Linet Madeja ’13 says her SPU theology and political science professors helped her understand how Christians are “called to engage the communities around us, no matter what community we’re in.”
One glance at the mayor of Seattle’s website and it becomes readily apparent that leading a city of more than 650,000 residents with an annual budget of $4.8 billion is an enormous undertaking. Public safety, homelessness, labor standards, and police accountability form but the tip of the iceberg for Mayor Ed Murray and his team.
Linet Madeja ’13, a budget and policy analyst in the city budget office, is one of those who deepen the mayor’s understanding of such challenges. She is one of 24 staff members who helped in the preparation of the city’s 2015–16 budget. “I was taught at Seattle Pacific University to take initiative and not be afraid to ask questions,” says Madeja, who in her senior year interned as an assistant to City Council Member Nick Licata. “I introduced myself to people and was hired after graduation in a temporary position as a receptionist doing administrative work.”
“Linet was a dedicated student determined to squeeze as many opportunities as she could from her college career,” says Reed Davis, professor of political science in Seattle Pacific’s School of Business, Government, and Economics. “An internship is the most time-honored way for students to discover exactly what it is they want to accomplish in government.”
She talked to constituents, ordered supplies, and kept her options open. Before Murray won election last November, he was a state legislator. Madeja helped on his transition team in order to fast-track his knowledge of city government. She contributed everywhere she could from routing calls to making copies to ordering supplies.
Now a budget analyst and a sponge for detail, Madeja is an important part of the city’s information flow. In addition to working with Budget Director Ben Noble, she huddles with the mayor’s executive team on administrative items and sits in on policy briefings.
Born in Guam, Madeja wanted a university built around a Christian community of faith. She was already enrolled at another school when a visit to the Seattle Pacific campus “sparked something in me.” She switched and was accepted to SPU despite a late application. It was a Seattle Pacific Reachout International (SPRINT) trip to Haiti that convinced her she needed a major that would give her a better perspective on the world. She chose political science, with an emphasis in public policy law.
Inspired by the beauty of the people and places of Haiti, Madeja captures in acrylic paint the stories behind the scenes she saw there. “The media shows so much of the bad in Haiti,” she says. “I want to show the joy.” She also gets to feed her growing conviction that she will one day return to Haiti to work on-staff with a nonprofit agency helping the island nation to prosper.
Now the world comes at her fast and furious — one day it might be transportation, marijuana policy, and zoning development; on another, minimum wage, human services, and one of the most expensive slices of the budget, utilities. She enjoys being on the inside of government and seeing how the city works with nonprofit groups.
“I have so much to learn,” says Madeja. “I work with smart people, many who have been with the city for years, and they’re willing to teach me. At SPU, I found my passion and made my faith my own. Now I get to show God’s love and grace out in the world.”