Passion and Purpose: Meet the 2021 Presidential Innovation Fellows|
Introducing the 34 data scientists, engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs who will work alongside federal leaders to digitally transform government as Presidential Innovation Fellows’ 2021 cohort.
Today, we are thrilled to announce that federal agencies will engage a new class of Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIFs) with technical and entrepreneurial expertise to help modernize government and deliver value for the public. This new class of Fellows includes 34 technology leaders who are beginning a year-long “tour of duty” in the U.S. government, tackling issues of national priority alongside 22 federal agency partners, with some embedding multiple Fellows into their organization to work towards bold goals on shared projects. Established by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 2012, and housed at GSA since 2013, PIF has recruited some of industry’s most renowned technologists into the federal government, and this year is no different. This year’s cohort is especially noteworthy as they are beginning the program in a fully virtual environment and they are our most diverse cohort yet.
These 34 Fellows come with experience in artificial intelligence (AI), data science, product management, digital marketing, health innovation, and customer experience (CX) and design, and hail from Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Washington state, Maryland, New York, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Virginia, California, Georgia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
PIF has also doubled down on our AI emphasis to attract the brightest minds in AI to work on some of the nation’s most pressing challenges. 12 of PIF’s 26 agency projects will focus on AI, and 15 Fellows in the cohort have deep technical expertise across areas like computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), neural networks, and advanced predictive and prescriptive analytics. And the impact of AI in government is profound. With this new cohort, PIF’s AI work will help combat hiring biases, protect human health and the environment, advance COVID-19 diagnostics, and more. These exceptional individuals will work in close cooperation with agency leaders across the federal government on the strategic, operational, and tactical use of AI in order to help agencies evaluate, design, develop, and implement this technology.
Presidential Innovation Fellows have played critical roles in the government’s response to multiple crises since the program’s inception. Because of this, we have become a trusted partner to government leaders both in agencies and the White House. I’m extremely proud that this new cohort serves as another great example of PIFs stepping up during a crisis to help the American public.
We’re already blown away by the compassion and talent in this mission-driven community. Every leader here is committed to creating positive change at the scale of the federal government. When asked, “Why government?,” AI leader and new PIF Kimberly McManus shared:
“Leading and working on data science initiatives, I’ve spent my career working with diverse groups of people to develop products, including recommendation algorithms for jobs postings at LinkedIn, and the full research and development lifecycle at 23andMe. I’m eager for the opportunity to utilize my skills in data science leadership, policy, and cross-disciplinary initiatives to drive large-scale, positive change in the U.S. government.”
This cohort is unlike any other. We’re starting virtually. We’re bringing in new skillsets, experiences, and federal agency partners. At the same time, the leaders in this cohort already share so much with our community. They believe tech is a tool to improve the lives of all people in our country. When challenges arise, they see opportunity to learn, partner, and co-create solutions. We’re also so proud that this group of innovators reflects the diversity of our country.
The program, which was started by the White House Office of Science and Technology, has been housed at GSA since 2013. Since its inception, PIF has recruited 193 fellows who have worked in more than 40 agencies to advance government innovation and deliver stronger public services for all Americans. We’re proud to continue such rewarding work.
Embedded within federal agencies as “entrepreneurs in residence,” these Fellows will bring their industry expertise into 26 projects. Get to know them and their projects here:
- Marian Adly (she/her) joins PIF from St. Louis, Missouri, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She’ll be expanding VA capabilities in virtual healthcare delivery and health record interoperability. Her experience spans the healthcare ecosystem having worked in public and private entities across the continuum of care and delivery networks. Most recently, Marian worked at Google supporting COVID-19 response efforts and was responsible for managing a large public-private partnership.
- Natasha Bansgopaul (she/her) joins PIF from New York City, New York, and will be detailed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She’ll be engaging government, academic, and industry leaders to develop best practices around AI. As the Co-Founder and COO of DarcMatter (DM), Konstellation, and VegaX Holdings, Natasha is an experienced fintech, marketing, strategy, and M&A professional with over 10+ years of demonstrated leadership experience via Fortune 100 companies and startups. With a passion for learning, business development, diversity and inclusion, financial literacy, and technology, Natasha continues to pioneer the need for change in the financial services industry via fintech solutions.
