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2017 Jackson Fellows' Projects

Each member of the 2017 class of Henry M. Jackson Leadership Fellows is committed to develop and execute a personal project during their fellowship year. The goal is to apply the learning of the year to their projects, share the experience with other Fellows, and to be of benefit to the community. All of the projects are compelling and reflect the interests of the Fellows and the Foundation.

Alex Adams: Alex Adams: Alex’s project combines his interest in maritime education and climate change. He plans to utilize the King County Water Taxi as an educational platform for students of all ages and backgrounds to learn about careers in government, the maritime industry, and environmental stewardship. A key objective of this project is to advance Senator Jackson’s legacy of inspiring student engagement in the outdoors, advancing equity and social justice, building coalitions, and leading environmental education initiatives. 

The scope of this project focuses on program design and establishing key partnerships with educational and maritime industry organizations necessary to provide students with an interesting experience on Puget Sound and connections to opportunities to pursue their maritime or environmental interests. Alex will develop program structure, content, and build new partnerships that enable King County Marine Division to launch and host reoccurring educational events aboard the Water Taxi, starting in 2017. A successful project outcome is an education program that adds value to King County and to students throughout the region.

Connor Birkeland: Connor’s project is to research the feasibility of enacting Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) in Washington State. PACE is a financial mechanism for both commercial and residential renewable energy utilized in 30 states. By attaching payments to property taxes and extending payment terms to 15 years, PACE removes two of the largest barriers for those looking to deploy local renewable energy. Additionally, PACE offers an opportunity for lower income individuals to reduce their disproportionally larger energy bills and increase their disposable income.

The initial research will culminate in a white paper looking at the economic impact of PACE on a variety of stakeholders in Washington State. This white paper will then be used to shape the drafting of a policy. Connor will work with WA State Legislators to have the policy introduced.

Radha Friedman: Radha’s project seeks to map the current landscape of Seattle-based global philanthropy addressing the rights and needs of women and girls. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, and as Seattle continues to grow in terms of population and influence, our region is playing a more prominent role in philanthropy. Businesses like Amazon and Microsoft are creating new wealth in the PNW region, and many more individuals are seeking a way to give back. However, while there are sources of information to guide these new philanthropists about local causes and local organizations, there is no unified source of information or guidance on giving globally.

By identifying the gaps and opportunities to support women and girls, Radha will hold an event in partnership with others in philanthropy to share the findings of this mapping exercise, as well as profile opportunities for support.

Nora Ferm Nickum: Nora’s project focuses on interviewing Seattle-area businesses to identify and document creative and meaningful actions that they are taking to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions or building resilience to local impacts. This work, done in collaboration with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, builds on a report that Nora supported in 2016, which covered businesses like Alaska Airlines, Virginia Mason, and Microsoft. The new stories and images will include actions being taken by smaller businesses in the region. Her project resulted in an event with some of the businesses she interviewed. Read more about her project here.

Alyssa Patrick: Alyssa is working with the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) on an industry workshop that will give local companies the tools they need to develop a high school internship program with TAF Academy students. The TAF Academy aims to equip students of color for success in college and life through interdisciplinary STEM education. Internships are one way students are introduced to local companies, an important step to developing the professional skills and relationships that lead to jobs. TAF’s relationship with the Federal Way School District and local companies are examples of the public-private partnerships needed to develop a truly diverse workforce and future leadership. Alyssa wants to continue learning more about these relationships, and following Senator Jackson’s legacy, help develop and support the long-term solutions needed to create more vibrant, equitable communities.

Kiana Scott: Kiana’s project, titled "Resilient Leadership for the Changing World," convened a panel of local and regional leaders for a conversation about knowing when to take risks, recovering from failure, and joyful public service. King County Council President Joe McDermott, Director of Administrative Services for Sammamish Beth Goldberg, Seattle City School Board member Stephan Blanford, and State Representative Vandana Slatter were panelists, with City of Seattle Director of Resilience Edie Gilliss moderating. Jackson Foundation Board Member Maria Denny, who is also on the Evans School's Advisory Board, joined Kiana in offering words of welcome. This project built upon the strong relationship between the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and the Evans School, and leveraged Kiana’s professional role as an Evans School staff member.

Amarpreet Sethi: Amarpreet is committed to the building industry embracing principles that give high importance to both energy performance and wellness. She believes that there is an opportunity for the United States to learn from the innovation and leadership in Europe in designing buildings holistically. Amarpreet’s project will highlight relevant examples in Germany and Scandinavia to illuminate the practical ways in which building owners can begin to incorporate an overarching goal of developing buildings that are high performing and meet a higher standard of health and well-being of its users. The outcome of this research will be an article that will suggest the steps and ways of meeting this goal. The purpose of the research is to inspire developers to think differently and begin to set higher goals and values for energy performance and the impact the building has on the user’s health.

Maggie Wykowski: Maggie’s project will develop a landscape analysis of the current data assets and needs of the LGBTQ community in King County. Population-level data plays a critical role in current policy decisions across sectors. Her project seeks to expose where the current strengths and weaknesses are in the local data infrastructure in regards to LGBTQ communities. She will produce a short report on her findings written for a general public audience. Maggie will likely include a technical appendix that covers more of the details behind what’s available and what’s not. She plans on working closely with a local LGBTQ organization to host and promote the work once completed. Depending on the findings, she may hold a briefing or panel to share and discuss the results and promote recommendations.

Hans Zeiger: Hans’ project focuses on how Senator Henry M. Jackson built effective relationships during his long career in public service. It wasn't charisma that won Jackson his place in American history. Rather, Jackson is remembered by Senate colleagues and staff, academics and journalists, as well as hometown friends in Everett and everyday citizens across Washington State for the way he related to people. In a new era when Americans are feeling disconnected from their political leaders, Jackson can serve as a powerful model for a return to a more relational style of politics. Drawing from writings and speeches about Jackson as well interviews with former Jackson staff members, Hans will write an article on Jackson's distinctive way of connecting with people, intended for publication in a journal of history or politics.