Why We Serve: Sparkle Joy

In this series you’ll hear stories from USDSers and learn why they decided to join, why they stay, and how their work is making an impact for all Americans.

Sparkle Joy (she/her), Product Manager, USDS @ DHS. Previously, Facebook and BetterUp. From Mountain View, CA.

What’s your background?

I’m a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in biomechanical engineering. I started my career doing research in biomechanics, but eventually transitioned to doing FDA trials and Human Subjects Research in Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury before moving into the tech space.

I’ve had the opportunity to work at several startups, but was particularly impacted by the years I spent working at Facebook.

The biggest impetus behind my move to USDS, was the opportunity to do great work that would have a tangible impact on the lives of, literally, everyone around me.

How does your work make an impact?

The great work we do at USDS has been on clear display during this time of pandemic and recovery. USDS has been plugged in at agencies across the Federal government dealing with the COVID-19 response and at the end of the day, the impact that we have been able to have during this time has been astounding. Our ability to navigate the massive amounts of COVID related data has had an impact in saving lives across this country. In the aftermath of the job loss caused by extended quarantine, we’ve had teams working to ensure that Americans are able to (successfully) apply for unemployment benefits. We’ve even facilitated the government’s ability to continue working remotely so that a number of critical agencies were able to more easily transition to a fully remote workforce.

With a bunch of USDSers at Afrotech in SF last year.

Although DHS is my home agency, I’m currently working with fellow USDSers in Health and Human Services (HHS).

Now more than ever, the American people are experiencing a national trauma that seems to get compounded day over day. USDS had already been working with agencies like SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to understand the types of challenges faced by providers and organizations all across America as they work with children who are dealing with past or present trauma.

These conversations have been absolutely eye opening and as more of us are exposed to the trauma of the recent months, the work USDS is doing with SAMHSA to help better support our children and their families who have experienced trauma feels even more timely.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Sometimes, separating from the work is really hard. Especially as I’ve spent the last few months working from home, balancing a crazy schedule of navigating COVID, working on my USDS projects, being a single mother of two, and homeschooling a Kindergartner and 4th grader! Most recently in my work life, I’ve been focused a lot on having conversations with people who are working with families who have experienced a wide range of traumatic experiences, and hearing their stories, and the challenges they face can feel really heavy, particularly when the idea of developing quality solutions often feels really daunting. Despite this, I have been so encouraged by my fellow teammates who not only are incredible to work with, but who have also been able to have honest, open, and transparent conversations about the work we’re doing. Even when those conversations are hard.

I believe that the work we do here at USDS is so critical, and despite the challenges that arise on any given day, I wouldn’t trade this job for anything, especially in this moment.

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 or visit our Hiring FAQ.



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United States Digital Service

United States Digital Service


The U.S. Digital Service is a group of mission-driven professionals who are passionate about delivering better government services to the public.