Janna Higgins, a Master of Social Work student at the University of Washington, is joining EOI for the school year as a Graduate Policy Intern. Below, she shares more about her background and why she is excited to work with EOI.
Janna received her bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from Portland State University and brings experience as a social worker for at-risk youth and as a researcher in developmental disabilities at Oregon Health and Science University.
“It was as a youth care social worker that I became convinced of the importance of preventing adolescent behavior problems before entering the juvenile justice system. Inequalities within societies have been shown to have strong determinants in health and societal functions. Bridging the gap in economic inequalities is virtually impossible to do without changes in policies that govern society. It was for this reason that I decided to go back to school and advocate for social justice.”
In school, Janna is focusing on administration and policy. “I hope to take the skills I’m learning at EOI to make public health policy changes on issues that affect families, particularly families of color.”
“My passions are working with at-risk youth and developing policies that promote equity and social justice for all people. EOI is a perfect opportunity to grow and assist in the promotion of broad economic opportunity.” In her position this year, Janna will focus on assessing Seattle’s new Paid Sick and Safe Leave policy, especially with regard to potential barriers communities of color may face in accessing paid sick leave benefits.
While she’s here, Janna hopes to learn how to shape public debate and advance new policy ideas. “I don’t think the system is fair. I definitely want to work on changing that.”
Welcome to EOI, Janna! We’re excited to have you on board.