On July 1, 2015, I launched a crowdfunding campaign to start TechCongress.
Over the course of a few weeks, I raised just over $8,000, which helped me pay for an accelerator program, a few months of coworking, and a round trip ticket to New York where I met our first big funder.
Since then, we’ve sent 23 technologists to Congress, who’ve served with the most influential members of the House and Senate. Our Congressional Innovation Fellows have done groundbreaking work on issues ranging from data privacy and voting machine security to drone standards and defense technology innovation. As an organization, we’ve grown strategically and incrementally, iterating and improving at each step.
And today, TechCongress is thrilled to be growing again, and recruiting for our fifth class of Congressional Innovation Fellows!
Between now and August 19, we’re looking for top engineers, computer scientists, and other technologists who want to apply their skills to some of the biggest challenges facing our country, and serve at a scale greater than any other. Even if you’ve never thought you might want to work in government, you should give the Congressional Innovation Fellowship a second look.
It’s easy to be cynical about government right now. There’s dysfunction, yes, but at the end of the day our Congress is composed of 535 elected representatives— all real people, each of whom has the ability to drive change using a huge array of tools. Part of what we do best— evident by the incredible set of offices our fellows are serving in— is help you choose the Member of Congress who will best use your skills and expertise. You get to choose which office you go to work for in this fellowship.
Once you’re on Capitol Hill, your job is to support your boss and his or her staff. Sometimes that’s researching and writing legislation, or making vote recommendations, but that also includes conducting oversight of government and industry, and using the bully pulpit to bring attention to issues that are otherwise being ignored.
This is where we’ve found our fellows have had an outsized impact. Working for some of the top leaders in Congress— people like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), or Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)— fellows have brought their ideas, expertise, and networks into an institution that badly needs new voices and perspectives.
And they’ve produced real results— from getting the OPEN Government Data Act signed into law, to revealing that the Russians are targeting members of Congress on their personal devices and gmail accounts.
Over the next two months, we’ll be holding calls and hosting events where you can learn more about the fellowship. We’ll be traveling the country looking for another incredible set of technologists— our fifth and largest yet— who want to do their part to help government understand how technology is reshaping society.
I hope you’ll join us and apply.