Hana Jang just completed her Betty Jane Narver Policy Fellowship with the Budget & Policy Center. She is receiving her master’s degree from the University of Washington School of Social Work this month. An advocate for social and economic justice, Hana’s studies focused on policies that promote economic prosperity and early childhood learning and development. We checked in with her to hear more about her time with us and what her hopes are for the future.
Why did you apply for the Narver Fellowship with us?
I first learned of the Budget & Policy Center early into my graduate program at the University of Washington School of Social Work. I had just moved to Seattle after spending a number of years abroad, and found the Budget & Policy Center’s thoughtful and rigorous analyses to be helpful in orienting me to the policy landscape of Washington state. The Center has an amazing team of policy wonks who center the long-term well-being of Washingtonians through state-level policy analysis and advocacy, and I thought this would be a unique opportunity to learn from the experts.
What are some highlights of what you’ve learned?
One of the most exciting aspects of the Narver Fellowship was being able to expand on my prior knowledge and experience with policy advocacy, and apply it to the work being done at the Budget & Policy Center. I had the privilege of working closely with the Center’s senior analyst, Jennifer Tran, and communications director, Melinda Young-Flynn, on a soon-to-be-published brief highlighting how child savings accounts promote economic opportunities for Washington kids and families. Through this work, I was able to take a lead role in researching and analyzing data on child savings accounts, help with the production process, and build relationships with community organizations, legislators, and thought-partners to help elevate the conversation around asset-building in Washington.
Being a Narver fellow also granted me access to a plethora of resources and opportunities to build knowledge in areas I wanted to grow in. I learned about the critical role the state budget plays in advancing policies that best uplift and care for Washington communities, while partnering with organizations to mobilize folks on the ground to push for change in Olympia.
What were some of your favorite experiences during your fellowship?
I have had so many amazing experiences as a Narver fellow, it is almost overwhelming to think about; but the most meaningful experiences came out of building relationships with folks who are working in various realms of policy and advocacy throughout Washington state, and throughout the country.
I had the chance to shadow Senator Rebecca Saldaña and learn about her approach to partnering with her district to work toward change through the legislative process. Also, I had the opportunity to shadow Lori Pfingst, chief of policy and programs at the Department of Social & Health Services [and former Budget & Policy Center staffer!] to gain an understanding of how state-level departments are creating pathways for every Washingtonian to move toward fulfilling their goals and dreams.
And although my time at the Center was filled with opportunities to learn and grow, I still most enjoyed the time staff members came together to eat lunch, share stories, and laugh uncontrollably together!
Did anything surprise you from your time with us?
The folks at the Center are doing really expert, dynamic, meaningful, and time-consuming work. Yet I was surprised by how much time was invested in my professional development and mentorship. I was regarded as an important voice at the table, and was treated as a member of staff.
A lot of time and energy goes into ensuring complex ideas and policies are accessible and approachable to the public. And although it was not surprising given the caliber of the organization, it was great to know that Budget & Policy is committed to going the extra mile to ensure that their materials are just that.
How has the fellowship supported your career goals?
I am very fortunate to be starting a new phase of my career at a time when there are meaningful opportunities to engage in the policy arena and push the needle toward equity. The Narver Fellowship has equipped me with the tools to advocate for policies that promote equity and inclusion and work toward dismantling harmful narratives – and to do so in partnership with communities. I am grateful to the Budget & Policy Center for serving as a model for advancing bold policies and legislation, and I am hopeful for the opportunity to work with the
Budget & Policy Center again in the future!
All of us at the Budget & Policy Center wish Hana the best of luck in the future!