When Edward Snowden released thousands of classified NSA documents, Travis Moore was tasked with learning about the information fast. As the former legislative director for U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, Moore scrambled to find technical expertise on bulk metadata, the NSA’s programs, and the implications of the breach. Ultimately, he had to look outside the halls of Congress.
With tech-related issues continuing to gain importance, the experience left him looking to bring more expertise to the Capitol Hill. Moore created TechCongress, a 13-month fellowship that places technologists either in congressional offices or committees to provide knowledge on various legislation, emerging technologies, and concerns.
From now until September 28, TechCongress will accept applications for next year’s cohort. According to Moore, successful candidates possess three traits:
TechCongress is a young program, having only started in 2015, but they’ve already stumbled upon interesting takeaways. One was the level of veteran interest. In their first year, three of their top five candidates included veterans. Two of them later became inaugural fellows. For 2017, Moore and his team plan to focus on bringing in more veterans and diversifying their program with more female fellows.
Joe Miller was feeling bogged down by the heft of policy research around tech.
As an advisor to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Miller at times felt overwhelmed by a constant stream of policy developments, with only a limited amount of time available to catch up on the incoming news. That’s why, in 2015, he started WashingTECH: a podcast to help others keep up with the tech policy.
With the weekly podcast, Miller aims to keep his audience as effective on their job as possible, which is why each of his episodes features career and networking insights from his guests. But just because the focus is policy doesn’t mean that it has to be boring.
“They’re not just a bunch of suits,” Miller said of his audience. “They’re diverse, they’re interesting and fun. “This isn’t about some boring CLE event with dry speakers and stale bagels, so I don’t see a need to talk to them like they’re just a bunch of robots or cogs in the wheel.”
To keep things fresh, Miller tackles topics that are trending in media coverage. Think privacy issues around social media, online surveillance by police forces or ISIS’ digital footprint. Other episodes have broached subjects like integrating robotics into K-12 education and the impact of autonomous vehicles in the job market, particularly for people of color.