Policy Studies Alumni Share their Career Paths with Students

Jeff Ketchel, Josh Thompson, Mariah Crystal, Vy Nguyen
L-R: Jeff Ketchel, Josh Thompson, Mariah Crystal, and Vy Nguyen

Four Policy Studies alumni recently met with current Policy Studies students to share their career trajectories and lessons learned along the way. Collectively, they highlighted the value and relevance of  their education, which built skills in research and analysis, program administration, critical thinking, advocacy, and collaboration.  Alumni included: Mariah Crystal (’10),  Jefferson Ketchel (’08), Vy Nguyen (’12), and Josh Thompson (’11).

Mariah Crystal currently serves as an International Admissions Advisor/Recruiter at UW Bothell.  Driven by a passion for human rights and international development, Mariah joined the Peace Corps in 2012, where she served in Namibia teaching English and computer skills.  She also co-led various community development projects, including a women’s group and a nutrition project for people living with HIV/AIDS.  Since her return from the Peace Corps, Mariah has returned to UW Bothell, working with international students.

Jefferson Ketchel is the Environmental Health Director of the Snohomish Health District. He has over 21 years of public health experience and holds a Masters in Policy Studies from the University of Washington. He is Past President of the Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials (WSALPHO) and a past Chair of the Washington State Board of Registered Sanitarians (WSBRS). He is a graduate of Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative Executive Education Program (NPLI) and the CDC’s Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute (EPHLI).

Vy Nguyen is a Policy Associate for OneAmerica.  She is a Seattle area native that has built a career based in community development and has a passion for social justice and equity issues. Some of Vy’s work has taken her as far as Azerbaijan with the U.S. Peace Corps, the other Washington as an intern for U.S. Representative Jim McDermott, and locally in White Center and Little Saigon around community building issues.

Josh Thompson serves as Legislative Aide at the Snohomish County Council and as a member of the Mayor's Climate Protection Committee in the City of Edmonds.  He was previously general manager of The Ruins in Seattle and has worked and volunteered in local politics for the last 12 years.