Randori exercise during my Aikido black belt test

About me

I use storytelling, data science, and digital media to explain civic issues and support progressive campaigns. Currently, I'm the Data and Communications Specialist for Working Partnerships USA, a Silicon Valley-based think tank that combines grassroots organizing and public policy innovation to build the movement for a just economy.

I've worked with a variety of political campaigns, nonprofits, and advocacy groups, including leading the digital program for Yes on E: Opportunity to Work, a first-in-the-nation ballot initiative that addresses involuntary part-time work. While in school, I interned with the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington, DC, and the Center on Policy Initiatives in San Diego.

In June 2016, I graduated from the Stanford Journalism Program, where I focused on computational journalism and multimedia storytelling. I studied computer science, machine learning, and data journalism, applying these skills to cover transportation issues for the Peninsula Press (with stories picked up by SFGate and KQED). For my master's thesis, I used machine learning techniques to analyze local government agendas.

I also completed my undergraduate degree at Stanford, receiving a BA with honors in Urban Studies. As an Urban Studies major, I explored key issues facing cities — poverty and inequality, housing and transportation, sustainability and energy — and the political forces that shape policymaking. I also studied a variety of social science methods, including survey research, GIS mapping, and statistical analysis.

When I'm not geeking out about public policy or programming, I can usually be found practicing martial arts. For about ten years now, I've studied Aikido, a Japanese art that seeks to end a confrontation without unnecessarily injuring the assailant (the photo above is from my black belt exam). More recently, I've also been training in Eskrima, a Filipino art involving stick, double-stick, knife, and empty hand techniques.

My skills

Pixels, python, policy and prose

In order to effectively share information about complicated policy issues, I’ve built a variety of technical skills. I’m always interested in learning new programs, software languages, and techniques, but here’s an overview of what I can do:

Writing

Clearly organizing and presenting information is the core of what I do, and strong writing forms the basis for that. I begin projects by making sure I have a firm grasp of the topic and my audience, and figure out how to best structure and explain the subject. I can then write in a variety of different styles and formats, from blog posts and email blasts to news stories and research reports.

Information Design

I believe good design goes hand-in-hand with compelling writing, reinforcing the message and guiding readers through a topic. I understand the visual elements that shape emotions and establish order and hierarchy — color, typography, balance, movement — and can design materials in Photoshop, InDesign, and Keynote.

Web Development

The web is an interactive medium, so I've found that the best results come when I can both design and build online projects. I code responsive, standards-compliant sites that work on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices, and that are easily understood by search engines like Google. I can develop using an array of tools, including HTML, CSS and Sass, Javascript libraries like jQuery and Leaflet, PHP and Wordpress, Python (Flask), Ruby (Middleman, a bit of Rails), and workflow aides like Git, Grunt, and Bower.

Data Analysis & Visualization

Data can provide key context to an issue, demonstrating a situation's scope and revealing aspects that may not be readily apparent. I can use Python, R, SQL, and GIS software to collect, clean, and analyze datasets, and have the social science background to interpret findings and identify limitations. I can then create maps, infographics, and other visualizations to help people understand the numbers and their implications.