Pennsylvania State Senator Katie Muth at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

When State Senator Katie Muth joined the board of the Pennsylvania teachers’ pension fund last year, she knew she had a lot to learn: With a college degree in athletic training, her financial education consisted largely of paying off her student loans. But she saw the unpaid trustee position at the $75 billion Public School Employees’ Retirement System as a way to protect teachers and state taxpayers—and an extension of her job as a lawmaker.

Little did the 38-year-old know that she was about to get a crash course in high finance and sharp-elbowed pension politics. Or that she would be forced to sue her own fund to get access to internal documents.

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