is so open to new ideas to combat its issues?

Yongping Guo

Hometown: Harbin, China

Focus: International development


I’m an international student originally from China. I did my undergraduate study in Beijing Foreign Studies University and my major was Japanese Language and Literature. After graduating I went to Evans School directly, but in the summer before, I was working for the International Liaison Department in the organizing committee office of IAAF World Championship. Due to the passion in international affairs, I chose International Development Certificate Program for my second year in Evans. I love dogs, cat videos & pictures, documentary films, horror movies, and the SIMS especially SIMS 2.

Why Yongping chose the Evans School: When researching degrees in Public Administration and Policy, Evans School consistently ranked highly. And Evans School is the only school that requires more than 70 credits to graduate. Comparing with most schools that only require less than 50 credits, I think Evans School maximizes the knowledge and skills that every student could take away.

Rosa Gimson

Hometown: Olympia, Washington

Focus: Social Policy and Non-Profit Management



I moved to the Pacific Northwest at the age of seven and consider this beautiful region my home.  After completing high school in Olympia, I studied Anthropology and Spanish at Linfield College in rural Oregon. Upon graduation, I completed a year of AmeriCorps service in downtown Seattle, working with chronically homeless and chemically addicted adults. I continued to work with this population as a program coordinator for a few years, but soon realized that I wanted to understand the systemic structures underlying major social issues like homelessness. My interests at Evans are social policy, non-profits, and international development. I am also involved with Partnership for Community and Diversity, with the goal to build a safe and inclusive space for everyone at Evans. Outside of school, I love to get outside, get crafty, and I enjoy a hearty meal with loved ones.


Why Rosa chose the Evans School: I chose the Evans school because when I visited, I found the professors engaging and the students warm and friendly. I felt like I had found my people- folks who care about social good, and want to take concrete steps to realize real change in our communities.

Viviana Garza
Arcadia, California
Focus: Women’s Rights, Equity, Social Justice, Intersection of Policy and Law

Viviana is a woman of many interests and passions ranging from policy analysis to a cappella music.  She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Religion and a certificate in Women and Gender Studies in 2010 then moved back to Los Angeles, CA.  She worked in the legal field for a small class action employment firm and the Office of the City Attorney while also working at a dance studio, dancing with a competition jazz dance team, and crossfitting.  Viviana came back to school to use her background in the legal field to focus on the intersection of policy and law to learn how to be a more widespread purveyor of change.  A self-professed geek, Viviana enjoys Doctor Who, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, kittens, and reading and viewing media that promotes strong diverse women.  This year, Viviana is looking forward to a fantastic year as the President of the student body with her new ESO team as well as running in her first half marathon (Beat the Blerch!), eating crazy amounts of Veggie Grill food and further exploring Seattle.

Why Viviana chose the Evans School: Viviana was incredibly surprised by how caring and engaged the staff, faculty and admin were to her while she was applying.  Their genuine care and emphasis on equity and public service along with the great academics, professors and network intrigued Viviana enough to uproot and move to Seattle.

Elise Evans
Burien, WA
Focus: Environmental Policy

Elise grew up in South King County and spent many summers working at a Girl Scout camp on the Olympic Peninsula, where she continues to volunteer.  She studied Environmental Studies and Dance at Mount Holyoke College in Western MA, with a semester abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica.  Elise spent the next several years working in environmental education with a number of local nonprofits, including Washington Trails Association and the YMCA.  She’s also proud of the work she did on behalf of the campaign for marriage equality in WA state. Most recently, she spent three years in the research and development lab of an energy storage start-up.

Elise is an intern with the King County Solid Waste Division, because waste management is awesome!  She is pursuing the Environmental Policy Program Option, and participates in the leadership of Green Evans and Out in Public.  Outside of school, she loves traveling, canoeing, kayaking, dancing, volunteering at the Beacon Food Forest, exploring tide pools, and eating dark chocolate.  

Why Elise chose the Evans School: After informational interviews with many community leaders, I concluded that an MPA was the right choice for my career.  I wanted to gain management skills and study the policy perspectives that would allow me to take action on climate change.  At the Evans School, I knew I would be surrounded by people who are compassionate public leaders in the PNW.  

