announcing the 2017 Congressional Innovation fellows!

Sunmin Kim


Sunmin is serving with Senator Brian Schatz and supporting on emerging issues in transportation, including transportation data and autonomous vehicle regulatory policy.  

Prior to the fellowship, she was a technology editor for The Economist Intelligence Unit's thought leadership division in the Americas. Specializing in the impact of technology on society and business, she has reported on technology policymaking, rise of startup cities, big data in business, sharing economy and the labor market and self-driving cars, to name a few.

Outside the EIU, she is the executive director of Pro Journo, a global business journalism non-profit, and a media advisor to the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers community. She received her Masters in Mechanical Engineering and Bachelors in Biological Engineering at the University of Michigan and Cornell University, respectively, and patented a method to pattern quantum dots (nanoparticles that have semiconductor properties).




Chris is serving with Senator Ron Wyden and supporting on cybersecurity and surveillance issues.

One of Politico's top "thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics," Christopher Soghoian is "the most prominent of a new breed of activist technology researchers" (The Economist), "who have risen to prominence by showing how tedious technical flaws can affect ordinary people."

Prior to the fellowship, Chris was the Principal Technologist with the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. Prior to that, he worked as a technologist in the Federal Trade Commission's Division of Privacy and Identity Protection. He is also a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School's Information Society Project and a TED Senior Fellow.

Soghoian completed his Ph.D. at Indiana University in 2012, which focused on the role that Internet and telephone companies play in enabling government surveillance of their customers. He has testified before the German and European parliaments and before state legislatures in Texas, Washington, and Michigan. His research has been cited by several federal and state courts, including the 7th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeal, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, and the state supreme courts of New Jersey and Massachusetts.


Maurice Turner


Maurice is serving with the Republican Staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (reporting to Chairman Senator Ron Johnson) and supporting on cybersecurity issues.

Maurice Turner brings a unique mix of formal education and practical work experience in technology and local, regional, and national policy to the fellowship program. After earning a Bachelor's in Political Science from Cal State Fullerton, he went on to earn a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California focusing on Emerging Communication Technologies, Privacy, and Civic Engagement, and recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity Strategy at Georgetown University.

Nearly a decade of municipal management experience is complemented by numerous private-sector technology positions, fellowships, and internships. His previous employers include the City of Newport Beach, EarthLink Municipal Networks, Center for Democracy and Technology, Coro Foundation, United Medical Center Hospital, US Department of Transportation, and Apple. Maurice has been a technology enthusiast for over 30 years and is committed to leveraging new technologies to increase government effectiveness and community engagement.


joel usher

Joel Usher was a 2017 Congressional Innovation Fellow serving with the Democratic staff of the House Oversight Committee (reporting to Ranking Member Cummings). He is a technology entrepreneur, former consultant, and U.S. Army war veteran with nearly a decade of experience at the National Security Agency. He brings substantive first-hand knowledge and expertise to a broad range of privacy and security matters. As the co-founder and CEO of a ridesharing technology company, he touched all aspects of startup operations with an emphasis on transportation and sharing economy business models, fundraising, and governing regulations, and can leverage this experience in policy discussions and research. He is a passionate LGBTQ+ and intersectional feminist ally, and eager to advance policy work in these fields as well.

Usher earned a computer science degree while serving on active duty, which he followed with master-level political coursework at the George Washington Graduate School of Political Management, and an MBA from Oxford.