Jess Rutstein, MPA ’20

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Deerfield, IL

Undergraduate education

Bachelor’s degree in human development and psychological services, Northwestern University


Department of Health Services

Job title

Advanced Program and Policy Analyst

Start date

October 2020

Primary job responsibilities

  • Design and oversight of Wisconsin’s Pandemic EBT programs
  • Policy analysis/leadership for FoodShare-related enhancement projects
  • Propose new health-focused initiatives for inclusion in future state budget cycles

Project assistantships while at the La Follette School

  • Project Assistantship with the Posse Program (2-year appointment)
  • Mentored 11 incoming undergraduate students and supported their transition to and persistence through their first 2 years of college
  • Required project management skills (multi-tasking/balancing competing priorities, task tracking, communication, short-term and long-term goal planning, holding others accountable, maintaining program compliance), communication skills, and relationship-building skills – all utilized daily in my work at DHS

What awards or honors have you received since graduating?

  • Putting Families First National Award (Presented to me by the USDA Deputy Under Secretary Stacy Dean in recognition of Pandemic EBT work/excellent service to customers)
  • Selected to participate in Foundations of Leadership Program (2-year management training program for nominated DHS employees)
  • Contributor to the Health Equity Diversity and Inclusion (HEDI) Sub-Committee at DHS
  • Spearheaded Pandemic EBT implementation for Wisconsin since 2020 (Wisconsin is seen as a national leader/model)
  • Pandemic EBT, first in the nation this year to be federally approved to run the program and issue benefits)
  • Speaker at multiple conferences and webinars for state and national non-profit organizations