USDS + Code for America

We are excited to be a sponsor of the CfA Summit this year with fellow public servants, technologists, and entrepreneurs!

  • Members of the USDS family will be attending the summit as speakers, panelists, and recruiters! Meet some of them below, connect with us at the summit and learn more about USDS.
  • Tweet us @USDS, tag us on Instagram @usdigitalservice, or message us on Facebook for more details on how to meet up at the summit!
  • If you’re ready to join, submit an application at

Laura Kadamus, She/Her, Design Lead, USDS at Department of Homeland Security

At USDS, Laura is leading the design for a grants modernization project at FEMA. The team is trying to combine 10 broken legacy systems into one so that disaster and preparedness grants can be managed in one place, enabling better collaboration across programs and new ways to determine whether or not existing measures are making our nation more resilient. At CfA she’ll be hosting a breakout session called “Cookie Swap: Bring your Things that Worked Making Digital Services.” During the session, people will be sharing all of the great tools and resources they use or have created. People will give a short pitch on what it is and why it’s useful, and then provide the URL where others can borrow it. Come and share what you know! Session Info: Cookie Swap, Friday 6/1, 2:45pm-3:45pm, Room 208

Jordan Kasper, He/Him, Engineer, USDS Defense Digital Service

Jordan joined Defense Digital Service, an agency team of U.S. Digital Service, in July 2017 to help make technology better at the DoD. In addition to other projects, Jordan is the lead on, the DoD’s effort to open source code. He will be speaking on a panel at the CfA Summit about open source software and civic tech on May 31 at 3pm! He’s excited to be able to share the struggles the government faces in open sourcing code and how civic-minded technologists can help make their country stronger through open source contributions. Stop and say hi if you’re interested in discussing all things open source! Session Info: Designing Open Source Projects that Mobilize Communities, Thursday 5/31, 3pm, Grand Ballroom A&E

Crystal C. Yan, She/Her, UX Researcher and Designer, USDS at Health and Human Services

At USDS, Crystal conducts research to better understand how data and people move through different parts of our healthcare system and prototypes potential opportunities and solutions. She will be speaking on a panel at CfA about how we use discovery sprints (a USDS research method that involves rallying an interdisciplinary team to conduct user research, market research, and policy research) to drive people-centered policy-making. Crystal is excited to learn from fellow civic technologists on how they are tackling similar challenges at the local and state level. Come say hi during the conference if you’re interested in learning more about joining USDS, chatting about the impact of technology in healthcare, or checking out some good food in the East Bay. Session Info: Using Discovery Sprints to Change Policy with People-Centered Policy Making, Thursday 5/31, 4:30pm, Jr Ballroom

Kasia Chmielinski, They/Them, Product Manager, USDS

Kasia is excited to join the Code for America Summit this year to discuss our work and learn about other inspiring projects in the civic tech space. Alongside a few of their colleagues, they will be discussing the role of policy in our research and delivery models during the Breakout Session, ‘Using Discovery Sprints to Change Policy’. Specifically, they will talk about a recent cross-agency engagement that aims to secure our nation’s food supply by streamlining the H-2A visa process for American farmers and migrant farmworkers. This session will be interactive, so please come by with your questions, comments, and stories! Session Info: Using Discovery Sprints to Change Policy with People-Centered Policy Making, Thursday 5/31, 4:30pm, Jr Ballroom

Natalie Kates, She/ Her, Product Lead, USDS at Health and Human Services

As the product lead for our health team, Natalie is hell-bent on empowering people to use technology to address infrastructure obstacles and critical user problems in health. She is speaking at the Code for America Summit about how USDS has integrated human-centered design principles into the Medicare policy process. Come talk to her at the Summit to learn more about how USDS is fundamentally changing healthcare for the better! Session Info: From Policy to Delivery — Medicare Case Study, Thursday 5/31, 1:30pm, Room 208

Dan Willis, He/Him, UX Designer, USDS at Department of Homeland Security

Dan Willis is helping U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services introduce product development systems and user-centered design methodologies to their enterprise software development efforts. He will be facilitating two breakout sessions at the Code for America Summit, both intended to greatly expand conversations between participants. Willis was a consultant prior to joining USDS. A frequent speaker at international, national and local UX-related conferences, he is the co-author and illustrator of Designing the Conversation: Techniques for Successful Facilitation. Session Info: Haters Gonna Hate — Overcoming Human Obstacles, Thursday 5/31, 4:30pm, Room 206 and This Is What Success Looks Like, Friday 6/1, 1:30pm, Grand Ballroom A&E

Clair K., She/Her, Budget Director/ Bureaucracy Hacker, USDS Defense Digital Service

At DDS Clair works on all the things that help our team get stuff done. She is a budget sorceress, bureaucracy hacker, procurement magician, and all around tech nerd who is super great at making friends (sometimes). Her super power is patience. She’ll Wait! Clair is joining a panel with her colleagues to discuss the wonders of the Federal Government procurement process, explore all the opportunities for improvement, and share how DDS is conquering the procurement beast to be nimble in how we start and implement our projects. You should come say hi to her at the conference to learn more about why having the best, worst job in your life will never leave you the same (in a good way)! Session Info: Buying Tech Services — Separating the Wheat From Chaff, Friday 6/1, 1:30pm, Room 203

