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The PIT UNiverse Newsletter

2024 Theme: Building Blocks of Democracy

Communities around the world are gearing up for a highly contested year of elections in which emerging technologies will play a key role. As we engage with this challenge and advocate for PIT as an essential set of tools for promoting safe and secure elections, we want to emphasize the vital role that PIT plays in creating the very infrastructure that makes democracy possible. We cannot have a functioning democracy without data privacy, ethical AI development, cybersecurity that’s accessible and equitable – in short, technology that serves the public interest.

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February 2024 Newsletter

Updates from the Network this month include our second annual PIT Career Fair RFP, a new academic journal on public interest technology, and there are new playbooks from the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago on developing community partnerships, and data science for social impact.

2023 Newsletter Themes

In 2023, our bi-monthly newsletter focused on six areas critical areas of public interest technology. 

Previous Years

January 2023: [News] The Public and Critical Infrastructure Issue

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The Public and Critical Infrastructure issue explores how public interest technology and the work of PIT-UN members are developing solutions to a wide array of public and critical infrastructure issues, from smart cities to sustainable water purification. Read more to find more resources, student Q&As, and op-eds from PIT experts and practitioners. 

March 2023: Institutionalizing PIT

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This month, learn the hows and whys behind institutionalizing PIT on your campus from a range of experts across the Public Interest Tech University Network. We also have in-depth reports, a federal funding guide and upcoming opportunities and events. Program Manager Brenda Perea’s update includes our fast-approaching Network Challenge, and meet Sheetal Dhir, PIT-UN’s new MSI / Equity Fellow through our Q&A. Read more here.

May 2023: Data Science & AI

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This month, experts from across PIT-UN share insights, frameworks, case studies and practical guides on how we can teach, learn and apply data science and AI in ways that support community wellbeing and human flourishing. Plus, we welcome five new PIT-UN members, congratulate the winners of our Career Fair RFP, and announce registration for the 2023 Convening at Boston University. Read more here.
 

July 2023: Cybersecurity

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In the July 2023 issue of PITUNiverse, you’ll find editorial features on public interest cybersecurity from across our network, a preview of recently-completed PIT-UN Challenge Grant projects and resources for faculty, students and PIT graduates.

September 2023: Climate Change

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This summer’s devastating wildfires and heat waves have increased our collective sense of urgency around addressing climate change. In the September 2023 issue of PITUNiverse, you’ll find insights from experts in AI, data science, public policy, engineering, and the humanities about the intersections between PIT and climate change.

November 2023: Defending Democracy

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In the November 2023 issue of PITUNiverse, you’ll find insights from experts in law, community-centered data science, computer science, public policy and more on how PIT practitioners are defending democracy.

January 2022: PIT-UN 2021 Year in Review

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The Year in Review issue looks back at the field-building outcomes from PIT-UN members in 2021. In addition, six new 2021 Network Challenges grantees are announced.

February 2022: New Members & Member Recommitments

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PIT-UN announces five new members and members reaffirm Their Commitment to field-building with a focus on equity and social justice.
 

March 2022: PIT-UN Partnership and a New PIT Book 

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In this issue, we look at the role each PIT-UN partner plays in MIT’s and UC Berkeley’s National Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics. Plus, a book excerpt from The Tech That Comes Next, by Amy Sample Ward and Afua Bruce.

 

April 2022: Network Challenge Evaluation Committee

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PIT-UN is looking for experts to assess this year’s Network Challenge (Year 4) proposals by serving on the Evaluation Committee.

May 2022: Summer Student Video Contest

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PIT-UN is inviting students to create a video to show what PIT means to them and get the chance to win a cash prize. Plus, the 2022 PIT-UN Convening is open for registration.

June 2022: Summer Speaker Series & Convening Preview

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Learn more about the PIT Summer Speaker Series while getting a preview into the 2022 Convening. Plus, a look into the PIT Career Fair that connected value-aligned students and employers.

July 2022: UNConvening Preview & Summer Reading List

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Discover the PIT-UN Convening Summer Reading List on Afrofuturism and Indigenous Futurism. Plus, take a look into the UNConvening Preview.

September 2022: PIT Student Contest & PIT-UN Convening

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In this issue we share the open call for PIT students to join the Creative Arts Contest and hear from students discussing the PIT-UN Convening. 

