Serving at USDS: Natalie Moore

In this blog series, we share the stories of USDSers. Find out where they were before USDS, why they joined, the challenges they face, the impact of their work, what life post-USDS may be, and what they’ll miss most. Hope you enjoy meeting them!

Natalie Moore, She/Her, Product Manager, Digital Service at Veterans Affairs, from Alexandria, VA

What’s your background?

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in International Development, I joined the Peace Corps to work as a Community Health Specialist in Burkina Faso. I worked on a project that used mobile technology to share informative health stories through podcasts with women in my village who spoke the local language, Bissa. I knew that when I returned to the states I wanted to get more involved with technology projects that help make society better. I currently work as a Product Manager at VA improving online services to our Veterans. I just hit three years with USDS!

What inspired you to join USDS?

When I heard people say USDS was ‘the Peace Corps for nerds’ I knew it would be a great fit. I jumped at the opportunity to serve my country at home. The tour of duty model brings people from across the country to our nation’s capital, where we implement industry best practices to build a better, more accessible government through technology.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Finding the right people to talk to. It is important to have all the right people in the room but that can be hard to figure out because VA is such a large agency.

How does your work make an impact?

I’ve been given the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of 22+ million Veterans who have served our country and deserve a better experience when interacting with VA.

One of the most impactful projects I worked on recently helped Veterans better understand how to upgrade their discharge paperwork. Many Veterans are less than honorably discharged because of PTSD, their sexual orientation, mental health, traumatic brain injury, or sexual assault and the process to upgrade their status is unfairly complicated. If a Veteran uses our tool, they answer up to 9 questions and receive clear, actionable steps to improve their application and increase their chances of receiving an upgrade. So far, 22,000+ Veterans have used the tool and received our guidance! You can read more about the project here.

What do you want to do after USDS?

Not sure! I know I want to continue to do product work somewhere that’s meaningful, fast-paced, and scrappy.

What will you miss most about USDS when you leave?

I’ll miss doing such meaningful work alongside such talented people — I’m completely terrified I’ll never work with this many amazing people again.

The best of technology.
The best of government.
And we want you.

We’re looking for the most tenacious designers, software engineers, product managers, and more, who are committed to untangling, rewiring and redesigning critical government services. You’ll join a team of the most talented technologists from across the private sector and government.
If you have questions regarding employment with the U.S. Digital Service, please contact us at usds@omb.eop.gov and visit usds.gov/join.