Recent Updates

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.


Student Spotlight: Joel Gallo

Joel Gallo, currently pursuing an MS in Government Analytics, is a Co-founder and Principal at GLS Group LLC, a management consultancy.  After traveling to China repeatedly since 2004, Joel decided to move to Guangzhou, China last year to participate in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that is China's "Greater Bay Area" encompassing Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Currently, Joel is advising a wealth management fintech that is using AI to develop robo investment strategies.  His work includes review of the platform's functional and technical capabilities, benchmarking to other wealth management fintech platforms, and developing recommendations for improvement.  In addition, Joel is heavily involved in China's blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem.  He is advising several cryptocurrency exchanges on launching of labs/launchpads for token project development, project campaign setup, token issuance, digital strategies, website enhancements, possible impacts of pending regulations.  Furthermore, as an active member of the blockchain and cryptocurrency community in Southern China, Joel is continuously meeting with investors, potential business partners and other industry executives with the goal of advising an industry that is still in a very early development stage to adopt leading best practices from more well-established branches of finance.

Joel decided to purse his M.S. in Government Analytics at Johns Hopkins due to recognizing the transformational shift to data-driven insights that our business world is undergoing.  Prior to GLS Group, Joel was a Director at PwC, a Senior Manager at Deloitte and E&Y.  He has spent 25 years in global banking, asset/wealth management and fintech and has advised more than 75 financial services firms around the world.  

GAB Forum: Daniel Zabronsky, Predictive Modeling at SSA

This month the Government Analyics Breakfast (GAB) Forum welcomed Daniel Zabronsky, Deputy Associate Commissioner at the Social Security Administration, who spoke about "The Use of Predictive Modeling to Support Program Integrity at SSA."  Mr. Zabronsky's talk empahsized ways to make analytics effective, including the intentional use of OLS regression because the results can be easily communicated to lay audiences and the importance of outlining a clear value proposition for the analytic work a team undertakes.

You can view a full recording of the presentation here.

We hope you'll be able to join us for our next GAB forum on April 11, 2019.  More details will be posted on the Government Analytics site soon.

Dr. Jennifer Bachner Publishes Case Study on Survey Experiments

Dr. Jennifer Bachner has published a new research methods case study with SAGE, titled Studying Public Opinion Using Survey Experiments.  The case study is based on research with Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg that examines how political leaders frame both history and the future to influence the public and advance their agendas.  See the abstract below; the full case can be accessed here.

Survey experiments are a frequently used methodological tool to study public opinion. This case discusses how a survey with a series of embedded experiments was used to examine how public opinion can be manipulated through the strategic framing of historical and future issues. The case first reviews the motivation and design of the survey and then discusses key practical considerations of survey administration, including pre-testing and obtaining Institutional Review Board approval. Next, the case outlines how to evaluate whether a survey went as planned, which can be accomplished by testing for random assignment to the treatment groups and identifying any biases that may have influenced the results. Finally, the case reflects on the lessons learned, such as the importance of proofreading the questions and answer choices with extreme care, using descriptive statistics to orient readers to the dataset and discussing the real-world implications of the key findings.



Dr. Kathy Hill Leads Panel on Assessing Science and Technology in Congress at the 2018 Dupont Summit

The 11th Annual Dupont Summit on Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy was held on December 7th in Washington D.C. and Dr. Kathy Hill, Director of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies, led a panel called, "Assessing Science and Technology in Congress:  Time for a New Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)?"  The panel participants were: Kevin Kosar, Vice President of Policy at the R Street Institute; Zach Graves, Head of Policy at the Lincoln Network; Yuri Beckleman, Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA); and Berin Szoka, Founder of TechFreedom.  There was a lively discussion with the consensus that the need for increased congressional capacity to assess and legislate on science and technology matters has never been greater.  It was also agreed that momentum with bipartisan support has built to the point that it is likely some version of OTA will be resurrected and funded perhaps as early as the next Congress.  OTA was created in 1972 and de-funded in 1995 (by one vote) in an effort led by then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA), but discussions about bringing it back have continued ever since.  Kosar and Graves discussed their paper, "Bring in the Nerds:  Reviving the Office of technology Assessment," and Zach's more recent paper, "Rebuilding the Technology Assessment Office in Congress:  Frequently Asked Questions."  The panel also reviewed the new efforts at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to address science and technology issues and the various forms a revived OTA might take.