From left: Jenna DeAngelo, Lincoln Institute; Thomas James, Government Accountability Office; Natalie Keegan, Congressional Research Service; and Betsy Gardner, Northeastern University. Courtesy photo
By Jenna DeAngelo
It was a little difficult to find an internship while I was a student because I worked full time (in an unrelated field) and needed a flexible internship so that I could continue to work to pay the bills. I didn’t want the typical “do research on your own time” internship that full-time workers/part-time students tend to do. I wanted the real intern experience. Luckily, I found the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, an international think tank and private operating foundation in Cambridge that seeks to improve quality of life through the effective use, taxation, and stewardship of land.
Right around the time I joined the Lincoln Institute in 2015, they were launching a multi-year campaign on the importance of municipal fiscal health. I was charged with researching local government fiscal health, helping draft campaign materials, and assisting in coordinating programs and events, such as a congressional briefing in D.C.
After my internship ended, I stayed on part-time and eventually became a full-time employee in 2016. I am now the program manager for International and Institute-wide Initiatives, where I help advance and execute institute-wide campaigns, engage in research and curriculum development, and manage data tools and resources—among other things.
I’ve been involved in many interesting projects this past year. In October 2016, I traveled with several of my colleagues to Quito, Ecuador, to participate in the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). Throughout the year, I’ve helped coordinate and review original research that we commissioned on municipal fiscal health. I’ve also helped manage a few data projects, including a mapping tool of the U.S. that contains a multitude of datasets ranging from housing affordability to deficient bridges to government spending. We are planning to officially launch the website this summer.
Furthermore, one of my main research projects focuses on the issue of unspent federal grants at the local level. We worked with two Northeastern University capstone groups this past year to help us further this research. I helped organize a roundtable in Washington D.C. where we brought together public and private stakeholders to discuss the problem of unspent grants, as well as talk about solutions, best practices, and ideas for making the intergovernmental transfer system work more efficient and effective. I moderated a panel at the event, which featured one of the Northeastern capstone students, Betsy Gardner.
I also had the privilege of speaking about this research at a seminar organized by my colleagues in the Department of Valuation and Taxation, in partnership with the New England Public Policy Center. The event, Economic Perspectives on State and Local Taxes, gathered New England legislators to discuss the federal impact on state and local governments, issues in property taxation and value capture, and evaluating tax incentives.
For the last several months, I had been working with my colleagues to coordinate a fiscal track at the American Planning Association’s National Conference in New York City this May. We successfully put together several panels that introduced the pillars of municipal fiscal health to the planning community and had an amazing turnout at our sessions.
The projects I’ve been involved in and the people I’ve gotten to work with have made my job so rewarding. My current position has also been a huge learning opportunity, as I’ve been exposed to several great research projects and have been able to talk with experts from many different fields. The education I received from Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs helped prepare me for this amazing career, and I’m glad I am now working at a place where I can grow and succeed.
Jenna DeAngelo is a program manager at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Prior to joining Lincoln Institute, Jenna was a senior benefits administration analyst at Xerox Business Services and a human resources analyst at the MBTA. Jenna earned her B.S. in Economics and MS in Urban and Regional Policy from Northeastern University.
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