Hayley Edmonston
 Puyallup, Washington
Focus: Environmental Policy

I grew up as a “park brat”, moving between six national parks with my ranger parents, before settling in Seattle to get my bachelor’s degree in Law, Societies, and Justice at UW. Before graduate school I spent three seasons as a park ranger myself, developing and presenting environmental education programs at Mount Rainier NP and Glacier NP. I came to Evans to learn to shape and manage environmental policy instead of teaching others about it. During my first year I developed and applied my MPA skills in an internship at the King County Auditor’s Office. I am also on the leadership team for Green Evans, the environmental policy student interest group. When school isn’t monopolizing my time I love to explore new places in the city and the beautiful mountains that surround it. 

Why Hayley chose the Evans School: I chose Evans for a simple reason: bang for my buck. It has the prestige and rigor of the other top programs I applied to, but when the financial aid packages came in, it was less than a quarter the cost of any other school I was considering. In addition, I liked that Evans has an established environmental policy concentration, and is part of a progressive and innovative community. And beautiful Seattle doesn't hurt!

Peder Digre
Hendricks, Minnesota
Focus: Health Policy

Peder grew up in a small Norwegian town of 700 people in Minnesota. After high school, he chose to experience the “big city” life in Seattle. He attended the University of Washington and earned a BS in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, a BA in Scandinavian Area Studies, and minors in Global Health and Norwegian. During college, Peder realized that public health was his passion and allowed him to combine his interests in biological science and social science. He worked with the Department of Global Health and the Washington Global Health Alliance during school. Peder started work at PATH after graduation, where he has worked for the past three years. His work at PATH as focused on product development and organizational strategy. The interest in public health has continued at the Evans School, where Peder’s areas of interest are international development, and health policy and economics. Outside of school, Peder can be found camping, hiking, and skiing around the Pacific Northwest. He loves traveling, cooking, reading, and searching out the best study spots in Seattle.

Why Peder chose the Evans School: Peder chose the Evans School because it was the only MPA program he applied for. He knew that he wanted to do a dual MPA/MPH program the UW one of the top ten best programs in the US for each degree, and he didn’t want to leave Seattle—so the Evans School was a natural fit! In addition to only having one choice, Peder had heard about the great reputation of the Evans School from many friends who are Evans alumni, and was very interested in the breadth of skills and knowledge the Evans curriculum covers.

Karen Chen
San Diego, CA
Focus: Environmental Policy

Karen was born and raised in San Diego, CA and relocated to the Bay Area to get her BA in Integrative Biology and Minor in Music at UC Berkeley. There, she found an interest in service and leadership through the Kiwanis-sponsored collegiate organization, Circle K International. After studying abroad in Sydney for her final semester in 2012, she ended up back in San Diego, where she explored a couple different career options such as physical therapy and event planning. Eventually, she ended up serving in AmeriCorps VISTA at an arts and social services nonprofit, where she learned a lot in the development department and got inspired to apply to MPA programs.

Karen is focusing her studies at the Evans School on the Environmental Policy and on Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation. She is also enjoying being able to take classes in the Environmental Health department of UW's School of Public Health. This summer, she is interning at the CDC in the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) as an Environmental Health Intern to research cost impacts of environmental public health conditions and exposures for policy and decision-making.

Why Karen chose the Evans School: Karen chose the Evans School because she loved Seattle when she visited. The school also has a pretty great environmental program and is located in a great place in the country for environmental policy. Also, the fellowship didn't hurt.

Sarah Bollard
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Focus:  Non-profit Management & Philanthropy

Sarah is a native to Seattle, growing up in the Ravenna neighborhood. She completed her undergraduate at Western Washington University studying history and comparative politics. During her junior year, she studied abroad in Gashora, Rwanda, where she solidified her interest and passion for international non-profit work. After undergrad, she worked for a year at WWU’s Center for Pacific Northwest Studies as a project archivist before applying to the PeaceCorp Master’s Program at Evans. Sarah is currently working for the UW Division of the Attorney General’s Office. Although she left the PCMI program to pursue other interests, she is excited to be a part of the Non-Profit Management Certificate program here at Evans and is still interested both in management and international non-profit work. Outside of class, Sarah plays for a Seattle community quidditch team, loves to go hiking and playing with her dog, Ruby!

