Last year, the City of Indianapolis applied to be a host city for Code for America, a national nonprofit that believes government can work for the people, by the people in the 21st century. Indy was selected and will serve as one of seven Code for America host cities in 2015.
Indy’s three Fellows arrived this week and will be working primarily with the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety. Through the Code for America Fellowship program, talented technologists work with local government to make services simple, effective, and easy to use.
As part of their kickoff week here in Indy, the Fellows will be the featured panel at this week’s New Economy New Rules event on Friday morning. If you’d like to attend, you can register here.
The three Fellows are all from California, although Laura and Chris have Midwest roots (Laura is from Minnesota and Chris is from Detroit). They signed on for a year-long Fellowship experience. Over the course of this year, they’ll live and work with governments all over the US.
Since the Fellows will be working in different cities through 2015, February in Indianapolis is all about learning from the city. “We’ll build something that makes a difference for people dealing with tough situations, and also makes it easier for city employees to help those residents,” Laura said.
Tiffany lives by the motto “service is the rent you pay for living.” For her, Code for America is an opportunity to marry her diverse skillset and set of values. “Being a part of an organization who develops technology for, by and with the people was a large draw.” Tiffany has 10 years of experience in politics and government administration.
Laura and Chris have slightly more technical backgrounds. Laura is a user researcher with a Masters in Information Management and Systems from UC Berkeley. She most recently worked for ModCloth, combining UX and market research to enable the company to become more customer-focused.
Chris is a software developer with experience in software delivery and process consulting. Before he graduated from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, “played a lot of SimCity, had an awesome internship at the U.S. Department of State.”
The common thread through all three Fellows’ motivations to be a part of the program is civic impact. “I was looking for a way to use my tech skills to help people in a meaningful way,” Laura said. “It was such a great fit that I applied for the Fellowship, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend a whole year focusing on big challenges that affect a whole city.”