The U.S. General Services Administration’s Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) today announced its 2021 cohort. This new class of Fellows includes 34 technology and industry leaders who are beginning a year-long “tour of duty” in the federal government, creating innovative solutions to issues of national priority alongside 22 federal agency partners.
Since 2012, PIF has recruited some of industry’s most renowned technologists into the federal government, and this year is no different, including leaders across data science, software engineering, product, design, entrepreneurship, and more. What makes the 2021 cohort unprecedented is that it is starting virtually, and it’s the most diverse cohort in the program’s history.
“Innovation thrives in partnerships, and with this new cohort, Presidential Innovation Fellows is uniting the best talent between the federal government and the private sector to drive the next generation of modern, human-centered solutions for the public,” said Acting FAS Deputy Commissioner and Technology Transformation Services Director Bob De Luca.
“Presidential Innovation Fellows have played critical roles in the government’s response to multiple crises since the program’s inception,” said PIF Executive Director Joshua Di Frances, of the new cohort. “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, using their diverse areas of expertise to serve the American public.”
Embedded within federal agencies as “entrepreneurs in residence,” these Fellows will bring their industry expertise into 26 projects across 22 agencies, including:
- Developing digital health platforms and diagnostic technologies to address the COVID-19 pandemic with the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Developing technical infrastructure to combat adversarial AI with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Artificial Intelligence & Technology Office (AITO)
- Protecting consumer rights in the rapidly evolving digital advertising ecosystem with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Division of Litigation Technology and Analysis, Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTech)
The new fellows are Marian Adly, Natasha Bansgopaul, Ted Carstensen, Agata Ciesielski, Justin Cole, Antoinette Coleman, Aaron Creel, Masha Danilova, Alex Glade, Scott Gorman, Raashee Gupta Erry, Nathen Huang, Kamya Jagadish, Krishna Juluru, Michael Kreisel, Diana Lam, Vivian Lee, Tricia Martinez, Kimberly McManus, Janine Medina, Sabrina Mohamed, Babatunde Oguntade, Maria Patterson, Abrar Qureshi, Carlos Roqué, Emily Ryan, Payman Sadegh, Arunan Skandarajah, Dave Skender, Colin Supko, Brandy Thomas, Adrianna Valenti, Aamir Virani, and Pia Zaragoza.
When asked, “Why government?,” fintech-and-blockchain leader and new PIF Natasha Bansgopaul shared, “As a first-generation Caribbean American, my family and I owe so much to this country for the opportunities provided. Given the current global pandemic, now, more than ever, the need for integration and adaptation of digital/technological tools is clear. Bottom line – I want to take the time to work on key problems facing the country and create direct impact that will assist in shaping the way we approach technology-based solutions throughout the government, and create positive impact for people across the nation.”
The Presidential Innovation Fellows, part of Technology Transformation Services within GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, is a highly-competitive fellowship that pairs talented, diverse technologists and innovators with top civil servants and change-makers working at the highest levels of the federal government to be innovation catalysts.
As of October 2020, PIF has recruited 193 fellows who have worked in more than 40 agencies to advance government innovation and deliver stronger public services. The program, which was started by the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP), has been housed at GSA since 2013.