Finding Solutions to Housing

With Alum Sarah Wrightsman '15, '17G (MPP)
Sarah Wrightsman, a Master in Public Policy graduate from the Carsey School, works in NH's Housing Industry

Current position: Community Engagement Coordinator, New Hampshire Housing
Previous position: Executive Director, Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast
Carsey Degree: Master in Public Policy
UNH Undergraduate Degrees: Associate of Applied Science, Culinary Arts & Nutrition; Bachelor of Science, Nutrition with focus in Dietetics

"Since graduating from the Carsey School in 2017, my career goal has been to work at New Hampshire Housing! Now that I’m there, I am excited to work with communities across the state to help them better understand how they can help to solve the state’s housing crisis and engage them in conversations about why housing matters."

Sarah Wrightsman of NH Housing speaks with attendees of a listening session.

What are some of your responsibilities in your current position?

I work with NH communities, employers, and individuals across New Hampshire to better understand the state’s housing crisis, propose solutions, and find and share housing stories.

Why did you choose the Public Policy program at the Carsey School?

I had an interest in community and public health and, more specifically, the way that our built environment impacts health. I knew I wanted to work in policy, but I also wanted to explore broader topics and issues related to equity. Finding housing was a bit serendipitous, but I think I fell in love with it because housing is truly the foundation of our lives.

What was your capstone or internship experience like at the Carsey School?

My internship experience was a key stepping stone toward my current career! I interned at the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast. Following my internship – while I was completing my capstone paper on workforce housing in New Hampshire – the Executive Director of the Coalition stepped down, so I had a chance to step into that role!

Sarah Wrightsman during a charrette site walk

What was one of the most valuable takeaways from the MPP program for you?

One of the most valuable things I did while I was at Carsey was working as a fellow with NH Listens! The experience I gained there, working in community engagement and facilitation, has contributed so much to what I do now.

Similarly, the Strategies for Policy Impact course made an important impact on me. I didn’t realize at the time how much I was learning in this class. Now that I work in housing, the importance of the techniques I learned throughout that course has become clear. Housing requires changing public perception by using the right messages, targeting the right decision-makers and using the right tactics.

About Sarah Wrightsman: Sarah is the Community Engagement Coordinator at New Hampshire Housing. Prior to joining the team at New Hampshire Housing, she served as Executive Director of the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast and the Housing Coordinator for the Regional Economic Development Center, which serves southern New Hampshire.

Sarah is a graduate of Leadership Seacoast’s class of 2019 and Leadership New Hampshire’s Class of 2021. In 2020, she was elected for the New Hampshire Union Leader’s 40 Under Forty list; in 2019, she made the New Hampshire Magazine’s "It List" and was selected a "10 to Watch" list member by Seacoast Media Group and Catapult Seacoast; and in 2018, Stay Work Play and NH Public Radio named her Civic Leader of the Year.

Sarah is also the co-host and co-founder of the New Hampshire-based podcast, Creative Guts.