Public Interest Technology - University Network (PIT-UN)

Georgetown University was one of 21 founding universities that launched the Public Interest Technology - University Network (PIT-UN) with support from New America, the Ford Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation. As described on New America's website:

The Public Interest Technology University Network is a partnership that fosters collaboration between universities and colleges committed to building the nascent field of public interest technology and growing a new generation of civic-minded technologists. Through the development of curricula, research agendas, and experiential learning programs in the public interest technology space, these universities are trying innovative tactics to produce graduates with multiple fluencies at the intersection of technology and policy. By joining PIT-UN, members commit to field building on campus. Members may choose to focus on some or all of these elements, in addition to other initiatives they deem relevant to establishing public interest technology on campus:

  1. Support curriculum and faculty development to enable interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary education of students, so they can critically assess the ethical, political, and societal implications of new technologies, and design technologies in service of the public good.

  2. Develop experiential learning opportunities such as clinics, fellowships, apprenticeships, and internship, with public and private sector partners in the public interest technology space.

  3. Find ways to support graduates who pursue careers working in public interest technology, recognizing that financial considerations may make careers in this area unaffordable to many.

  4. Create mechanisms for faculty to receive recognition for the research, curriculum development, teaching, and service work needed to build public interest technology as an arena of inquiry.

  5. Provide institutional data that will allow us to measure the effectiveness of our interventions in helping to develop the field of public interest technology.

Meenakshi Balan

Undergraduate Fritz Family Fellow

Meenakshi is a junior in the School of Foreign Service studying International Politics with a concentration in International Law and minors in Computer Science, and Russian. After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, she has spent her time at Georgetown seeking to understand the intersection of politics and technology from a multitude of perspectives. From learning about state-sponsored surveillance at St. Petersburg State University in Russia and researching tech antitrust issues as a fellow at Princeton University, to experiencing presidential election dynamics firsthand as an analytics intern on the Biden campaign, Meenakshi is keen to explore and understand the ways in which technology influences the world and, in particular, politics. She is excited to return to the Massive Data Institute’s Election 2020 project as a Fritz Fellow helping to analyze digital media sources in order to better understand the issues and themes driving the 2020 Election.

Jason Farr

Ph.D. Fritz Family Fellow

Jason studies ethics as a doctoral student in the philosophy department at Georgetown. Jason holds a B.A. in Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in Philosophy from Northern Illinois University. His Ph.D. dissertation argues that traditional theories concerning the foundations of ethics ought to take more seriously the ways in which those foundations are inextricably social. As a Fritz Fellow, he will be looking at foundational values underlying research ethics that are challenged by the granular, real-world context of research using social media and other organic data.  Outside of philosophy, Jason is an avid hiker and amateur botanist. Some of his favorite memories were formed at Nature Camp in Virginia, where he served as an instructor for six years, and on the Appalachian Trail, which he thru-hiked in 2012.

Mark Hanin

Postdoctoral Fritz Family Fellow

Mark Hanin is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgetown’s Ethics Lab in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. His research centers on ethical and policy implications of emerging digital technologies, privacy, and the value of attention in the digital age. Mark also contributes to various Ethics Lab projects, including efforts to integrate ethics into Georgetown’s computer science curriculum and designing workshops on the ethics of AI for policymakers. As a Fritz Fellow, Mark will focus on a number of topics, including ethical issues posed by human interactions with social robots, which raise a host of concerns about manipulation, privacy, and the changing nature of social relationships in the digital age.

Mark earned his Ph.D. & M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge, J.D. from Yale Law School, and B.A. from Yale College. Before coming to Georgetown, Mark served as a law clerk on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Wyatt Hoffman

Professional Fritz Family Fellow

Wyatt Hoffman is a Research Fellow with the CyberAI Project at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). As a Fritz Fellow, Wyatt explores the implications of artificial intelligence (namely, machine learning) for international competition and conflict in cyberspace. At the intersection of computer science and geopolitics, Wyatt’s research takes an interdisciplinary approach and attempts to forecast the impacts of machine learning on cyber operations. His work aims to help policymakers understand and manage the risks of cyber conflict and promote the stability and security of cyberspace. 

Previously, Wyatt was a senior research analyst with the Cyber Policy Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where his work focused on cyber strategy, the role of the private sector in cybersecurity, and the intersection of nuclear weapons and cybersecurity. Wyatt holds an M.A. in War Studies from King’s College London, where he was a Rotary Global Grant Scholar in Peace and Conflict Prevention and Resolution. He earned a B.A. in political science from Truman State University.

Shuo Liu

Computer Science Ph.D. Fritz Family Fellow

Shuo is a second-year PhD student at Georgetown University in computer science. His current research interest lies in the area of fault-tolerant distributed optimization algorithms and implementations, including distributed machine learning, specifically Byzantine fault-tolerant models. Prior to that, he obtained his master’s degree in computer science at Georgetown, and undergraduate degree in mathematics at Fudan University, China. His master’s thesis studied a type of possible privacy exposures of users on social media.

