Representation really does matter. For Joy Whitt, a Presidential Innovation Fellow working with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, such representation meant learning about computer programming from a diverse group of individuals and organizations committed to serving women, people of color, and LGBTQ communities — a rare opportunity in an industry that’s still largely male and white.
As a data analyst, Joy has worked to pay it forward, rising in the ranks as a Presidential Innovation Fellow inside of Technology Transformation Services (TTS). Finding her niche within the Justice Department, Joy currently helps the Civil Rights Division build bridges by developing software and tech intended to advance civil rights.
“I do a lot of data visualization and data analysis for good. So I work with federal agencies, including all of their employees, and we try to make civic innovation happen on a government level,” says Joy.
At this point in her tech journey, TTS’ inclusive culture has given Joy a new sense of purpose in her work and enables her to become an active part of the industry changes she wishes to see. “It’s just been such a great experience working alongside people who are civically minded, who are considering people in every step of the way, and the tech and data that they work with,” she says.
Adding, “Another thing is just being able to represent myself as a Black person and a queer woman in technology. As you know, there aren’t a lot of us, so it’s a really wonderful feeling to be able to serve as a role model for people who didn’t think technology was a skill that they could go into and [are] excited to see some representation.”
Joy recently found time in her hectic schedule to discuss ways technology is shaping civil rights, her work as a PIF, ways that diversity has impacted her career, and more. Get familiar with Joy and watch how she did it here.
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