Recent Updates
Wednesday
Jul032019

Alumni Spotlight: Joe Croce

MS in Government Analytics alumnus Joe Croce was recently featured on the Inspired Service Podcast, a "new new show that is humanizing public service one conversation at a time."  We are so proud of Joe for his service and his continuing commitment to America's national security.  

How does one man’s blue-collar upbringing in Philadelphia inform the drive to serve? What’s it like serving overseas when your college friends are being wined and dined by investment banks? What does the singer-songwriter Jimmy Croce have to do with U.S. national security? Joe Croce, of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, answers these questions and many more on this episode of Inspired Service.

 Listen to the podcast here.

Thursday
Jun202019

GAB Forum: Reducing Bias in Algorithms

This month's GAB Forum featured Miriam McKinney (Research Data Analyst, JHU Center for Government Excellence) and Andrew Nicklin (Futurist At-Large, JHU Centers for Civic Impact) who gave a talk titled, "Artificial intelligence algorithms manifest our own biases: Reduce harm by mitigating risks." 

Ms. McKinney opened the discussion by asking participants about their experiences with data and algorithms.  The audience agreed that, because people are biased, data are biased, which inevitably means that algorithms are biased.  But, this doesn't mean that we should never use algorthims.  According to Ms. McKinney, "Your algorthims are biased.  What are you going to do about it?"

A useful starting point for identifying and addressing bias is to employ the Ethics and Algorthims Toolkit developed by researchers at JHU and other universities and civic tech groups.  The purpose of the toolkit is to evaluate an algorithm for potential biases.  By working through the toolkit, government officials can pinpoint areas of concern with respect to an algorthim's implementation.  For example, by using the toolkit, officials might come to realize that their data fail to capture a key segment of the population.

As more cities, states and federal agencies adopt the toolkit, researchers will be able to better evaluate and quantify its effect on reducing unintended bias. 

You can view a recording of the event here.

Friday
Jun142019

First Offering of DC Lab Course

Washington, D.C. is the laboratory for anyone studying American government and politics or analyzing the policymaking process.  In the May Intersession, Dr. Kathy Hill, Director of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies offered a new class, DC Lab:  Politics, Policy, and Analytics,  which provided CAGS students an opportunity to spend an intensive week in DC exploring the theory and practice of democracy and citizenship in action in Washington.  Highlights of the week included a number of events involving Hopkins alumni.  DC Lab students spent one day on Capitol Hill with an insider's walking tour and lecture on the History of Media and Covering Congress by Matt Laslo ('11) followed by an alumni panel of current Hill staffers:  Clinton Britt, Kenny Ames, Sadaf Khan, Ashleigh Phillips, and Carrie Swope.  Brianna Besch, a current student in the MS in Government Analytics program who works in the Office of Global Affairs and Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) organized two panels of analysts and scientists that provided a closer look at the inner workings of the agency.  Alexander Goldberg ('15) who works at the U.S. Department of State on the Korean Affairs desk arranged a briefing and discussion about Korea and Demilitarization and followed this by engaging the students in an excellent workshop on Efficient Writing and Verbal Messaging that included preparing "walk and talk" briefings the students prepared and gave to State Department officials.   Morgan Ortagus ('13) who was recently appointed to be the Spokesperson for the Department of State stopped by to meet with the DC Lab students as well. 

 

The week also included sessions at Gallup, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and the Brookings Institution.  While in DC, the students met with their advisors and others as they worked on their research papers for the class.  At the end of the week, Dr. Wolfson who gave the students a lecture on the Founding Fathers with a particular emphasis on George Washington's role in establishing the presidency and our nation accompanied the class on a day-long visit to Mount Vernon which included special sessions with the historian of Washington's papers and an interactive exercise to "Be Washington."  It was an exhilarating week and CAGS plans to hold additional courses like this in the future.  Classes like the DC Lab can provide students who are either distance learners or residing in the DC area an opportunity to come together and study in-person with faculty and other students for a week and then complete the remainder of the course online.                          

 

Thursday
Jun062019

CAGS IN CUBA



In January 2019, Dr. Kathy Wagner Hill, Director of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies (CAGS), traveled to Cuba with two other professors and 29 AAP students as part of the course, Nature Conservation and Sustainability in Cuba.  The international study course was cross-listed from the Environmental Science and Policy (ESP) Program.  Dr. Hill co-taught the inter-disciplinary course with Dr. Jerry Burgess, a geologist who directs the ESP Program, and Professor Jill Caporale, a biologist.  CAGS students comprised about a third of the class and with Dr. Hill brought a political science and public management perspective to the intensive course.  Here is the first of several videos that help capture some of what was gained from experiencing Cuba first hand.  This one features Dr. Hill and ones that follow will highlight what some of our CAGS students in the course valued most from this learning adventure.   

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sv6WWS8MhUEBb7QV3ZRoNjtyevGs3fkH/view
    
   

 

Friday
Apr122019

GAB Forum: AI in Government

Yesterday's Government Analytics Breakfast Forum discussed how agencies are leveraging AI technologies to improve accessibility compliance as well as the security clearance process.  

All technology developed or commissioned by the government should meet specific accessibility standards outlined in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.  Marina Fox, .GOV Domain Services Manager at the General Services Administration, explained how her team has developed an algorithm-based natural language processing tool to evaluate solicitations to determine if they are Section 508 compliant.  Greater use of this AI tool by agencies seeking to procure new technologies should minimize the development of software, apps and other products that fail to meet accessibility standards.  Read more about GSA's use of this AI technology on FedScoop

Terry Carpenter, program executive officer for the National Background Investigation Service, is also using AI tools to improve government operations.  His team has developed a digital form to replace the complicated paper forms previously used to gather information for security clearances.  The data inputted into the digital form can now be analyzed alongside data gathered from both private and public sources to produce a summary recommendation that is presented to decision makers with the supporting evidence.  Read more about how AI is improving the security clearance process on NextGov.

A full recording of the event can be viewed here.  Click here to subscribe to the GAB Forum invitation list.