Goldman School of Public Policy - University of California, Berkeley

Director and Staff

Executive Director

Sarah Swanbeck is a public policy analyst with expertise in California state and local governance and budget issues. She previously worked in Legislative Affairs for California Common Cause, a nonprofit that advocates for more open, honest, and accountable government. While at Common Cause, she successfully advocated for important changes to the state's campaign finance laws as well as the first ever substantive reform to California's century-old initiative process.

Outside the realm of California politics, Sarah has spent years working as a policy analyst on both state and local issues. As an analyst for the Controller in San Francisco, she worked with a range of city departments to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their services. She also previously worked for the Public Policy Institute of California and the the California Public Utilities Commission on state energy and water policy. She holds an MPP from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a BA in Economics from Wellesley College.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Vasco Yasenov joined the Goldman School of Public Policy as a Postdoctoral Scholar in August 2017. He received his PhD in Economics from UC Davis earlier the same year and his B.S. in Mathematics-Economics from UC San Diego in 2012.  His research focuses on quantifying various effects of immigration on the receiving economy with a focus on the labor market implications. He has also studied the impact of school start time and scheduling policies on students' test performance. His research on these topics has been covered by The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Economist, The Atlantic, Business Insider, Bloomberg View, The Chicago Tribune, and among others. Vasco is also a Research Affiliate at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

Research Analyst

Jessie Harney is a Graduate Student Researcher and Master of Public Policy candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Truman State University and a Master of Science in Biostatistics from Washington University in St. Louis. Before coming to Berkeley, she spent two years as a Research Statistician performing program evaluations for clients and conducting product research at a corporate wellness company. Jessie’s research interests revolve around increasing access to quality medical and mental health services for sexual assault victims, specifically focusing on individuals who are incarcerated.


Research Analyst

James Hawkins is a 2018 Master of Public Policy (MPP) candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy. James' academic interests include national and state level policies aimed at achieving shared economic prosperity. Prior to enrolling in the Goldman School, James spent four years working on water policy issues in California for the Santa Barbara-based nonprofit Heal the Ocean. In that capacity, he advocated for implementing recycled water projects in the Santa Barbara region as a method to increase local water supply reliability, in addition to publishing a white paper — "Potable Reuse: A New Water Resource for California" — on a novel and advanced form of water recycling. He received his B.A. in political science and environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Research Analyst

Hinnaneh Qazi is currently a Master of Public Policy candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, where her policy interests include advancing greater racial, economic, political, and health equity. She currently serves as a Graduate Student Researcher for the Berkeley Institute for the Future of Young Americans (BIFYA), researching issues that impact young Americans. In the last year, she has also served as an Equity Analysis Consultant for the San Francisco Planning Department and as an Oakland Urban Leaders Fellow. Prior to the Goldman School, Hinnaneh spent three years working at California Common Cause, one of the state’s leading good government and voting rights groups. Hinnaneh graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2013.



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