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Welcome Civic Digital Fellows

A cohort of innovative, talented minds joined our office this summer. Five Civic Digital Fellows are working with the HHS Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) on projects using data, emerging technologies, UX, and innovation. Ed Simcox, Chief Technology Officer, is excited to have the fellows on board. He says “Our office is considered the front door to HHS for innovation, so having the Fellows join us is the perfect learning opportunity, as well as a great opportunity for HHS to learn from people outside government.”

Civic Digital Fellows
Civic Digital Fellows, L-R: Aditya Krishnaswamy, Jay Sheth, Trisha Prabhu, Alex Curtis, and Ronak Shah
A total of fifty-five Civic Digital Fellows recently arrived in Washington DC through a competitive fellowship program, which is coordinated by Coding it Forward and open to U.S. undergraduate and Master’s students across the nation. This is a new pipeline for young technologists to join public service. Fellows spend 10 weeks of the summer working in Washington, DC with various federal agencies:
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • General Services Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Commerce
  • U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS headquarters)

Our HHS Fellows are contributing to a variety of projects including the Ignite Accelerator, HHS ReImagine, KidneyX, All Hazards, and Lyme Innovation. Each Fellow brings a unique set of skills and interests to our HHS projects, as they describe below in their own words:

Alex Curtis
Originally from Seattle, WA
M.S. class of 2019
New York University Tandon School of Engineering

“When pushing through challenging situations, I reference a favorite quote by baseball legend Yogi Berra: “90% of the game is half-mental.”

Alex Curtis is studying transportation planning and engineering. During summer 2019 with HHS, Alex hopes to gain practical experience learning and applying data science in a civic and government context. For the fellowship, he is working on several projects concerning Lyme disease, with hopes of wider application. His main project is a pilot which uses natural language processing to automate the analyzation of thousands of written public comments.

Aditya Krishnaswamy
Hometown: Marietta, GA
Undergraduate class of 2020
University of Georgia, Athens, GA

“Through the Civic Digital Fellowship, I hope to understand the role of technology in the public sector and how federal agencies are using data and technology to drive processes.”

Aditya Krishnaswamy is studying statistics and mathematics. This summer he is supporting the HHS ReImagine Data Initiative and HealthData.gov. Aditya hopes to work at the intersection of data science and public policy, using data to drive innovation and policymaking that addresses the inequities in the United States health system.

Trisha Prabhu
Originally from Naperville, IL
Undergraduate class of 2022
Harvard College, Cambridge, MA

"Via the KidneyX and Lyme innovation initiatives, I hope to better the health of millions - and inspire other youth to do the same."

Trisha Prabhu studying government with a focus on tech science. As a Civic Digital Fellow in the OCTO she is working on KidneyX and Lyme Innovation initiatives. Trisha is passionate about using technical innovation to address society’s most pressing social issues.

Ronak Shah
Originally from San Diego, CA
Undergraduate class of 2022
University of California San Diego

“I’m hoping to better understand what inefficiencies in government are preventing us from helping people as well as the pros and cons of bureaucracy.”

Ronak Shah is studying computer science with a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation. He is supporting the Ignite teams by building applications. He is also working in the OCIO to help analyze Software Asset Management. He is focused on always making a big impact through engineering, and he’s excited to bring that effort to HHS.

Jay Sheth
Originally from Cross Lanes, WV
Undergraduate class of 2021
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

“I hope to understand how technology, public institutions, and businesses can work together and positively impact communities across the United States and the world. “

Jay Sheth is studying computer science and political science. During his summer with HHS he is primarily supporting e-sharing of data, software asset management, and projects with the Ignite teams. He looks forward to learning from everyone he works with this summer.

Civic Digital Fellows also participate in professional development opportunities to learn about the many roles of government, while exploring Washington, DC. So far this summer, the Fellows have visited the White House, met with Cabinet Secretaries, toured the Pentagon, attended the Congressional Baseball game for charity, and more. Such Washington DC experiences empower the Fellows to learn about government while advancing their own individual career goals. The program promotes bipartisan diplomacy through collaboration, innovation, data, design, and emerging technologies.

Here’s to the next generation of innovators and change makers who are joining public service through the Civic Digital Fellows program. Welcome to HHS!

Posted In: 
Health IT