Jessica Casey graduated with a MS in Urban and Regional Policy in 2012. While at Northeastern, she was a graduate research assistant at the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy for two years. She is now Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Strategy and Planning for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).
This is Jessica’s Northeastern story…
Armed with a background in geographic information systems (GIS), Jessica wanted to find a graduate program that married both the technical and the theoretical policy pieces together. She discovered that the MS in Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern did exactly that.
“The way the program was described was exactly what I was looking for—a master’s degree in policy development and implementation being married with the analytical tools that would help one to determine how that policy would be rolled out effectively and what the implications of that policy would be.”
Jessica worked at the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy from 2010 to 2012, where she researched housing issues. She helped write and develop the 2010 Greater Boston Housing Report Card. During her time at the Dukakis Center, she also worked with the Affordable Housing Trust.
“I was able to use what I was actually learning at Northeastern to develop policy papers that helped policymakers at the state level make decisions.”
In her classes, Jessica mastered geographic information skills and learned statistics, economics, and cost-benefit analysis—all of which helped put numbers behind the policy work she was doing both in and outside of the classroom.
“One thing Northeastern did really well was they offered a curriculum that was very directly related to what was trending at the state level and in Boston at the time, which allowed students to collaborate and communicate with all the people in government who were working directly on the policy issues. For policy work that the professors felt was really useful, the professors and the program then had all the contacts at the city and state levels to transfer the policies over to the practitioners in the field.”
Since her graduation in 2012, Jessica has held leadership positions at various organizations including the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the Plymouth Regional Economic Foundation. She is now Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Strategy and Planning for the MBTA, and serves on the boards of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and South Eastern Economic Development.
In this video, Jessica discusses the work being done at the state and local levels.
“Every policy that we explore in government has intended and unintended consequences, and the ability to understand that is really dependent on the data we have on the policy. I think what Northeastern gave was the ability to take the information available to work through policies so that they’re more effective and efficient and the unintended consequences are minimized as much as possible. Also, the ability to then talk with practitioners to understand how a policy might be shaped to be more effective in that arena.”
Jessica says she is still in contact with her cohort of students and they meet up often. According to Jessica, fellow alumni work in fields related to their studies at Northeastern, such as economic development, affordable housing, and transportation policy.
“I think it really speaks to the success of the program that all the graduates are not only securing jobs in the fields in which they had always dreamed of, but it has also solidified a whole networking and social piece that not every program is able to achieve.”
Learn more at:
School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs—Northeastern University