Ria Hanson, MPA ’24

#PolicyProfile: Ria Hanson, MPA ’24

May 02 2024
By Brittany N. Murray
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

“After graduating from @williamscollege with a degree in economics, I spent three summers commercial fishing in the Shelikof Strait off the western coast of Kodiak Island in Alaska. These were some of the worst fishing years that area had seen. We had weeks where we would watch huge runs of salmon swim right through our nets because the warming waters in the Pacific had stunted their growth to the point that they were too small to catch. I was also working as an economist with the @stateofalaska at the time. It was a bit of an awakening to watch these salmon just swim away after fishermen spent months preparing for the season and then to go back to my job and run the analysis on the revenue impacts of the fish that people weren't catching. 

That was when I realized, all the way from the fishermen who are putting food on people's plates to the policymakers who are dealing with the security implications of melting ice caps, climate change in the North is going to deeply impact people across the globe."
Ria Hanson, MPA ’24

I was doing revenue forecasting and fiscal policy analysis, so I was working directly with the legislature and helping decipher different fiscal policy proposals, looking at what it meant for revenue generation and the state and how it might impact people at the secondary and tertiary levels. It was during this time that I realized my interests and skillset were more aligned with policy rather than pure economics. That spurred me to return to school because I felt that I needed more education to have the impact I wanted to make through policy. I came to @PrincetonSPIA because of their emphasis on public service and the immediate applicability of what we're learning to real life. Through my classes and a summer internship at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, I've developed the tools in policy and international relations that I felt were missing before, and I’m excited to take that knowledge back north with me to positively impact Arctic policy as it grows in the public eye inside and outside of the region.”

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