Tess Mullen graduated in 2013 from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania with a master's degree in public administration.

While at Fels, she helped write publications exploring how elected officials and civic entrepreneurs can work together to build healthy urban communities. She also completed a study of the economic impact of affordable-housing development in West Philadelphia and examined best practices in management for state cabinet secretaries.

Prior to attending Fels, Mullen worked in Congress for nearly six years, most recently as communications director for U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania. She received her B.A. in English from Harvard College.