A new, year-long opportunity for mission-driven technologists

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In collaboration with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), and with the support of Schmidt Futures, Coding it Forward (CIF) is excited to announce the launch of the Impact Fellowship.

The Impact Fellowship matches entrepreneurial recent graduates with technical backgrounds — such as software engineering, product management, and design — with host organizations working on pressing social problems.

This new program builds upon FAS’s founding vision — that scientists, engineers, and other technically trained people have the ethical obligation to ensure that the technological fruits of their intellect and labor are applied to the benefit of humankind — by extending it to today’s digital age. …

These 15 grantees have innovative ideas that will change the world

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This summer, the United States experienced a societal reckoning over police brutality and systemic racism and injustice, while the country and the wider world continued to suffer the consequences of a global pandemic.

Our team at Coding it Forward is cognizant that for too long, technology has not been a neutral tool and has been used — directly and indirectly — to uphold and sustain unjust systems. …

Designing for impact in local government and beyond

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2018 Civic Digital Fellow Navya Kaur

Recently, our team caught up with Navya Kaur, one of Coding it Forward’s 2018 Civic Digital Fellows. Navya shared a little more about what she’s been up to since working as a Design Fellow at the International Trade Administration—including a design internship with the City of Boston this summer.

Coding it Forward: This summer, you worked as a Design Fellow for the City of Boston. What was that like? What did you work on?

Navya Kaur: My experience with the City of Boston was largely colored by the pandemic. I was working remotely from California for the duration of the fellowship, waking up at 6 a.m. for 9 a.m. Boston meetings. …

Driving better outcomes in public health and other sectors with open data

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2019 Civic Digital Fellow Raanan Gurewitsch

Earlier this summer, I had the great opportunity to catch up with Raanan Gurewitsch, one of Coding it Forward’s 2019 Civic Digital Fellows. We talked about what he’s been up to since he finished as a Fellow last August at the U.S. Census Bureau. As a Fellow at Census, Raanan worked on data science project using machine learning and open source tools to improve the Commodity Flow Survey—view his project presentation on GitHub.

The following has been lightly edited for clarity.

Coding it Forward: It’s always fun to check in and see what Fellows are doing now, and it’s especially helpful for students to see what people do after being Fellows. Can you share a little about what you’ve been up to since you finished as a Fellow last August?

Raanan Gurewitsch: When I finished the Fellowship, I moved back to Pittsburgh, where I went to undergrad, to work in the Public Health Dynamics Lab at University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health. …

Fall 2020 applications for mission-driven student technologists open until August 2nd

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Today, our team at Coding it Forward is announcing the official launch of the Fall 2020 Civic Digital Fellowship.

In the last few weeks, we have heard from our community that many students were reconsidering returning to campus this fall due to changes caused by COVID-19, including online classes and socially distant campuses, and were searching for engaging, meaningful alternatives.

Our team sprung into action and started exploring the possibility of a Fall 2020 cohort, our first term-time opportunity. …

Looking back on lessons learned in DPI-663

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Visualizing research learnings

When I think back on my four years at Harvard, so many of my memories aren’t from inside a classroom, but instead are of the extracurriculars that filled my calendar, the amazing, passionate, driven friends I made, and the community I found on campus.

In that sense, then, perhaps it’s fitting that one of my main academic memories did not take place in a lecture hall or seminar room either.

In my sophomore spring, I applied and was accepted to Professor Nick Sinai’s DPI-663 “Technology and Innovation in Government,” which was listed by the Harvard Kennedy School.

Coming into college, I knew I had an interest in technology, and took CS50 (“Introduction to Computer Science”) in my first semester. But I was also drawn to public service and civic engagement; in fact, the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School was a big factor in my choosing Harvard. A year and a half after taking CS50, DPI-663 gave me my first opportunity to blend two interests that I previously thought were mutually exclusive.

A Truman Scholar reflects on his journey in tech policy

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Last month, I had the opportunity to catch up with one of our 2019 Civic Digital Fellows, Nik Marda, to see what he has been up to since wrapping up as a Product Management Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in August.

Nik is currently a student at Stanford University and was named as one of 62 2020 Truman Scholars, “the premier graduate fellowship in the United States for those pursuing careers as public service leaders.” …

Building on his civic tech experience with a summer in Boston’s Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics

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MONUM Summer Fellows with Mayor Marty Walsh

Last month, I had the opportunity to catch up with Liam Grace-Flood, a 2018 Civic Digital Fellow, to hear how he’s continued innovating in the public sector after his Fellowship summer working at the International Trade Administration. In summer 2019, Liam worked as a Fellow at the Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, a municipal innovation office that has proven to be a model for local innovation efforts in cities across America.

The following has been lightly edited for clarity.

Coding it Forward: What have you been up to since you finished as a Civic Digital Fellow in 2018?

Liam Grace-Flood: It’s been a good year! In the fall [after working in DC], I started MBA coursework at the Yale School of Management, where I’m a Silver Scholar. Following that year, I got to continue my civic tech journey as a Fellow at the Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM), the city’s R&D and innovation lab. There, I wrote the city’s first Future of Work brief, exploring how the city can better protect workers in light of recent trends like automation, offshoring, growing economic inequality, and the gig economy. Now I’m working as a consultant with Wellspring. We do strategy consulting for the social sector, serving a broad range of clients, from the ACLU to the Blue Ridge Foundation, Planned Parenthood to the Posse Foundation, and KIPP to the Yale University Press. …

Applications are open for our fourth cohort of mission-driven technologists

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Interested students and Winter 2019 graduates, apply today: codingitforward.com/apply!

Since we launched the Civic Digital Fellowship and our inaugural cohort three years ago out of frustration over the lack of opportunities for mission-driven young technologists, a lot has changed.

Leading organizations like By Code for America and Nava PBC have launched opportunities for entry-level and junior talent through their respective apprenticeship programs, and universities and foundations have similarly taken up the mantle, organizing under the umbrella of the Public Interest Technology University Network.

While there may be more opportunities now than when we first started, Coding it Forward’s commitment to creating high-quality, cohort-based experiences for students and recent graduates looking to break into social impact and civic tech hasn’t wavered.

Humaine is helping medical students get patient practice using AI

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Last month, Coding it Forward sponsored the “best social impact hack” prize track at HackHarvard 2019 and Christine Jou, Ariana Soto, and I were lucky enough to meet scores of hackers from around the world who are passionate about using their tech skills for good. I caught up with the winning team, Humaine, and asked three team members about their motivations and experience building a virtual training patient for medical students.

Learn more about Humaine on Devpost.

The following has been lightly edited for clarity.

Coding it Forward: How did your team come together at the hackathon?

Stephen Lu: I’m from Montreal, and I came to the hackathon with a few of my friends from school. A few days prior to the hackathon I posted on the Discord channel and saw Dr. Ammar’s post for a specific idea he had in mind regarding a virtual patient. I was really interested in his idea because I’ve personally done work with a hospital and with medical data in the past. Once I got to the hackathon, I ran into them by chance and we started talking about the idea, and everything just clicked. …

About

Chris Kuang

Boston sports fan. Coding it Forward founder. Always forward. www.chriskuang.com

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