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Jason Ewas (far right) pictured with Joyce Linehan (far left) at The Marble Collection's pop-up gallery exhibit in November. Image by: Donna Neal
December 14, 2016

First Recipient of UMass Boston Mayor’s Fellowship Working on Research, Data, Policy

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  • Boston

Jason Ewas ’16, the first recipient of the Mayor’s Office – UMass Boston Policy Research Fellowship, has been working for the Walsh Administration for the last six months, researching worker cooperatives and creating a dashboard to better keep track of the city’s boards and commissions.

Ewas splits his time between the Mayor’s Office of Policy and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.

“This is my dream position. I can honestly say when I entered the Master of Public Administration Program that I hoped that I would end up in a position like this,” Ewas said.

Ewas graduated from the McCormack Graduate School’s Master of Public Administration Program in May. By July, he was getting paid to work 35 hours a week alongside several key members of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s staff: Chief of Policy Joyce Linehan ‘96, '04; Trinh Nguyen, director of the Office of Workforce Development; and Nigel Jacob, director of Boston’s i-team and co-founder of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. MONUM serves as Mayor Walsh’s civic innovation group, piloting experiments that have the potential to significantly improve the quality of city services.

The mayor’s office and UMass Boston are jointly funding Ewas’s position through the end of June.

“It is an opportunity to work with extremely talented people, to delve into extremely interesting projects,” Ewas said. “For me, worker cooperatives are something I dreamed of pursuing, but I never thought I would have had the chance to do so. I’ve been given the flexibility to explore and delve into this. I don’t think I would have been able to do this anywhere else.”

Ewas has been working on getting cooperatives registered so the city can buy products from them, and he is helping to organize a workshop for small businesses and worker cooperatives this month. He has also helped to update a spreadsheet showing the city’s list of boards and commissions. Thanks to the dashboard he created, department heads can easily see when positions are open and when terms are going to end.

“If you’re looking to work in policy, this is the job,” Ewas said.

During his two years at UMass Boston, the 25-year-old Halifax, Massachusetts native was very active. He served as a research assistant to Ira Jackson in 2014 when Jackson was chair of the Special Advisory Commission on Public Officials’ Compensation, did data analysis, and wrote a large part of the report. Ewas also served as a research associate for The Mobility Project, which seeks to develop policy changes that lead to measurable gains in economic opportunity and advancement, and helped Padraig O’Malley, the John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation at the McCormack Graduate School, write the founding document for the forum he is convening in Bulgaria in March 2017 on marginalized Muslim youth.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit www.umb.edu.

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