Born in Danville, Illinois and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Eugene attended Washington University in St. Louis for college. Following undergrad, Eugene was selected as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. After completing the fellowship, and briefly working for a social venture capital start-up, he joined the staff of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. As an associate program officer he worked to improve equity and increase access to high quality experiences for all young people. During his career, he interned with the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and Goldman Sachs. He also worked as a criminal justice advocate to reduce the jail and prison population.
After graduating from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, receiving a Master’s in Public Affairs, he decided to pursue further academic interests at Princeton as a doctoral candidate in history. His dissertation, an examination of American marijuana policy, took seriously the impact of the War on Drugs on disadvantaged communities. After finishing his doctoral work, he moved to California to join the Office of Cannabis as Deputy Director in the City and County of San Francisco.