Sheel Patel

Undergraduate Fritz Family Fellow

Sheel is a Senior from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service studying Science, Technology, & International Affairs with a concentration in Security & Technology. This summer he worked as an intern with TechCongress at New America, and prior to that, he was a Liberty and National Security intern at the Brennan Center for Justice. At these organizations, he worked on issues dealing with predictive policing, pretrial risk assessment systems, and surveillance technology. Sheel was also a teaching assistant for Professor Erik Voeten for a data analytics in international affairs course as part of the Masters in International Business Policy (MA-IBP) program. After graduation, Sheel hopes to go to law school and work on issues of algorithmic justice and civil liberties protections from emerging technology as well as national security concerns. Outside of school, you’ll find Sheel baking bread, exploring the world with his camera, or enjoying a good cup of coffee.

As a Fritz Fellow, Sheel is working with Professor Hillary Brill at the Institute for Technology Law and Policy at Georgetown Law to foster collaboration between the various institutes participating in the Tech & Society Initiative. Over the course of his fellowship, Sheel will talk to various faculty and staff and create a collaboration strategy as well as discussion panels to facilitate deeper collaborative projects.

Lindsey Barrett

Postdoc Fritz Family Fellow

Lindsey Barrett is a Fritz Family Fellow at the Institute for Technology Law & Policy at Georgetown Law and Communications, Culture & Technology (CCT), where she conducts research on privacy law and policy with a cross-disciplinary focus. Previously, she represented nonprofits in technology policy matters before federal agencies as a staff attorney and teaching fellow at Georgetown Law’s Communications & Technology Law Clinic. Her scholarship on consumer privacy and the Fourth Amendment has been published in a number of law journals, including the Seattle Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, and the Georgetown Law Technology Review, which she co-founded, while her other writing has been featured in popular publications like Slate, Fast Company, and Techdirt. She received her B.A. from Duke with honors, and both an LLM in Advocacy with distinction and her law degree from Georgetown.

J.J. Naddeo

Ph.D. Fritz Family Fellow

In collaboration with the Beeck Center and the Massive Data Institute J.J. is working with the Justice Innovation Lab (JIL) to identify potential racial disparities in incarcerations in local criminal justice systems. While not working at the JIL, J.J. is working on completing his PhD in Economics at Georgetown University, and consulting at the World Bank. His research utilizes spatial data and state of the art econometric tools to answer questions focusing on political economics. Prior to moving to D.C., J.J. finished his bachelor’s degree in physics at Rutgers-University Camden in Camden, NJ. He enjoys spending his free time camping and canoeing with friends and family.

Madeline Pfister

Undergraduate Fritz Family Fellow

Madeline is a Georgetown sophomore from Williamsburg, Virginia majoring in Operations and Information Management and minoring in Statistics. She spent the summer of 2020 as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow studying data ethics in the credit card industry. In her free time, Madeline loves to read a good book.

As a Fritz Fellow, Madeline works with the Massive Data Institute (MDI) and PEW Charitable Trust to work towards a Civil Justice Data Commons. The purpose of the Civil Justice Data Commons is to provide data to those working in civil justice and to propose a data governance model.

Agoritsa Polyzou

Professional Fritz Family Fellow

Agoritsa Polyzou is a Fritz Postdoctoral Fellow in the Massive Data Institute (MDI). She is conducting research and engaging in projects with faculty from the MDI and the Department of Computer Science at the intersection of big data, machine learning, and fairness. Her goal is to understand and measure how models can be biased towards groups of people with different characteristics and figure out ways to mitigate such events. Agoritsa supports and encourages women’s participation in the computer science field.

Agoritsa earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota, where she worked in educational data mining. She developed models and algorithms for the tasks of performance prediction and course recommendation in higher education. She earned her Bachelors’s degree in Computer Engineering and Informatics from the University of Patras, Greece.

Garrett Quenneville

Postdoctoral Fritz Family Fellow

Garrett is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Technology Law and Policy working on the Civil Justice Data Commons; a project to compile data across civil justice institutions to promote research and knowledge-sharing. Previously, he worked at the American Institute for Research on the National Household Education survey as a data analyst and at the Institute for Social Science Research evaluating the Alabama Accountability Act. He has a Masters degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a BA in economics from the University of Michigan.

Arjun Ravi

Undergraduate Fritz Family Fellow

Arjun is a junior in the College studying Economics and Mathematics and minoring in Government. Over the past two years, Arjun has researched issues in the economics of crime, including how algorithmic risk assessments in the criminal justice system affect sentences and judge preferences. He is a passionate member of the Georgetown Mock Trial Team and on the Steering Committee for Georgetown’s Carroll Round Conference on International Economics, an undergraduate economics research conference. In his free time, you can find Arjun at the rock-climbing gym or listening to podcasts on politics, law, and economics. As a Fritz Fellow, Arjun works with The Massive Data Institute (MDI), GU Politics, and The Computer Science Department to analyze social and digital media related to the 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns. The purpose of this work is to enrich the public dialogue about the campaigns and to develop analytics that will be useful to scholars producing peer-reviewed research on election outcomes.