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Meet the Team 🇺🇸🎃 Fall 2019

Choosing to serve with USDS is a deeply personal decision. It involves a cross-country move to DC and passing an FBI background check.

But it also comes with the opportunity to leverage your technology skills to help millions of Americans.

Our work impacts Veterans, military service members, immigrants, refugees, farmers, small business owners, students, Medicare patients, and many more.

Meet the newest USDSers and learn a little bit about where they come from. Interested in being in the next Meet the Team? usds.gov/apply

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Caroline Kyungae Smith (she/her), Design Strategist, USDS @ Health and Human Services. From South Carolina.

Before I joined USDS, my entire career had been in the private sector. I worked as a Design Strategist, occupying that special intersection between business and design. I launched new projects and led high-stakes Digital Transformations for large enterprise companies. I also consulted start-ups on how to achieve product/market fit and develop Go-to-Market strategies. I consider myself a strong generalist, but the red thread through all of my work is my desire to have high impact and be tenaciously user-centric. Which just so happen to be core values at USDS.I’m thrilled to have found my tribe among other mission-driven technology and design nerds who view big challenges as even bigger opportunities.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I could dance! Hip hop, Modern, voguing — you name it! I wish I could do all of them.

What is your idea of perfect happiness

Traveling in foreign places and discovering little shops and street art where I can get a sense of the local aesthetic and underground culture. Or dancing to music surrounded by my best friends.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Teachers, Social Workers and of course, my parents.

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Jess Ondusko (she/her), UX Designer, USDS @ Department of Homeland Security. From Washington, D.C.

Most recently I worked at American Society of Clinical Oncology on a variety of strategic projects. I contributed to the redesign of its flagship website and helped build both a continuing education portal for oncology professionals and an application that provides access to cutting-edge oncology research. I’ve also worked for a variety of clients, including the National Council on Aging, Military OneSource, and the NFL. I’m thrilled to be at USDS now working with highly motivated and talented people to improve the integrity and efficiency of the asylum process.

Where would you most like to live?

Paris! I fell in love with the history, culture and people studying abroad there as an undergrad and have wanted to live there again ever since.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Traveling the world and exploring new places.

What do you value most in your friends?

Kindness, truthfulness, curiosity and a sense of adventure.

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Kirsten Green (she/her), Acquisitions Strategist, USDS HQ. From Port Saint John, FL.

I’ve spent my 19+ years government career working mainly in acquisition roles, but also dabbled in budget/finance, project management, worked on several help desks and performing system administrator duties, been a secretary multiple times…basically any and all other duties as assigned. Prior to starting my USDS detail, I was a warranted contracting officer at GSA Technology Transformation Service (18F), GSA Region 8 (Denver), National Park Service and also worked at the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation on the Denver Federal Center.

What is the natural talent you’d like to be gifted with?

I would love to be able to blink and be where ever I want; which generally involves the ocean, scuba diving or just hanging out on a beach. One minor thing…I would want the ability to blink and bring my husband and our two boys, ages 23 and 22, along for the trip too.

Your chief characteristic?

Helping others has always brought a smile to my heart; whether it is me sharing my acquisition knowledge, teaching others how to do something, or just listening to someone for a few minutes to help them work through a process.

Your idea of misery?

Growing up mostly in Colorado was a wonderful experience, but falling in love with the sport of scuba diving and living in a land locked State proved to be my form of misery. Having relocated to the beautiful East Coast of Florida has proven to remove a lot of that misery — no more shoveling snow or dealing with the cold. My husband and I take advantage of walking on the beach as much as possible and we can be found enjoying the Cocoa Beach Pier whenever possible proving misery is just a state of mind and can be overcome.

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Joseph Litvin (he/ him), USDS Technical Recruiter in San Francisco, Talent Team. From Detroit, MI.

