PIT Summer Fellowship – 2020 Student Bios

Meenakshi Balan (Georgetown University)

Meenakshi is a rising junior at Georgetown University majoring in international politics with a concentration in law and ethics and minors in Russian and computer science. Since attending a technology-oriented high school, she has been really interested in understanding the bigger picture in terms of global and societal implications of science and technology and the different challenges to effective governance. She was drawn to the CITP fellowship because of the exposure it offers to understanding the federal and private landscapes of civic-minded technology, which can be difficult to access as an undergraduate. She is excited to learn from everyone in the program and hopes to eventually attend law school and work in this intersection of policy, ethics, and technology. 

Jeremy Bernius (Princeton University)

Jeremy is a rising junior at Princeton University. He is majoring in the School of Public and International Affairs with a certificate in the Program of Technology and Society, Information Technology Track and in Values and Public Life. Through debate in high school, he has developed a passion for the government and the possibilities that it offers, specifically the ability to protect vulnerable groups and create a more equitable structure. Searching for ways to achieve these goals in a modern world led him to the field of technology policy. With a special fervor for data and privacy rights in a digital age, he knew that this CITP fellowship could offer experiences that are rarely available to undergraduates. Jeremy hopes to take the skills and knowledge from this fellowship into his academic and professional future, hoping to attend law school and eventually work in crafting legislation that advances a more just technological society.

Shreya Chowdhary (Olin College)

Shreya is a rising junior at Olin College. At Olin, she founded leads a public interest tech clinic that is focused on creating spaces for undergraduate students to work on public interest tech projects. Through this work and her personal research, she have become aware of how technology can both flatten and exacerbate the inequities that exist in our society. She was drawn to the CITP fellowship as a chance to practically explore an intersectional solution to the complicated systems issues in the world, that involves both technology and policy. Shreya is excited to have a chance to participate in and envision a world where technology and policy work together to serve the public interest and create a more equitable society.  

Thomas Connelly (Georgetown University)

Thomas is a rising senior at Georgetown University studying international politics and philosophy. He is interested in how technological issues can inform policymaking, as well as the ethical challenges associated with emerging tech. His hope is to grow towards an understanding of the best role the government can play in nurturing technological growth while protecting consumer rights and ethical standards.

Leila Doty (Stanford University)

Leila is a rising senior at Stanford University. She is studying public policy with a concentration in science and technology policy and also pursuing a minor in computer science. She is motivated to pursue a career in technology policy because she is deeply concerned about the ramifications technology has for inequity, and also because she sees it as a policy frontier of sorts — different than a policy area like immigration, where decades of law and precedent limit what actors may change — and an opportunity for her generation of policymakers and innovators to lay the foundation of a fair and equitable framework to regulate technological innovation. The opportunity to do policy right from the early stages of this expanding field excites and calls her to action. 

Michelle Ly (Stanford University)

Michelle is a rising senior at Stanford University. She is majoring in symbolic systems, an interdisciplinary major with coursework in computer science, philosophy, linguistics, and psychology, and pursuing an honors in ethics in society (intended topic on digital space and privacy). She views the PIT-SF fellowship as a unique and amazing opportunity to work with undergrads, advisors, and government agencies to tackle current problems centered around tech policy. Michelle’s career aspiration is to work in the field of tech policy with different stakeholders, and going back to grad school to refine her research skills on a specific issue. 

Julia Meltzer (Stanford University)

Julia is a rising junior at Stanford University. She studies symbolic systems with a concentration in natural language. She is minoring in ethics in technology and civil and environmental engineering. She was attracted to this fellowship because her academic and professional interests lie in regulating and correcting unjust use of technology. Julia hope to acquire both the technical and the legal background necessary to bridge the ever-widening gaps among programmers, users, and lawmakers.

Manish Nagireddy (Carnegie Mellon University)

Manish Nagireddy is a rising sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University. He is majoring in statistics and machine learning, with intended minors in computer science and computational finance. His dream job consists of applying machine learning to financial models as a quantitative analyst. Delving into technology policy from the standpoint of a federal agency is what drew him to this fellowship. Looking at finance through both a legal and technical capacity is how Manish plan to fully explore his role as a data analyst with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

James Seddon (University of Chicago)

James Seddon is a rising fourth year public policy and political science double major at the University of Chicago with a minor in astronomy/astrophysics. He is interested in how policymaking can both proactively respond to and benefit from emerging technology. He is also interested in this fellowship because of its unique opportunity to see firsthand how policy at both the federal and state/local level is considered and made, and the (real) considerations that go into making it. Through his fellowship, James hopes to gain a better understanding of how policymakers interact with and treat key stakeholders, as well as what level and field of technology policy he’d like to work in after he graduates.