October 2022: PIT Network Challenge Evaluation Committee Members and Convening

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Meet the 2022 Network Challenge Evaluation Committee Members and the 2022 Convening Schedule. 

November 2022: PIT-UN Convening Recap and 2023 Host Announced

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Discover the top highlights from the 2022 PIT-UN Annual Convening, learn more about the new host of the 2023 Convening and more!

December 2021

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The co-founders of U.S. Digital Corps discuss their initiative and how PIT will look in the future. Plus, the University of Michigan’s PIT Knowledge Network brings underrepresented lived experiences under the spotlight with a group of BIPOC public interest technology (PIT) practitioners.
 

November 2021

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This issue provides an inside look at the 31 2021 Network Challenge grantees working to build the PIT field by centering race, social justice, and ethics.
 

October 2021

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In this issue, we launch the PIT in Practice Q&A series, which profiles PIT practitioners who are helping define the field to learn about their PIT journey and outlook, in their words. We also look at how the NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology came about, and hear from trailblazer Fran Bernamn about where the field is headed.

September 2021

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This issue is edited by and for students. Learn what it’s like for students working on social impact projects, navigating the path to becoming a PIT practitioner, uncovering the emerging PIT job landscape, building a supportive community on Discord, and charting their own paths through an undefined (mine) field of interdisciplinary coursework, internships, first jobs, or a new mid-career direction. 

August 2021

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We talk to three members about the launch of pitcases.org, a case studies and resources for the PIT community. We also detail Miami Dade College’s GISEC project, a three-pronged approach to address underrepresentation in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and to enhance technological applications of public interest. Plus, we provide a round up of must-reads and upcoming events from the PIT universe. 

July 2021

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The newsletter takes a brief pause for July. In the meantime, PIT-UN’s director, Andreen Soley, shares recent developments and project successes from the growing Network.

June 2021

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We look at PIT practitioners who are working on a project to illuminate how the racial divide in New York City is itself a public health crisis. We also meet Network member Cal Poly State University, in San Luis Obispo, California, and speak to grantee Katie Cumiskey at The City University of New York’s College of Staten Island. Finally, Editor-in-Chief Karen Bannan talks to Daisy Magnus-Aryitey, co-founder of Code the Dream.

May 2021

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Two New America public interest tech practitioners testify before Congress, we meet Network member Worcester Polytechnic Institute and speak to grantees at MIT, and Karen Bannan talks to Network members about their successful collaborations through PIT-UN.

April 2021

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Watch our book talk with the authors of “Power to the Public,” hear from grantees at UC Berkeley, learn about our new member University of Illinois at Chicago, catch up with PIT student leaders at Stanford, and read up on “America’s dirty secret.”

March 2021

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We welcome seven new institutions to PIT-UN, spotlight grantees at the University of Virginia, talk to Moya Bailey about her new book on misogynoir and digital activism, and recap PIT’s event at NYC Open Data Week. Plus, save the date for the 2021 Annual Convening Nov. 1-2!

February 2021

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#BlackTechFutures co-founder Fallon Wilson discusses fixing the leaky pipeline for Black students in STEM, we hear from grantees at Georgetown Law, spotlight the University of California, Santa Cruz, and learn about taking the “slow lane” in problem-solving from PIT fellow Sascha Haselmayer.

January 2021

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Coding it Forward co-founder Chris Kuang shares his “Digital Corps” proposal, we profile grantees at The University of the South, turn our spotlight to Nazareth College, hear from former Presidential Innovation Fellow Clarice Chan about “corporate civic responsibility,” and sit down with TechCongress founder Travis Moore to learn about the Congressional Innovation Fellowship.

December 2020

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We recap several panels from the Annual Convening, including discussions on racial equity in PIT, pursuing a PIT career, and insights from our Network Challenge grantees.

November 2020

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We preview the 2020 PIT-UN Virtual Convening, spotlight The George Washington University’s PIT programming, talk to new 2020 Network Challenge grantees, and hear from the founders of Impactful.

October 2020

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A look at policy questions around facial recognition, the public interest potential of natural language processing, election integrity, and more.

September 2020

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This month, our Launch Pad feature story examines the many ways your university can work with local governments, providing tips to help you do so more successfully.