Prior to USDS I was seeking out software engineers who were not actively seeking a new job, contacting them and if they were a good fit and it was a good move for them, recruiting them into my new company! It is always about a good fit and a good deal for the prospective candidate. In the past I’ve worked at Dropbox, NGINX, Riverbed Technology and at Bagel King as a bagel maker.

What is your greatest extravagance?

A 2000 BMW 538i touring vehicle that I recently bought for $2500 and invested another $2500 in repairs. I had been driving a 1993 Toyota Corolla for the last 12 years and I bought the BMW on an impulse. I absolutely love driving the BMW. While I was waiting for my background to clear so I could start at USDS I drove to Lake Tahoe three times and to Monterrey twice. My cousin tells me because we are from Detroit, we have cars in our blood!

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Janice Litvin, my wife who transitioned from being a math major and computer programmer to a technical recruiter and then transitioned to her current state: professional speaker, she speaks to and coaches people about “Wellness in the Workplace”. She is an active Zumba Instructor and Weight Watchers Leader.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I dream of being a concert pianist and guitarist. Andre Segovia and Tchaikovsky come to mind.

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Brian Estes (he/him), Designer & Researcher, USDS @ Health and HumanServices. From Philadelphia, PA

I previously worked at Insight Policy Research, a small research and evaluation firm in the DC-area. I led qualitative research on public benefit programs. At USDS, I work with our Health and Human Services team to help modernize Medicare, which pays for the healthcare of over 60 million people. One of the most exciting things about working inside the government, and USDS in particular, is the increased capacity to create meaningful change. That’s one of the main reasons I joined USDS and I’m glad to see a similar enthusiasm for change among all my colleagues.

When and where were you happiest?

When: Seeing my children born.

Where: Trading banter with friends around a campfire in the mountains.

What are your favorite names?

Tolkien’s character names are the absolute best. He was an amazing scholar who put so much thought into naming his characters, and it’s interesting to explore their roots in Old English and Norse.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I played saxophone from elementary school through college but haven’t touched an instrument in years. I’d like to become skilled in something new in my limited free time. It would be much easier if learning new instruments came naturally to me.

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Jeremy Wilcox (he/him), Procuremenati, USDS HQ. From Herndon, VA.

I joined USDS after 20 years in the private sector in a variety of technology-focused roles spanning sales, marketing, business development, acquisitions, consulting and advisory. Most recently, I was a Solutions Partner with Forrester Research and stood up the federal practice for a boutique consulting firm, ClearEdge Partners. At USDS, I will be focused on enabling agencies to deliver better digital citizen experiences using agile acquisition methods and industry best practices.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I have two: a 30oz Starbucks cold brew coffee, black, unsweetened; and wearing custom hoodies and shirts made by my amazingly talented wife. I usually will get several compliments from random strangers every time I wear them in public.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being able to field my own baseball team! I have a large family. My greatest achievement is being a loving husband and father. I’m far from perfect, and have room to grow.

What are your favorite names?

Names that begin with the letter J.

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Shelby Switzer (they/them), Engineer, USDS @ Health and Human Services. From Columbia, SC

Before USDS, I was designing and building healthcare APIs and integrations at Healthify, a company addressing the social determinants of health. I was also writing about civic tech and issues such as personal data ownership and decentralization. At USDS I’m working with CMS to improve APIs and increase the value and impact of health data ethically.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Living without access to good falafel.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Books

What is your most treasured possession?

My notebook

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Matthew Dingee (he/him), Designer, SME QA hiring team. From Wappingers Falls, NY.

Prior to USDS I spent the last 3.5 years at The Lab at OPM working on improving federal hiring. The Lab’s mission is to build design capacity within the government. To that end I was dedicated to the USAJOBS program office as lead designer. Together we were able to improve search, authentication, new user onboarding, and the Help Center.

