Press Release

New Jersey Policy Perspective Expands Research Team

NJPP welcomes Peter Chen as new Senior Policy Analyst, Marleina Ubel as State Policy Fellow, and Kimberly Thomson as 2021 Crotty Fellow.

Published on Jul 13, 2021 in General

New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) announced today three additions to the organization’s policy team. The Trenton-based think-tank has hired Peter Chen as a Senior Policy Analyst to research child and family policy, Marleina Ubel as a State Policy Fellow to research alternatives to policing, and Kimberly Thomson as the 2021 Kathleen Crotty Fellow to research universal basic income.

“Peter is one of the sharpest policy minds in the state,” said Brandon McKoy, President of NJPP. “His vision, talent, and rock-solid analyses will take NJPP to new heights as we expand our work in child care, early education, and family policy. We’re incredibly fortunate to have Peter join the NJPP team.”

Peter Chen, Esq. has worked on child and family policy in New Jersey since 2014, writing reports on and advocating for childhood lead poisoning prevention, summer meals, reducing chronic absenteeism, and more. Prior to NJPP, Peter was Policy Counsel at Advocates for Children of New Jersey, where he also served as a Skadden Fellow from 2014-16. Most recently, he coordinated New Jersey’s nonprofit campaign for a complete count of the 2020 Census. Peter received his JD from Yale Law School and his BA from Indiana University-Bloomington.

“I am thrilled to be joining this dedicated team of experts and advocates,” said Peter Chen. “NJPP is the state’s premier think tank; I look forward to helping them advance policies that support children and families in every corner of the state.”

NJPP also welcomed Marleina Ubel as a State Policy Fellow for 2021 through 2023. The fellowship, coordinated by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, places recent graduate school graduates in state-based policy organizations across the country.

Marleina, a dedicated researcher and advocate for underrepresented groups, was most recently the 2020-2021 Kathleen Crotty Fellow for NJPP where she researched the state budget and alternatives to policing. She will continue this work in her new role with the organization. Marleina began her undergraduate work at Valencia College, earned her BA in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received her MSW in Management and Policy at Rutgers University.

“NJPP has been fighting for economic and social justice with research and policy advocacy since its inception,” said Marleina Ubel. “It is a great privilege to continue working with NJPP.”

Additionally, NJPP hired Kimberly Thomson as the organization’s 2021 Kathleen Crotty Fellow. The Crotty Fellowship honors the legacy of NJPP’s late board chair by giving the next generation of New Jersey policy leaders an intensive, paid summer experience in policy analysis.

Kim began her career in clinical genetics, providing counseling services to both prenatal and pediatric patients. With a desire to expand her focus to population health, she recently completed a master’s degree in Public Health Policy and Administration at Montclair State University. Since graduating, she has worked in the policy office of the All of Us genomics research program at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Kim’s professional interests include the role of public policy in addressing social determinants of health to reduce health inequities and disparities.

“I am excited to join the NJPP team,” said Kimberly Thomson. “As a public health professional, I welcome the opportunity to research policy solutions that promote the health and well-being of all New Jerseyans”

Kim’s first day with NJPP was June 1, Peter’s first day was July 1, and Marleina officially starts as State Policy Fellow on August 2.

“Now is the time for bold policy solutions to meet the moment and address the racial disparities that the pandemic laid bare,” said McKoy. “I am excited to have Marleina and Kim join us as we research transformational policies that advance racial and economic justice for all.”

Founded in 1997, NJPP is a “think and do” tank, driving policy change to advance economic, social, and racial justice through evidence-based independent research, analysis, and advocacy.

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