Aspen Tech Policy Hub Announces Second Cohort of Fellows

January 8, 2020

Innovative technologists and engineers make up the talented cohort of fellows who will learn how to shape and advocate technology policy

John Perrino

Jon Purves

San Francisco, CA & Washington, DC, January 8, 2020 — The Aspen Tech Policy Hub announced its second cohort of Incubator Fellows, who will focus on how to advocate for solutions to a wide range of vital technology policy issues. The group of leading technologists and engineers will undergo intensive training to learn the policy process and develop toolkits to explain and advocate technology policy issues.

The Incubator Fellows join the Aspen Tech Policy Hub from Google, Facebook, Salesforce, the U.S. government, state and local governments, and other public, private and nonprofit ventures across the United States.

“I’m thrilled to welcome our second cohort of fellows,” said Betsy Cooper, founding director of the Aspen Tech Policy Hub. “The winter 2020 fellows embody the program’s entrepreneurial public service mission and I look forward to watching them work together to grow and develop innovative ideas at the intersection of technology and policy.”

The winter 2020 Aspen Tech Policy Hub fellows include:

  • Elizabeth Allendorf, artificial intelligence engineer at Northrop Grumman on the cutting edge of natural language processing.
  • Jessica Cole, head of innovation and economic development for the City of Walnut Creek, California; builder of civic infrastructure.
  • Liv Erickson, open source engineer at Mozilla; virtual and augmented reality software application developer building shared 3D environments.
  • Nidhi Hebbar, globe-trotting educational technologist enabling creative and relevant modes of learning.
  • Madison Jacobs, editor-in-chief at Google for Startups; technology marketing expert and startup mentor.
  • Cecilia Donnelly Krum, developer at the Minnesota Senate; open source expert with a passion for humanitarian technology.
  • Mariah Lichtenstern, entrepreneur at the intersection of technology, entertainment, and venture capital to promote social, economic and environmental impact.
  • Anjana Rajan, technology entrepreneur passionate about applying cryptography to social justice issues; Y Combinator alumna.
  • Alexander (RoRo) Romero, Hack the Pentagon technical lead and digital services expert at the Defense Digital Service.
  • Matthew Schroeder, security engineer at Salesforce; previously helped secure Facebook, Gap Inc., Visa and more.
  • Matt Sievers military veteran who taught and developed curriculum for the U.S. Air Force Academy computer and cyber science programs.
  • Samara Trilling, software engineer researching machine learning fairness; worked to close the digital divide and democratize new reporting at Google.
  • Matthew Volk, senior engineer at Facebook working on misinformation and content moderation; human rights activist.
  • Amy J. Wilson, managing director at cyber startup accelerator MACH37; civic technology leader and author.
  • Raylene Yung, engineer who led payment, product and expansion teams at Stripe and Facebook efforts on privacy, content creation and News Feed.

The new class of Incubator Fellows will be in residence from January to mid-March 2020. During their residency, fellows will produce at least one practical policy output — for instance, mock legislation, toolkits for policymakers, white papers, op-eds, or an app—and will ‘exit’ the incubator by presenting their ideas to a stakeholder with decision-making authority over that issue.

“Technology policy is at a crossroads and solutions to some of our country’s most pressing concerns will require innovative approaches,” said Vivian Schiller, executive director of media and technology programs at the Aspen Institute. “Bridging the gap between technology and policy has never been more important. This talented group of fellows has the perfect combination of technical expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to public service to make a lasting impact with their work,” Schiller said.

The inaugural cohort of fellows developed 12 projects on a wide variety of technology policy topics, ranging from election security to privacy policy and AI bias. Their work has been presented around the country and featured by a number of news outlets including Bloomberg, CNBC, Politico, The Washington Post and Wired.

The Aspen Tech Policy Hub is currently accepting applications for the summer 2020 cohort of fellows through February 13. Experienced technology professionals of all backgrounds, including engineers, startup founders, academics, and journalists, who want to join the next generation of policy entrepreneurs are encouraged to learn more and apply at

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

The Aspen Tech Policy Hub is a West Coast policy incubator, training a new generation of tech policy entrepreneurs. We take tech experts, teach them the policy process through an in-residence fellowship program in the Bay Area, and encourage them to develop outside-the-box solutions to society’s problems. We model ourselves after tech incubators like Y-Combinator, but train new policy thinkers and focus the impact of their ideas. For more information, please visit


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