- Ted Carstensen (he/him) joins PIF from Washington, D.C., and will be detailed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He’ll be modernizing CMS technology so that the agency can share data across the healthcare ecosystem to support patient-centered, data-driven decision making and innovative research. Prior to public service, Ted spent almost two years at a venture backed startup in Silicon Valley where he had roles in business development, product management, and marketing. Before exploring the startup world, Ted spent nine years in Fortune 500 companies, including six years as a product manager and buyer at Amazon and three years at GE where he participated in a rotational leadership development program.
- Agata Ciesielski (she/her) joins PIF from Morgantown, West Virginia, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO). She’ll be working alongside four other Fellows to develop the agency’s technology strategy and roadmap to setting up centers of excellence in emerging technology areas. Agata has been working (and playing) in the field of machine learning, robotics, space and biomedical engineering for the last 20 years. Her most recent professional experience involved algorithms for Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab for COVID-19, advanced molecular development, and lifelong learning.
- Justin Cole (he/him) joins PIF from Washington, D.C., and will be detailed to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). He’ll be creating and operationalizing a portfolio focused on better usage and analytics of financial data, and transforming bank supervision and credit risk detection using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning on loan data. Justin has dedicated his career to playing the role of translator - whether helping translate between clinicians and data scientists in the design of an AI support tool at IBM, or between seasoned street sweeper operators and civic technologists to design a better application with Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works.
- Antoinette Coleman (she/her) joins PIF from Fairfax, Virginia, and will be detailed to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She’ll be working alongside three other Fellows to unlock the value of data, scale AI, develop diverse industry talent pipelines, create a human-centered product organization, and use real-world evidence to accelerate safe and effective cures. Antoinette is an experienced consumer products leader with expertise across innovation, brand strategy, digital marketing, and consumer-centered design. She has held leadership positions across a variety of brands in the food, beauty, and beverage industries. Her expertise is in leading cross-functional teams to solve key organization challenges and build scalable business strategies that drive growth.
- Aaron Creel (he/him) joins PIF from Alexandria, Virginia, and will be detailed to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). He’ll be advancing modern, data-driven audits, evaluations, and investigations to enable effective and efficient oversight over HHS programs, as well as the health and welfare of the people they serve. Aaron Creel is a Security Executive with specialized expertise in government and commercial sectors. With extensive experience across all aspects of security and compliance, Aaron has made a significant impact on risk mitigation and asset protection for many private and public sector organizations. Aaron began his professional career on Active Duty in the United States Coast Guard.
- Masha Danilova (she/her) joins PIF from Santa Monica, California, and will be detailed to GSA’s Technology Transformation Services Artificial Intelligence Portfolio (TTS AI). She’ll be developing a data and AI training initiative, as well as leadership and guidance for the AI Community of Practice. Prior to PIF, Masha worked for Procter & Gamble spanning operations, product design, product development, and consumer research. Masha has spent the last two years working as a Strategy & Operations Analytics Manager at Wayfair, where she drove company-wide digital initiatives across marketing, logistics, and merchandising. In March, Masha recognized her passion for the public sector as she began consulting the AEC industry in NYC on post-COVID recovery.
- Alex Glade (she/her) joins PIF from Vienna, Virginia, and will be detailed to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). She’ll be performing an agency culture analysis and developing a comprehensive culture plan founded on innovative data solutions. After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Alex served as an Army Engineer in the Middle East, South Korea, and Japan. After the military, she helped launch a solar water treatment and technology company, a food and beverage distribution service for emerging brands, and a nonprofit helping military service members and their families transition out of the military with support and success.
- Scott Gorman (he/him) joins PIF from San Francisco, California, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office, DOE-AITO. Working with one other Fellow, he will strategize, develop, and coordinate projects to combat adversarial AI. Scott brings the program than 15 years of experience leading healthcare, technology, and military teams across five continents. He is a Military Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, as well as the co-founder of Chorus Health, a digital health company using data and design to personalize healthcare at scale, where he led product development from conception to commercialization.
- Raashee Gupta Erry (she/her) joins PIF from Falls Church, Virginia, and will be detailed to the Federal Trade Commission. Working with one other Fellow, she will gather and analyze cutting-edge intelligence on digital advertising markets, inform consumer protection policy, and optimize consumer welfare while maintaining vibrant competition and innovation. Raashee is a digital media and marketing leader with 16 years of experience in building brands, driving demand, and generating revenue. She has led digital and cross-channel integrated marketing programs for global brands and organizations ranging across B2C, B2B and public sector, including critical roles at Essence, WPP/GroupM agency, Neustar, Volkswagen, LMO, Digitas, and Samsung-Cheil Communications.
