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Wow, the first quarter of 2023 is almost over. We hope you find the Resources (sourced from our members and grantees), Bulletin (PIT-UN updates), Pulse (expert opinion pieces), and Pipeline (student-focused) useful in your PIT work. You can expect to see more opinion pieces from members and other PIT experts, deep dives into the PIT-UN work taking place on campuses across the country, and much more reporting and analysis from the field. (Ask me about how to contribute to any of our next four issues, on topics ranging from data science and AI to climate tech.) 

Working Groups and Cohorts 

Our members are hard at work and have started four new working groups:

  1. The DEI in Cybersecurity Clinics working group will help to support the growth of cybersecurity clinics being inclusive chaired by Kevin Harris (Stillman College) and Ann Cleveland (UC Berkeley).
  2. Mid-West Regional PIT-UN Working Group will continue to bolster the PIT in the MidWest work started at the 2022 Annual Convening chaired by Shilpa Khedar (Cleveland State) and Nicholas Barendt (Case Western).
  3. PIT@NSF working group will explore ways to promote public interest technology (PIT) research at the US National Science Foundation (NSF) chaired by Kenneth Fleischmann (UT Austin) and Latanya Sweeney (Harvard).
  4. PIT-UN Scholars are developing a PIT WIKI page in order to increase the visibility of how technology can promote the public good both domestically and internationally chaired by Brenda Perea (PIT-UN).

Welcome to the PIT–UN Equity/MSI Fellow

A hearty welcome to our first MSI Fellow, Sheetal Dhir, the new Equity/MSI Fellow for PIT at New America, will strengthen the Network’s equity, inclusion and justice strategy while working with MSI members to develop and sustain their PIT programs. Sheetal has already begun the work to strengthen the Network’s equity, inclusion and justice strategy while working with MSI members to develop and sustain their PIT programs.

“I know firsthand that the functionality of our democracy and the future of technology are inextricably linked,” says Dhir, formerly the Senior Advisor to the President at Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. “Digital technologies are central to our daily lives and institutions, and it is incumbent upon us to develop approaches to tech design and deployment that ensures civil rights and liberties.”

Dhir brings over 10 years of experience in racial justice work to her role at New America, including stints at Spitfire Strategies, Amnesty International US and the American Civil Liberties Union. She began her career as a broadcast journalist, contributing to Al-Jazeera and ABC News among other mainstream outlets. Dhir will work with members to ensure that those most affected by policy problems will have access to public interest tech careers, and the resources to contribute to technology design, policy and deployment.

“There is no doubt in my mind that in the coming years we are going to need technologists who are civically minded and prominently placed in the C-suites of all the major tech companies. Ensuring the success of PIT-UN is a critical step to making that happen and I am honored to be on the ground floor of this effort,” adds Dhir.

The Best is Yet to Come

Recently, PIT-UN announced the 2022 Network Challenge Grantees. The 2021 grant projects are set to close in April 2023. Here’s a preview of how they’ve progressed thus far:

Request for Proposals

Career Fair

Career Fair RFP is a collaboration between the institution’s Career Services and PIT-UN designees and principal investigators.

Network Challenge

Network Challenge RPF will be released March 31, 2023 and proposals should be in 2 categories: Educational Opportunities, Career Pipeline & Placement

We look forward to sharing the outcomes and resources from the 2021 cohort throughout the year. 

Make sure to join our Twitter and LinkedIn conversations to find resources and fellowship with our growing PIT community. Hope to see you there!  

Stay safe and healthy, 

Brenda Mora Perea