I’m continuing to work on improving federal hiring. I split my time between The Lab and USDS, working on the OPM hiring pilot, for the last year until I joined full-time in June. So it has been a smooth transition given that my focus is the same and I’ve been with the team for a little while.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Trail running in the SF Bay Area. Mnt. Tam, Muir Woods, San Bruno Mtn., etc. Though Rock Creek Park is pretty great as well. Looking forward to when my daughter can join me. She’s 9 and started running Cross Country this year at school and ran her second 5K with me earlier this month. She has never been to CA but we’ll get her there at some point soon. I hope we get to go on lots of adventures together in the woods, wherever those woods may be.

What is your greatest fear?

So many to choose from: Flying, heights, spiders, snakes, global thermonuclear war, that one of the Sci-Fi distopias of my youth (Mad Max, Terminator, etc.) will come true for my kid. That if and when I ever return to Silicon Valley my palms will start glowing (see “Logan’s Run”) immediately. The usual stuff.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’m combining these two questions: I’d be able to tune my thoughts out at night. I’m lousy at meditation, thus far, so there is a fairly constant stream of chatter in my head usually with a background of music snippets, in a loop. Controlling all that and being able to shut it down would be an excellent talent to develop. It’s useful during the day to keep multiple threads going in my head but, when it is time to sleep it is less than ideal.

What is your most treasured possession?

This is easy: ’67 Guild Starfire guitar. If there is a fire I’ll get my wife, kiddo, and the animals out then I’m going straight back in to get that guitar. It is a semi-hollow that just sounds huge, full, and amazing. It’s actually comforting to hold it. Silly but true. I’ve had it since ’91. It has survived my more punk rock days through some major surgeries (the input is now on the front instead of the bottom and the pick guard is long gone) so it has zero resale value, but that’s fine because it is irreplaceable to me. I’ve made 4 LPs and 2 EPs with it and it made a guest appearance on a friend’s record. I’ll give it to my daughter some day. Maybe.

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Katherine B. Nammacher (she/her), Product & UX Research, USDS @ Department of Homeland Security. From White Plains, NY.

Before USDS, I was the CEO & Co-Founder of RideAlong, a government technology startup focused on first responders. I learned so much from the startup and my journey with it: RideAlong was founded from my work with Code for America’s 2016 fellowship program, went through Y Combinator’s the startup accelerator program, and was acquired in April 2019. At USDS, I am currently focused on helping with the asylum process by providing tools that help move applicants through the process efficiently with integrity and justice. I am also an advisor to City Innovate on how they build an ecosystem for startups and local government.

Which living person do you most admire?

Slightly hacking the question, my grandmother was one of my favorite people (and she passed away at 89 in January 2019). I admired her because she made every person she met feel deeply heard, seen, and valued — whether she’d known you for years or minutes. She was also very smart and witty — at 88 years old she taught herself how to play chess because she was bored. Her curiosity for people and places, earnest approach to all interactions, and patience with individuals (even in situations when they did not deserve it) are traits that I think about with her and how to bring them into my own life.

What do you most value in your friends?

I really appreciate my friends because they are all a combination of humble, silly, open to new experiences and funky creative stuff, and yet simultaneously are also reliable in the areas of life where you need to be grounded and responsible.

What is it that you most dislike?

I really do not understand the appeal of ranch dressing, nor mayonnaise. They are both a bit heavy and the taste is too intense. Also, I do not drink carbonated beverages — outside of the occasional cider. The bubbles in my throat are a bit of an awkward texture to have in your esophagus.

U.S. Digital Service

The United States Digital Service is a tech startup working…

U.S. Digital Service

Written by

The United States Digital Service is a tech startup working across the Federal government to deliver better services to the American people. www.usds.gov

U.S. Digital Service

The United States Digital Service is a tech startup working across the Federal government to deliver better services to the American people.

U.S. Digital Service

Written by

The United States Digital Service is a tech startup working across the Federal government to deliver better services to the American people. www.usds.gov

U.S. Digital Service

The United States Digital Service is a tech startup working across the Federal government to deliver better services to the American people.

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