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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.                          




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.



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.