- Nathen Huang (he/him) joins PIF from Arlington, Virginia, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of State. He’ll be developing new digital tools and strategies to more effectively communicate U.S. foreign policy priorities and the importance of diplomacy. Nathen is a quantitative social scientist and data scientist passionate about leveraging statistics to advance society’s well-being (“data science for social good”). For most of his career, Nathen has consulted for federal clients; he has also worked as a lead data analyst at POLITICO, a political news organization. In his career, Nathen has worn many hats- statistician, programmer, visualization developer, and project manager.
- Kamya Jagadish (she/her) joins PIF form San Francisco, California, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO). She’ll be working alongside four other Fellows to develop the agency’s technology strategy and roadmap to setting up centers of excellence in emerging technology areas. Prior to government, Kamya worked in growth and user research at various tech companies, including product management and data science to drive user growth at Facebook (specifically focused on New Users and Friending), and leading efforts to create personas for Lime scooter riders.
- Krishna Juluru (he/him) joins PIF from New York, New York, and will be detailed to National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), National Institutes of Health (NIH). He’ll be advancing new technologies to improve patient care and safety, streamline workflow, facilitate education, and enable new medical discovery, especially as it relates to COVID-19 response. Krishna is a physician-scientist with expertise in healthcare informatics. He has played key roles in building imaging informatics programs at leading medical institutions, supporting both clinical and research advancements. He is passionate about the value of healthcare information standardization and interoperability in the future of care delivery.
- Michael “Mike” Kreisel (he/him) joins PIF from Washington, D.C., and will be detailed to the Environmental Protection Agency. He’ll be developing technology for EPA enterprise information programs to foster data-driven decisions that protect human health and the environment. Mike is a researcher and engineer who is passionate about using technology for the social good. His expertise is in designing, prototyping, and deploying machine learning systems which have an immediate, measurable impact. Prior to joining PIF, Mike worked as a data scientist and researcher at Comcast, Google, and Quantifind, where his machine learning systems have processed billions of pieces of data and served millions of customers.
- Diana Lam (she/her) joins PIF from Brooklyn, New York, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of State. She’ll be developing new digital tools and strategies to more effectively communicate U.S. foreign policy priorities and the importance of diplomacy. Diana is a data, machine learning, and natural language scientist who is passionate about developing data products to improve government services for citizens. Before becoming a PIF, she was a machine learning scientist at Capital One, where she led the development of behavioral, anomaly detection, and natural language models to improve customer experience for credit card customers.
- Vivian Lee (she/her) joins PIF from Bellevue, Washington, and will be detailed to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Working with one other Fellow, she will gather and analyze cutting-edge intelligence on digital advertising markets, inform consumer protection policy, and optimize consumer welfare while maintaining vibrant competition and innovation. Vivian is a marketing and advertising leader with diverse experiences building insight-driven, cross-channel, innovative digital campaigns from concept to market. She has worked across Microsoft’s consumer and commercial divisions, leveraging the latest innovations in marketing to educate customers, build thought leadership, and create tangible community impact.
- Tricia Martinez (she/her) joins PIF from Chicago, Illinois, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office, DOE-AITO. Working with one other Fellow, she’ll work with AITO’s director to create, develop, and execute a strategy for AI and machine learning throughout the DOE enterprise. Tricia is a serial entrepreneur and executive passionate about driving large-scale impact through technology and innovation. She has been named top 20 founders of color, Hispanic Entrepreneur of the Year, top 100 Fintech leaders creating impact, and 100 most influential people in cryptocurrency. Her most recent company, Wala, created a blockchain-based financial management tool.
- Kimberly McManus (she/her) joins PIF from San Francisco, California, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She’ll be using new approaches like decision automation to develop tools to deliver benefits and services to veterans with greater speed and ease. Kimberly is a scientist, dedicated to translating cutting edge research and technology into impactful solutions. In her most recent position, she led a team at 23andMe that developed new methods and features for customers to learn about their ancestry. She thrives when working with cross-functional teams and has led multiple data initiatives. Prior to 23andMe, she was a software engineer at LinkedIn where she worked on recommendation systems.
