This has been a big month for Evan Walker. He finished his time with us as the 2019-20 Betty Jane Narver Policy Fellow and he completed his master’s degree in public policy from the University of Washington. As he now works on completing a Master of Jurisprudence from UW, he is moving into the role of part-time policy analyst on our team! We’re so excited that he will be staying on board. As a policy analyst, he will research social policy, with a focus on economic and housing security. Among other projects, Evan will play an important role in the policy team’s efforts to address the inequitable fines and fees levied in our state’s criminal legal system.
What inspired you to apply for the Narver Fellowship with us?
I have wanted to be involved in policy for years, but I did not know how I could fit within the process. When I saw the opportunity to be a Narver Fellow, I was immediately drawn to the position because not only had I already used research and data from the Budget &and Policy Center in my schoolwork, but I also appreciated the focus on seeking to extend economic security and well-being for all Washingtonians. The range of experiences that the position offered also piqued my interest and I had to apply. Additionally, I was excited to get engaged with the Budget & Policy Center’s deeper mission and focus on pushing for more equitable policies.
What are some key things that you learned?
I have learned a great deal about the legislative process in Washington state. I have learned more about what community partners in the area and state are doing and how it is important to support their efforts in that work. I have also learned more about the state budget and how key it is in identifying the values of Washington state’s government. I have learned (and re-affirmed) the value of community relations and partnership – policies are about people, and it has become even more important for me to center people and their power in the policy process.
What were some highlights of your fellowship experience?
Participating in staff retreats and community partner events has been wonderful because these moments made me feel more a part of the team and supported my professional development. I also have really enjoyed the hallway and one-on-one chats and support from different team members – I feel lucky to be surrounded by such compassionate and supportive folks that also all really care about public policy!
Did anything surprise you during your time with us?
I am surprised at how quickly my fellowship went – it truly flew by!
How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact your fellowship?
COVID-19 brought an amazing policy window for important structural changes that I did not think I would be able to experience alongside pursuing my public administration degree. I feel very fortunate to be on a team with such smart people that want to see policy changes that really bring more benefits, security, and health outcomes for all Washingtonians, particularly as important decisions need to be made to spur economic recovery and stimulus efforts.
What do you hope to do in your career?
I hope to support and enact just policy that provides greater economic and housing security to more people with the lenses of human and civil rights. I would like to either be a part of the creation of or advocacy for statewide (and federal if that’s where I end up) legislation, as well as work that deconstructs and decentralizes the power structures that exist within the policymaking process. I want to utilize my research and writing skills to also support policy implementation.