Although Tracy Yeung‘s time as the Betty Jane Narver Policy Fellow is ending, we are so thrilled that she will remain a part of our team as a State Policy Fellow through the State Priorities Partnership network! This June, she will graduate with a master’s degree in public health from the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program at the University of Washington. She will start her new role with us later in the summer, focusing on population health in Washington state.
What inspired you to apply for the Narver Fellowship with us?
My personal, educational, and professional background have all pushed me in the direction of doing policy work. From growing up in a very low-income family and working in a nonprofit to support unpaid family caregivers, I saw how many health issues, and particularly health inequities, need policy solutions. I studied public health in college and the focus on prevention and socio-ecological models also made me believe that changing public policy is the most impactful in improving the health of communities. The Narver Fellowship was the perfect opportunity to get my foot in the door and have great mentorship while doing so!
What are some highlights from your experience?
The Budget & Policy Center does so much incredible work and being able to plug into that was a great privilege. I helped to do research on the benefits of expanding unemployment insurance to people who were recently incarcerated. I remember while I was doing that, I was struck by the enormity of the potential real-life consequences of my research. Similarly, I conducted a racial equity analysis of economic modeling that showed how equitable revenue impacted job growth. Taking a huge dataset, breaking it down, and then presenting my findings was a really great learning opportunity. Another highlight was the staff hot cocoa bomb-making party to celebrate the end of the legislative session!
Did anything surprise you during your time with us?
I remember I was pleasantly surprised by how detailed and well thought-out the onboarding process was. I had very limited time for my fellowship and the first month or so was all planned out for me to meet one-on-one with all the staff members and get acquainted with them and to understand Budget & Policy Center as an organization. I was also surprised by how funny folks are and how strong their GIF game is!
What was it like doing this fellowship remotely?
Because everything is remote, I only know what most of the staff look like above the shoulders! But everyone has been very supportive, helpful, and accessible. The Teams chats are also very lively, so it created that atmosphere of chatting in the hallways.
In what ways were you able to bring your unique perspective to the work at the Budget & Policy Center?
Having a background in public health, I was able to bring in research that tied policies like the Earned Income Tax Credit to health outcomes. It was great to make the case that cash assistance is not only fiscally sound, but also improves health in many areas. That’s ultimately my goal in doing policy work – improving the health and well-being of people.
How do you hope to take what you learned here and apply it to your work in the future?
In addition to learning more about how to conduct data analysis, I also gained so much experience in communicating about policies and data to the public. Before this fellowship, I didn’t think much about the importance of communications when it comes to policymaking and this fellowship has certainly changed my mind! I plan to take what I’ve learned about analyzing and interpreting data and communications to bring more voices to the table and advocate together for policies that truly help our communities.