- Janine Medina (she/her) joins PIF from Washington, D.C., and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority’s (BARDA) Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe). She’ll be designing and building a 21st-century data management system, scale their private sector partnerships, and incorporate human centered-design practices when sourcing and funding new technologies. Janine has over 16 years of experience in biotechnology, biomedical and security with a focus on health care. Janine is also the Executive Director for a DEF CON Biohacking Village.
- Sabrina Mohamed (she/her) joins PIF from Seattle, Washington, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She’ll be implementing product management best practices across the VA’s IT portfolio, moving from a project-centric culture to one focused on delivering excellent user outcomes. Sabrina’s mission as a product leader is to incorporate ethics and human-centered design into technological conversations. Prior to PIF, Sabrina worked at Microsoft. She most recently worked on Word, building ways for information workers to collaborate and stay on top of personal productivity. She also worked on OneDrive for Business, designing external collaboration capabilities to meet the multi-faceted security needs of enterprise customers.
- Babatunde Oguntade (he/him) joins PIF from Round Rock, Texas, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He’ll be using new approaches like decision automation to develop tools to deliver benefits and services to veterans with greater speed and ease. Before government, Babatunde founded DeepCareAi, an organization focused on improving safety in the workplace using AI. In addition to his duties at DeepCareAi, he led the consulting efforts at Rehoboth Group Incorporated, a consultancy that has successfully solved challenging problems in process engineering, financial engineering, fraud detection and preventative maintenance. He also worked in retail and wholesale credit risk analytics at Citi Bank.
- Maria Patterson, PhD (she/her) joins PIF from Indianapolis, Indiana, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. She’ll be developing protocols to help ensure HR-related AI tools are not unintentionally biased against job seekers and employees with disabilities. Maria is passionate about building diverse and inclusive open data and science communities. Since earning a PhD in astronomy, she has pioneered the development of large-scale data platforms for professional researchers and citizen scientists alike. Most recently, Dr. Patterson developed data concepts for High Alpha Innovation, partnering with large organizations to create opportunities through startup and venture studio creation.
- Abrar Qureshi (he/him) joins PIF from Manassas Park, Virginia, and will be detailed to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). He’ll be integrating emerging technology and agile software development across USMC to digitally transform logistics. Abrar has a strong background and interest in full-stack digital solution design and engineering, databases, cloud architecture, data engineering, data democratization, and AI/ML strategy. Abrar has led teams and delivered numerous strategic business initiatives in the banking, financial services, and fin-tech sector over his professional career, while working at Freddie Mac, Capital One and HelloWallet/KeyBank.
- Carlos Roqué (he/him) joins PIF from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and will be detailed to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). He’ll be growing NGA’s product management and user experience research (UX) expertise. Carlos’ belief in practical solutions and building trust has helped get things done across industries like enterprise, consumer, hardware, and healthcare. Most recently, Carlos was part of a fintech company focused on e-commerce after having led product teams at an augmented reality company. Previously, Carlos worked at Facebook and founded a healthcare company expanding access to care through the transmission of biometric data.
- Emily Ryan (she/her) joins PIF from Washington, D.C., and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Justice. She’ll be growing the UX design capacity and embedding a human-centered design mindset to technology products that advance civil rights. In her 23 years of experience, she has worked cross-functionally to solve a variety of digital issues, largely within the education and health care sectors, for commercial, federal and state government agencies. She began her career as a web and print designer, then transitioned into a full-stack web and database developer and finally, in the last 10 years, has moved into the user experience (UX) competency in leadership roles at GoCanvas, Deloitte Digital, and Endgame.
- Dr. Payman Sadegh (he/him) joins PIF from Washington, D.C., and will be detailed to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) as Chief Data Officer. He’ll be advising management on agency-wide data entry, design, warehousing, collection, dissemination, management and accessibility, ensuring data programs are coordinated, comprehensive, and strategic. Dr. Payman Sadegh is an executive with over 20 years of experience in leading applications of advanced analytics, data science, machine learning and AI across multiple industries including financial services, retail, Internet, healthcare, telecom, and automotive. Prior to government, Payman co-founded ChainSquared, an AI-based healthcare startup, and was chief data scientist for Visual IQ, a leading provider of marketing attribution and intelligence solutions acquired by Nielsen in 2017.
