Ben Wong (GH’19) is a Political Science major from Richmond, Virginia. He primarily focuses on education, labor, and tax policy and enjoys studying history on the side. On campus, he leads first-year students on backpacking trips as a FOOT leader and volunteers with VITA to provide free tax preparation services for low-income residents in New Haven.
In the summer of 2016, Wong interned with D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) in the Office of Instructional Practice. He helped operate IMPACT, the district’s performance evaluation system for nearly 7,000 teachers and school-based personnel. As a call center representative, Wong assisted teachers and staff in understanding their evaluation scores for the 2015-16 school year and navigating the appeals process. He also managed the IMPACT database, analyzed teacher performance data, and conducted research on value-added models. Wong’s experience at DCPS exposed him to the controversies surrounding teacher evaluation, merit pay, and high-stakes testing, which then motivated his choice to study education policy upon returning to Yale. His most valuable takeaway was an awareness of how transparency, stakeholder involvement, and trust are essential to the policymaking and implementation process.
Since the fall of 2016, Wong has taught undergraduates and graduates from Yale Law School and Yale School of Management how to file a federal and state income tax return. He developed a 5-week curriculum on the fundamentals of income taxation and additional modules on advanced topics. It has been a challenging yet rewarding experience for Wong to figure out how to convey an unfamiliar and seemingly uninteresting subject matter in fresh and relevant ways.