Alani headshot

Emerson Fellow

Alysha Alani

23rd Class, 2016-2017

Alysha graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from the University of Rochester. She graduated college with a B.A. in anthropology and Spanish and minors in public health and gender studies before pursuing an interdisciplinary year-long study of media and social change through the Take 5 fellowship program. As an undergrad, Alysha organized around social, racial, economic, health and environmental justice issues with GlobeMed and Students for a Democratic Society. Alysha also had the privilege of serving as a research assistant at the Susan B. Anthony Center working on issues such as the local gender wage gap and qualitative research projects on collegiate perceptions of feminism.

Field placement: United Way of King County

Seattle, Washington

Alysha worked with the Financial Stability Team to ensure that King County residents are able to weather financial shocks and work towards long term financial stability. Alysha implemented two innovative products (myRA and the EARN Starter Savings Program) to decrease barriers to savings among low income taxpayers and community college students in partnership with United Way's Free Income Tax Preparation (VITA) program and the new Housing Ready Crisis Resilient program. With a focus on able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs), Alysha’s policy and program evaluation work analyzed the USDA’s SNAP time limit policy and its impact on King County’s workfare opportunities, employment, and training programs.

Policy placement: New America Foundation

Washington, DC

At New America, Alysha worked with the Family-Centered Social Policy program. This initiative seeks to revolutionize the policymaking process by placing the families most underserved by our existing approach at the center of policy discourse and design for more equitable outcomes. Alysha researched statements from key stakeholders in policy development that indicate bias in order to trace the genealogy of these narratives and show how they translate into inequitable policy outcomes. She contributed those findings to a policy paper based on focus groups of people utilizing public assistance programs in Jackson, MS, and designed visual representations of this research. Alysha also explored how technology can impact people's experiences with using and applying for welfare programs.

Hunger Free Community Report

"New Year, New Waiver: Recommendations for Connecting Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents to Basic Food in King County, WA", profiles the demographic of King County residents affected by the SNAP time limit policy and includes recommendations for how United Way can support able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) through programmatic interventions, advocacy, and funding.

Publications & Blog Posts