- Arunan Skandarajah (he/him) joins PIF from Washington, D.C., and will be detailed to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He’ll be unlocking the value of data, scaling AI, developing diverse industry talent pipelines, creating a product-centric organization, and using real-world evidence to accelerate safe and effective cures. Arunan is an engineer, strategist, and global health practitioner who is passionate about erasing the barriers that people face when trying to access healthcare. Most recently at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Arunan developed and led programs to connect diagnostics to public health systems, manufacture COVID-19 tests in new ways, and use inexpensive sensors to measure the risk of disease.
- Dave Skender (he/him) joins PIF from Potomac, Maryland, and will be detailed to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). He’ll be implementing AI and analytics for cybersecurity, as well as developing and maintaining the underlying cloud and data environment. Dave Skender is a lifelong product and engineering professional, coach, and leader with roots in traditional systems design, and has been a prominent member of senior software engineering leadership teams. While his career has taken him deeply into software product development, he has also worked in an executive management consulting firm helping startup-to-medium-sized companies develop and execute strategic plans. He has been an active software coder since age 11.
- Colin Supko (he/him) joins PIF from Washington, D.C., and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Defense. He’ll be maximizing public-private partnerships through the Trusted Capital program. Colin began his Naval career as a Surface Warfare Officer making two deployments to South America and the Caribbean from 1999 to 2001. After the tragic events of 9-11, he volunteered and graduated Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) training, making four deployments to combat in the Middle East. In his civilian capacity, Colin is a two-time start-up founder having co-founded the consumer electronics company MUNITIO.com and the digital marketplace PatriotList.us.
- Brandy Thomas (he/him) joins PIF from Fairfax, Virginia, and will be detailed to the U.S. Navy’s Digital Integration Support Cell (DISC). He’ll be developing an innovation portfolio and engaging entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses that further our nation’s safety. Brandy is a senior innovation and strategy executive, as well as a serial technology entrepreneur. He has developed strategies across almost two dozen industries and worked in several countries. Brandy has a strong technology background which spans software development in early years to leveraging emerging technologies to address large challenges in recent years. He co-founded and ran two venture-backed tech companies, and launched and ran innovation labs for several large organizations.
- Adrianna Valenti (she/her) joins PIF from Fairfax Station, Virginia, and will be detailed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO). She’ll be working alongside four other Fellows to develop the agency’s technology strategy and roadmap to setting up centers of excellence in emerging technology areas. Adrianna brings 15 years of experience across end-to-end project management, collection management, data science and modeling, predictive analysis, and methodology recommendations. She began her journey as a musician then found her way to supporting intelligence operations in the U.S. Air Force. Here, she discovered her passion for combining art and science to provide answers and understanding to complex issues.
- Aamir Virani (he/him) joins PIF from San Francisco, California, and will be detailed to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). He’ll be growing NGA’s product management and user experience research (UX) expertise. Prior to public service, Aamir has worked at small private startups that blew up (in a bad way) and blew up (in a good way). He was co-founder and Senior Vice President of Product at Dropcam and served as a Google Nest product leader after Dropcam was acquired by Google in 2015. He has also worked at big public companies and invested in technology startup companies as an angel and venture investor.
- Pia Zaragoza (she/her) joins PIF from San Francisco, CA and will be detailed to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). She’ll be leading customer experience (CX), advising product design, and building a customer-centric culture to further CISA’s cybersecurity mission. Pia Zaragoza is a creative technologist, researcher, and educator exploring the current use cases and future possibilities of emerging technologies. She has held strategic roles at Fortune 500 companies working on inclusive design and accessibility research. Her past fellowships include Cinereach, IDEO, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
About Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF)
The mission of Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) is to unite talented technologists, designers, and strategists with federal leaders to co-create bold solutions for public good. PIF is proudly part of Technology Transformation Services (TTS) within the General Services Administration (GSA). To learn more about PIF, visit pif.gov or join the conversation on social media at @PIFgov.
About Technology Transformation Services (TTS)
The mission of Technology Transformation Services (TTS) is to improve the lives of the public and public servants by transforming how the government uses technology. TTS applies new methodologies and technologies to help agencies make their services more accessible, efficient, and effective with modern applications, platforms, processes, personnel, and software solutions.
About U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
The mission of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is to deliver value and savings in real estate, acquisition, technology, and other mission-support services across the government. One of GSA’s four strategic goals is to improve the way agencies buy, build, and use technology. To learn more about GSA or TTS, visit gsa.gov or join the conversation on social media at @USGSA, @GSA_TTS, and @GSAEmily.