While studying informatics and environmental studies as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, Gulsima Young came to the conclusion that the well-being of our environment is intertwined with other issues, including, workers' rights, racial justice and public health. "I learned how environmental and human rights violations are caused by technology companies' operations — from the extraction, manufacturing and disposal of metals and the disposal of electronic waste to the excessive amounts of energy, water and electricity consumed by the industry's labor violations," she said, "Our capitalist system prioritizes profits over people."
Eager to find ways, in our digital age, to develop information-sharing mechanisms that don't endanger people or the environment, Young decided to pursue a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) degree to develop the essential tools she knew she would need to create effective change as a community advocate. Her choice of Watson was straightforward, "Everyone — including faculty, staff and students — are incredibly kind, and, in my opinion, kindness in policy making is extremely important," she said. "Watson's collaborative environment encourages us to learn, ask questions and grow."
In her classes, Young found the Policy Analysis and Problem Solving course taught by MPA Faculty Director David Blanding especially meaningful. "Gaining experience with identifying and describing policy problems will be very valuable in the future," she said, "it will help me to critically evaluate public policies and effectively tackle the root causes of problems [those policies mean to address]."