Why Sarah chose the Evans School: Sarah chose to come to Evans because of their comprehensive curriculum in nonprofit management and international development. Coming to Evans allowed her to advance technical skills in the realms on management, budgeting, analysis and development. 

Cassie Ballering

Hometown: Appleton, WI

Focus: Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy


I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2011. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so I moved to Sydney, Australia for a year following graduation and discovered a new found love for traveling. After multiple adventures traveling abroad, I decided it was time to really decide what path I wanted to take in life. I completed an internship at Best Friends Animal Society in southern Utah and really gained a passion for animal welfare issues. Upon completion of my internship, I spent close to a year at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah and enjoyed learning the ins-and-outs of the nonprofit world. In my free time I enjoy hiking, yoga, playing with dogs, and reading good books. 

Why Cassie chose the Evans School: When researching grad schools, I noticed Evan’s high ranking among Public Policy programs and the high employment rates following graduation. The Nonprofit Management Certificate track option was also a big draw for me and I had always considered moving to the Pacific Northwest. I felt a sense of community within the program when I attended one of the open houses for admitted students in the spring and that made my decision even easier.

Jackie Allen
Kenmore & Seattle, Washington
Focus: International Development; Nonprofit Management

I was born in Seattle and grew up in Kenmore, a suburb on the north end of Lake Washington. She graduated from the University of Washington, with a major in International Development at the Jackson School with minors in Environmental Studies and Geography. As an undergrad, I began my international interests by studying abroad in South Africa and India, where I volunteered with an international non-governmental organization. As an agroforestry volunteer with the Peace Corps, in Senegal, West Africa, I worked closely with my village and regional women's groups. These experiencces solidified my interest in improving the lives of women and children. 

I currently work for a Seattle based global health nonprofit that shares this mission. I attend events hosted by the environment, international affairs, and non-profit student interest groups, Green Evans, Evans World and Non-Profit Network, respectively, when able. I am also pursuing the Nonprofit Management and International Development Certificates. When not working or studying, I enjoy cooking, rock climbing, yoga, hiking and travelling. 

Why Jackie chose the Evans School: Jackie chose Evans to build technical skills to advance her career, while also staying true to her interests. High recommendations from alumni and current students coupled with Evans’ reputation and ranking made it an easy decision!


Yingxing Zhang (Brian)

Hometown: Kunming, China

Focus: Public Policy Analysis, Social Policy, Public Leadership and Management


I am from a southwestern city in China called Kunming (Spring City as known to people). I came to study abroad in the U.S. about 5 years ago in the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire as Public Relations major and Global Studies minor. During the past years I worked with classmates, school faculty members, and clients to build a more cultural diverse and integrated community through various service events and projects. Through experiences such as volunteering in different nonprofit organizations and working for international students, I found my passion in helping people to be more empowered and promoting equity, mutual respect and understandings through the magic of public service delivery. After enjoying 5-6 months heavy snow climate of the mid-west for 4 years, I decided to move to Seattle to breath the west-coast air because of its location, culture, and people. My interest in MPA program is broad, including social policy, policy analysis, leadership and management, and metropolitan planning. I plan to improve my data and policy analysis skills and help people and organizations to make more wise decisions to benefit the society in the future. During spare time, I love to hang out with people such as going hiking, playing sports (racket, tennis, swim, and Ping-Pong), and chatting with people for different topics.

Why Yingxing Chose the Evans School: I love Seattle, and Evans School is has the best MPA program in this area and a very high reputation in the country. Evans School was one of the options during my application, but I got the admission response very fast from the faculty, and continued communication with them before making the final decision. I visited Evans School and talked to second year students and faculties, their big welcome made me feel I was falling in love with this great community.