Alumni Ambassadors

Alumni Ambassadors are alumni representatives who embody the values and aims of the M.A. in Policy Studies program. As alumni working across diverse roles and sectors, they support prospective students, current students, and fellow alumni by sharing how they’ve translated their degrees and navigated their careers.

Learn about our Alumni Ambassadors and email them directly at

Jean Balbon, '18

Photo of Jean BalbonJean Balbon is a District Office Coordinator at VALIC Financial Advisors Inc. He advocates for taxing the world's ultra-rich, free from loop holes, and accountability for the country's financial miscalculations in the past. He disfavors the 1% and their direct/indirect participation in manipulating and influencing economies. He disfavors their role in increasing shaky loans and feeding market speculation. Jean just wants a level playing field of opportunities for everyone.

Equipped with his personal and professional experience, Jean wants to decrease the U.S.' increasing gap in wealth disparity and the economy's recession and depression cycles by implementing fundamental monetary and institutional reforms.  Jean Balbon for 2020!

Jennifer Clarke, '08

Photo of Jennifer ClarkeJennifer’s career in corporate social responsibility has taken her from office cubicles and UW Bothell classrooms to manufacturing plants in India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and China.  She began her career as a social responsibility specialist at Nordstrom (while also pursuing her M.A. in Policy Studies), and then spent nine years at the Fair Labor Association (FLA) supporting licensees in their program development and later leading the organization’s accreditation program, evaluating high-performing responsible sourcing programs.

Today she is the Director of Supplier Ownership at ELEVATE Global Limited, a leading business risk and sustainability solutions provider where she helps retailers and brands develop strategies that recognize supplier performance and assist suppliers to build effective and responsible sourcing programs. Under Jennifer’s leadership, ELEVATE has helped retailers and customers develop specific guidelines, policies, and a graduation path to build capability among suppliers to manage and take ownership of improvement plans. In addition to her M.A. from UW Bothell, she holds a B.A. from McGill University.

Jefferson Ketchel, '08

Jefferson Ketchel is the administrator of the Snohomish Health District located in Everett, Washington. Jeff joined the Health District as the environmental health director in July 2015 and has been the administrator since April 2017. He currently serves as vice chair of the Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition and as board member of Leadership Snohomish County.

Prior to his current position, he spent five years at the Grant County Health District (WA) where he served as the administrator. During that time he was president of the Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials, Chair of the Washington State Board of Registered Sanitarians, and Board President of Family Services of Grant County.  Prior to Grant County, he spent 15 years at Public Health-Seattle & King County in the environmental health division.

Jefferson is a graduate of Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative’s Executive Education Program and the CDC’s Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute. He is a Registered Sanitarian in Washington State.  Jefferson received his M.A. in Policy Studies from UW Bothell where he is a member of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences Hall of Alumni Excellence.

Brandon Mayfield, '10

Brandon Mayfield is a Grants and Contracts Business Partner for the U.S. Program at  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The U.S. Program works to improve U.S. high school and postsecondary education and support vulnerable children and families in Washington State. In his role, Brandon is responsible for grant and organizational compliance, agreement drafting, amendment management, and ongoing grants support for a portfolio of grantee partners.  Prior to Gates Foundation, Brandon worked in regulatory compliance in the customer service industry. 

Brandon holds an M.A. in Policy Studies from University of Washington Bothell and a B.A. in Political Science and Social Studies from Western Washington University.

Benjamin Studley, '18

Photo of Benjamin StudleyBenjamin Studley holds an M.A. in Policy Studies and B.A. in Community Psychology from University of Washington Bothell. He served his country as a Chief Gunnersmate in the United States Navy from 1998-2014, and after completing his bachelor’s degree in 2016, began working for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Veteran Case Worker & Field Representative. 

As the 1st Congressional District Veteran’s liaison in the Office of Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, he continues on his path of service by providing his fellow veterans with the resources and assistance they need to succeed. Ben believes in accountability and accessibility in order for the federal government to function at the highest possible level. “Not all soldiers come back home broken,” he says, “but we need to be there for the ones who do.”

Alumni Stories

Learn about other Policy Studies alumni.