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TGB 2019 - Digital Government in California

Basic Information
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Trip Name: 
Digital Government in California
Air Travel Trip: 
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Trip Description: 

This trip focuses on how citizen-facing technology can be used by state and local governments in California. The trip also focuses on how transparency and accountability can be promoted in govtech and civic tech, how public and private organizations play roles as partners in the process, and how state and local governments can learn from historical and emerging efforts to innovate at the federal level. Its mission is to understand the civic tech and govtech landscapes in California and examine the broader challenges associated with the government’s use of technology to provide services. Students will seek to:

  • Learn about the growing fields of “civic tech,” “public interest technology,” government technology (or “govtech”) and the challenges facing these fields, particularly in California
  • Learn how to apply technical backgrounds or knowledge to civic or government sectors through service opportunities, career opportunities, citizen engagement and more. Gain confidence and know-how for making change in local politics and communities.
  • Recognize that government interfaces with technology in many ways, and in particular understand the way that state and local governments can leverage or are leveraging technology to connect to constituents and improve government processes
  • Grasp that technology has the potential to both promote and erode transparency and accountability and develop a framework for approaching these issues that involves community voices at every step
  • Understand how partnerships with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations affect this landscape
Trip Leaders
Allison Tielking is a rising senior at Stanford studying Computer Science. She grew interested in the intersection of government and tech when she took a class on Using Data to Solve Economic and Social Problems in freshman year, followed by a class on Using Data to Analyze Government Performance. Allison applied what she learned in these two classes to her experience in the Stanford Data Lab, with homework related to healthcare policies, ridesharing data, and housing. She started using tech to benefit communities at Facebook last summer, developing a crowdsourced mapping tool to drastically improve map coverage in developing nations. Allison has researched government regulation of tech companies in the past year, particularly related to ridesharing companies. After taking CS 181, she wrote an article about her experience with sexual misconduct in Lyft rides, leading to meetings with the company’s executives and changes to several features in the app. This experience has made her more interested in the developing relationship between government and corporations. Contact Allison at
Marissa Gerchick is a rising senior at Stanford studying Mathematical and Computational Science (MCS). She is passionate about data-driven policy-making and her work has largely focused on the use of data-driven tools in the criminal justice system. Marissa has been a research assistant at the Stanford Computational Policy Lab, led a team of students in a Law and Policy Lab on the Future of Algorithms at Stanford Law School, and worked as a fellow focused on criminal justice at Silicon Valley De-Bug, a community organization based in San Jose. Marissa recently spent a quarter in Washington, D.C. through Stanford in Washington (SIW) where she learned more about the federal civic tech and govtech landscapes. While at SIW, Marissa worked at In-Q-Tel, the strategic investor for the U.S. intelligence and defense communities focused on identifying and adapting cutting-edge technologies. Born and raised in California, Marissa is passionate about enacting thoughtful change in local government through technology. Contact Marissa at