UMass Boston Alumni work to identify city’s economic mobility gaps through mayor’s fellowship
For the second consecutive year, a UMass Boston graduate has a fellowship in the Mayor of Boston’s office, helping to drive policy and working to better the lives of the city’s residents.
Katy Gall ’17, who graduated from the McCormack Graduate School’s Master of Public Administration Program in May, is working alongside last year’s fellow, Jason Ewas ’16, in the new Economic Mobility Lab. Ewas is the executive director of the project, which comes out of the city’s resilience and racial equity strategy.
“Our job at the Economic Mobility Lab is to think of ways that the city can help support and promote economic mobility for residents of Boston,” Gall said. “We are right now doing a lot of conversations with residents and front-line service providers and nonprofit partners to understand what they think about planning for the future, thinking about their finances, and to assess what the barriers are for economic mobility in Boston so that we can help people overcome those barriers or think about the supports for people.”
This is a planning year for the lab, which operates on the principle that no one family needs the exact same supports. Now Gall is doing in-depth interviews. She’ll also be conducting a series of focus groups. Gall and Ewas hope to have results to share this summer.
“For some families, it’s really just about stability, having a place to live, having a predictable income, having the basics—enough food on table—and for some families they really want to think about achieving home ownership or they want to think about saving for an education or paying for an education, things that will help them build a pathway to the middle class,” Gall said.
Gall came to UMass Boston after working for 15 years as a labor and community organizer. She liked the fact that UMass Boston’s MPA program was one she could compete while working, and she loved the cohort model. She has already reached out to others in her cohort in her first two months in the mayor’s office.
“I think [the fellowship] is an amazing opportunity to see the working of city government from the inside. There are so many really dedicated people doing really interesting work within City Hall and everybody’s very open to sharing what they’re working on, in a way that I didn’t necessarily expect before I started,” Gall said. “I would say it’s a huge opportunity to get to see how decision-making works in the city from the inside.”
“The UMass Boston Policy Research Fellowship is a great program for both UMass Boston and the city,” said Chief of Policy Joyce Linehan ’96. “As an alum, I'm proud of our close partnership with UMass Boston, and look forward to Katy's successful fellowship as she helps Boston work toward its equity goals.”
The mayor’s office and UMass Boston are jointly funding Gall’s position.