Liz Odar, She/Her, Team Lead, USDS at Department of Homeland Security

Liz has worked on projects to improve the immigration experience, like reducing wait times for Green Card renewals and processing applications digitally; most recently she has been leading a team of USDSers that is focused on the Asylum process. Liz will be talking more about the work that led to policy changes for Green Card renewals at the panel “Using Discovery Sprints to Change Policy with People-Centered Policymaking.” While at CfA, she is looking forward to meeting others who are helping to make government work better for the people they serve. Session Info: Using Discovery Sprints to Change Policy with People — Centered Policy Making, Thursday 5/31, 4:30pm, Jr Ballroom

Seema Daryanani, She/Her, Sr. Technical Recruiter, Diversity & Inclusion, USDS

Seema is based in San Francisco and works on recruiting talent mainly based in Silicon Valley. Over the past 10 years, she has been very involved with an organization that helps survivors of human trafficking called International Sanctuary. Joining USDS combines the best of both worlds for Seema, she gets to do the job she loves and see how those hires can work on projects that will positively impact so many. Come visit Tech Expo Booth #1

Chris Given, He/Him, Data, USDS at Veterans Affairs

Chris spelunk’s government data. He is an information designer on the Appeals Modernization project at VA (and a longtime Code for DC person). Chris and Gina Kim, will be talking about their work to fix a years-long appeals process that Veterans describe as a “black hole.” Come talk to him if you want to swap stories of cleaning data from eccentric, decades-old systems, if you hang out near the intersection of data and design, if you’re excited by examples of technology instigating policy change, or if you have ideas for board game mechanics that capture the experience of bureaucracy. Session Info: Lightning Talk — How are you Tracking This, Thursday 5/31, 10:10am, Main Stage

Andréa Viza, She/Her, Recruiter, USDS

Andrea builds connections with top technologists to see if USDS is a place where they could leave a mark. She will be handling the recruiting booth with Seema to make sure they can answer everyone’s questions about why USDS is awesome! Andrea is excited to be heading to CfA because everyone will be like-minded in their passion for civic tech and she can’t wait to share our story. Everyone at USDS is extremely passionate about sharing the USDS story and our own personal, very different, perspectives — so come talk to us! Plus, we will have some cool stickers :) Come visit Tech Expo Booth #1

Julie Meloni, She/Her, Director of Product Management & Strategy/Operations, USDS

Julie is the Director of Product Management & Strategy/Operations at USDS, which means she tries her best to hire and empower people who then design, develop, and deliver tools that make a difference in the lives of millions of people every day. She has worked on issues of identity management at Department of Veterans Affairs, fraud and improper payments writ large, and the policies and processes around the agricultural temporary guest worker program (H-2A). The most rewarding job she has is to make sure that 50+ technical product managers and strategy/operations folks are working on the most impactful projects they can (and are happy doing so). At CfA she is moderating a panel about discovery sprints that lead to policy change. The panel will discuss efforts, successes, and roadblocks encountered throughout this process in several different federal agencies. You should stop by and say hi and tell us your story. Everyone has one, and everyone’s story matters. Beware, though — She’ll probably counter with a story of our own about moving the needle just a little bit and making a tremendous impact on the life of a Veteran, or an immigrant, or a refugee. You might cry, but that’s cool — we all do. Session Info: Using Discovery Sprints to Change Policy with People-Centered Policy Making, Thursday 5/31, 4:30pm, Jr Ballroom

Shane Russell, He/Him, Software Engineer, USDS at Veterans Affairs

Shane is a lead engineer who has been working on modernizing the VA Appeals System for more than two years. During that time, the appeals team has gone from not being able to deploy anything to production, to deploying new code daily and is on track to complete the application that modernizes the entire VA Appeals pipeline. The team could not have accomplished this without help from their amazing contractors! At CfA Shane will be talking with Alex Prokop, a lead contract engineer, on how they collaborate. Session Info: Same Team, Same Team: Contractor Relationship at VA, Thursday 5/31, 1:30pm, Jr Ballroom 3

Full Schedule for USDS at CfA:

Thursday 5/31

10:10am: Lightning Talk — How are you Tracking This with Matt Cutts, Chris Given, and Gina Kim at the Main Stage

1:30pm: Same Team, Same Team — Contractor Relationship at VA with Shane Russell in Jr Ballroom 3

1:30pm: From Policy to Delivery — Medicare Case Study with Natalie Kates and Daivd Koh in Room 208

3:00pm: Designing Open Source Projects that Mobilize Communities with Jordan Kasper in the Grand Ballroom A&E

3:00pm: Planning for the Cutline — When Agile Meets Deadlines with Gina Kim in Jr Ballroom 3

4:30pm: Using Discovery Sprints to Change Policy with People-Centered Policy Making with Julie Meloni, Crystal Yan, Liz Odar, and Kasia Chmielinski in the Jr Ballroom

4:30pm: Staying in Government During Hard Times: A Group Therapy Session with USDS Alum Kathy Pham in Room 201

4:30pm: Haters Gonna Hate — Overcoming Human Obstacles with Dan Willis in Room 206

Friday 6/1

1:30pm: Buying Tech Services — Separating the Wheat From Chaff with Clair K. in Room 203

1:30pm: Only New Mistakes with Matt Cutts in Room 208

1:30pm: This Is What Success Looks Like with Dan Willis in the Grand Ballroom A&E

2:45pm: Cookie Swap — Bring Your Things That Worked Making Digital Services with Laura Kadamus in Room 208