Journal Staff

Policy Perspectives Volume 25 features an Editor-In-Chief, Managing Editor, six authors, six Associate Editors, and a Layout and Design Editor.


Jessica BurnellJessica Burnell is a second-year Master of Public Administration candidate at the Trachtenberg School where she is focusing on federal policy, politics, and management and gender policy. She graduated from the George Washington University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics. She currently works as a research assistant at the Duke-Robert J. Margolis, MD Center for Health Policy. When not studying or working, Jessica enjoys obsessing over her cat, Alexandra, trying out new restaurants with her husband, and re-watching The West Wing.

Managing Editor

Brittany HarrisBrittany A. Harris is a second-year Master of Public Administration candidate at The George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School. She graduated from Drexel University with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management in 2009. After working in the hotel industry for several years, she became a Teach for America Corps Member in Metro Atlanta. Her three years as a 7th grade English teacher solidified her conviction that family, community, and school must work together for student success. With her degree, Brittany aims to make a larger impact on the lives of minority and low-income students through related policy and advocacy initiatives. In her spare time, Brittany enjoys reading, discovering new restaurants, and listening to podcasts.


FranAlbaPicFrancisca Alba is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, where she is focusing on social policy. She graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Sociology. Francisca is currently an Academic Intern at the Urban Institute’s Income and Benefits Policy Center.


MDotMatthew​ ​Dotzler​ is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate focusing on Foreign and Security Policy. Matt is from the San Francisco Bay area and has lived in Germany and Switzerland. Matt has made the most of his time in DC and has worked in the U.S. Congress and at the Center for European Policy analysis. He focuses on European diplomacy, NATO, and is working to specialize in Europe, Turkey, and the Middle East. Matt hopes to one day be a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department.

Laura (3)Laura Erickson is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at George Washington University, where she is concentrating in Social Policy. Her particular policy interest is the intersection of criminal justice and racial inequality.  She graduated from Auburn University in 2016 with degrees in Political Science and Sociology. Laura is a Child and Youth Policy Intern in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services. She also serves as the MPP Professional Development Co-Chair for the Trachtenberg Student Organization.

TinsaeGebrielPicTinsae Gebriel is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at GW’s Trachtenberg School and is concentrating in urban policy. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice. She currently works at the U.S. Department of Justice, providing legal support to federal trial attorneys. Tinsae aims to use her degree to dismantle the many social barriers that disproportionately impact people of color in urban settings and to provide equitable policy solutions. In her free time, Tinsae enjoys spending time with friends, watching The Office, and volunteering at ONE DC, a local community organizing group.

LKing HeadshotLauryn King is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate focusing on the intersectional impacts of social policies related to reproduction and fertility. She graduated from the George Washington University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Sociology in 2015. She currently works at the GW Institute for Public Policy, helping research professors administer their sponsored projects. When not working or studying, Lauryn enjoys gardening, volunteering, and singing in the World Bank-IMF Community Chorus.

AmandaSwansonPicAmanda Swanson is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate focusing on defense policy with a particular emphasis on United States military training doctrine. She is a native of Erie, Colorado and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics at the University of Kansas in 2014.

She currently works as a Research and Analysis Associate at the Professional Services Council (PSC), a trade association representing more than 400 companies across the government contracting industry. In her role, she conducts federal spending analysis on the behalf of both member companies and PSC leadership to support the association’s advocacy efforts. Amanda also works closely with PSC’s Senior Advisor on Research and Defense to explore emerging issues in defense policy and acquisition. Previously, she worked as a consultant with the United States Coast Guard to evaluate the organization’s efforts to combat transnational organized crime networks in the Western Hemisphere.

Associate Editors

MarissaEsthimer_WEB copyMarissa Esthimer is a first-year MPP candidate at the Trachtenberg School. Originally from Buffalo, NY, she graduated from Cornell University in 2012 with a B.A. in Government and Anthropology and a minor in International Relations. By day, she is the editor of the Migration Policy Institute’s online journal, the Migration Information Source, which provides data and analysis on migration issues to a global general audienceWith her degree, she hopes to focus on policies impacting immigrant and minority communities. In her spare time, she enjoys running, attending live performances, and trying new restaurants.

Carly Gordon copyCarly Gordon is a first-year MPA student at Trachtenberg with an interest in Higher Ed Policy. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in Spanish and Psychology, she stayed in Charlottesville to serve locally with AmeriCorps. As an adviser with the Virginia College Advising Corps program, she worked on addressing the widening gap in college access for low income, first generation, and underrepresented students. She currently works as a Financial Aid Champion with College Access Fairfax, a partner of Fairfax County Public Schools.

McCall Hopkin copyMcCall Hopkin is a first-year Master of Public Policy candidate at George Washington University. She grew up in Park City, Utah and loves the mountains. McCall started her policy career with United Way of Salt Lake, where she gained a deep appreciation for education reform work and the power of corporate social responsibility. Most recently, McCall worked with Q3 Student Partners to write and lobby Utah House Bill 312 on behalf of low-income and first-generation college students. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Political Science from Brigham Young University and enjoys yoga, film, and petting everyone’s dogs in D.C.

AbigailJ copyAbigail Johnson is a second-year Master of Public Administration candidate at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University. She received her bachelors in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavioral Analysis from the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. Her undergraduate work background includes running three psychology research labs, presenting findings as a ‘Presenting Author’ at the 2015 Association for Psychological Sciences (APS) convention, and designing a data gathering system for a small pharmaceutical research company. As a graduate student, she worked alongside co-director Dr. Robert Slater at the American Councils Research Center, assisting in designing a national Dual Language Immersion model for public K-5 schools and in establishing such model within the Delaware Department of Education’s system.

Claire Oto copyClaire Oto is a first-year MPP focusing on Foreign and Security Policy. She previously worked as a research assistant for Professor Samuel Kernell and graduated from UC San Diego with a BA in Comparative Politics.


PickeringM-0381 copyMatthew Pickering is a first year Master of Public Policy student at the Trachtenberg School and a native of central Pennsylvania. He spent several years in Philadelphia following undergraduate studies at Drexel University practicing architecture. He later moved on to a position with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. At Trachtenberg, Matthew hopes to concentrate in urban and fiscal policy in the hope of returning to public service after graduation. In his spare time he dreams of design, public policy, and making the world a better place through some combination of the two.

Layout and Design Editor

Ellen WangEllen Wang is a first year masters student in the Environmental Resource Policy (ENRP) program. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP program with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Communication Design in 2017. She’s working to combine complex ideas and concepts with better visual communication and storytelling methods. Ellen loves food, comics, board games, and travelling.


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