Announcing the 2020 Policy Hackers Cohort

We’re excited announce Lincoln Network’s inaugural cohort of Policy Hackers–10 tech professionals from around the country passionate about helping bridge the gap between innovators and policymakers.

Fellows will remain in their current roles while engaging with policy experts, lobbyists, academics, and government officials throughout the year-long program, including summits in DC and the Bay Area. The programming is aimed at helping fellows build the skills to navigate and engage effectively in the policy arena, while developing a principled framework for thinking about the regulation of emerging technologies. Learn more about the program at www.hackpolicy.org. You can also follow the Policy Hackers on Twitter here.

Meet our 2020 Policy Hackers cohort:


Pujaa Rajan

Deep Learning Engineer

Pujaa Rajan is a deep learning engineer at Node, an AI-as-a-service start up, and the USA Ambassador of WomeninAI, a global nonprofit. She is also a Google Developer Expert, Google Woman Techmaker, and Alumni Venture Group Fellow. Previously, worked at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with $6.84T in AUM. She holds a BS in Information Science from Cornell University, where she researched computational social science. She is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, where she was the state chess champion, and currently resides in San Francisco.


Sarmad Qadri

Software Engineer

Sarmad Qadri is a software engineer in New York City. Before New York, he lived in cloudy Seattle and worked at Microsoft. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Math and Computer Science from University of Waterloo. He is interested in the intersection of public policy and technology at this seminal moment, when our institutions need to cope with and leverage fundamental advances in computing. In his spare time he can be found somewhere under a book, running in Central Park, or cooking Pakistani food from his mom’s handwritten recipe book.


Riva-Melissa Tez

Tech Executive

Riva is Senior Director for Strategic Technology Initiatives at Intel. She lives in Las Vegas.


Genevieve Fried

AI Researcher

Genevieve Fried graduated from McGill University with a B.A. in Computer Science and Political Science. While in college, she conducted research in machine learning at the Reasoning and Learning Lab and interned at Microsoft over consecutive summers as a user researcher, program manager, and software developer. After graduation, Genevieve interned at Oxford University as a technology policy researcher. She later joined AI Now Institute—a research institute at New York University that focuses on the social implications of artificial intelligence—as a technology fellow. Genevieve works closely with the law and policy group there on issues of algorithmic accountability, governance, evaluation, and harm.


Keenan Johnson

Aerospace Engineer

Keenan Johnson is an experienced aerospace engineering leader building hardware and software products. Most recently, he was a founder and Head of Engineering at Impossible Aerospace, an American company working to end the age of kerosene propulsion and fully electrify all air transport. He led the development program of the US-1: the world’s longest endurance fully-electric drone. Keenan got his start in Aerospace working with NASA to develop novel techniques for satellite propulsion and performing C.P.R. in microgravity environments. He then worked on the launch and flight software teams at SpaceX as a Software Engineer and Mission Control Operator where he worked to mass-produce and operate the world’s first orbital-class rocket capable of re-flight. Keenan has seen that policy can be one of the highest leverage ways to affect change in the world. He’s incredibly interested in the human aspects of technology including organizations, empathy, and public policy.


Matt Parlmer

Founder & Software Engineer

Matt Parlmer is a software engineer and political activist. He is CEO at Utility, a networked built environment venture. He previously founded Ohlogen, an applied computer science research and development company. He is an organizer for the Neoliberal Project, and is working as the executive director of the Open Personal Protective Equipment Project for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.


Luke Metro

Electrical Engineer

Luke Metro is an electrical engineer, currently developing electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft at Kitty Hawk. Previously, he worked on the Apple Watch. Outside of work, he enjoys flying gliders, writing about hard tech startups, and Pittsburgh sports.


Caroline McCarthy

Tech Executive

Caroline McCarthy is a media executive who currently works as the vice president of communications and content at true[X]. She also writes about media and technology for The Spectator’s US edition, and was a resident at TED for the spring of 2018, researching how bad practices in advertising affect human behavior. Caroline has also worked as a product marketer at Google and a journalist for CNET, and was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Media list in 2012. She serves on several nonprofit boards, including education technology organization Mouse and the advisory council of the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law. Caroline has also been an advisory council member of the Center for Democracy and Technology.


Mike Wacker

Software Engineer

Mike Wacker has worked as a software engineer at both Microsoft and Google, and is currently working on a master’s in computer science. Mike has also run 24-hour obstacle course races, which in many ways was less challenging than the role he played as a de facto leader among Republicans at Google. He has appeared on Fox Business Network, and The Daily Caller.


Luis A. Navia

Tech Entrepreneur

Luis A. Navia is an entrepreneur and innovator who spent the last 11 years scaling early-stage, mission-driven startups and directing high-growth enterprises. Over the course of his career, he has guided ventures to successful acquisitions, curated events that attracted more than 5,000 attendees, and supervised distributed teams representing hundreds of employees. He helped lead Verizon’s Content Strategy & Acquisition team, served as Director of Innovation & Culture at Elite Daily, and founded Oceanic Global, a 501c3 focused on ocean conservation efforts, along with ODYSIA and SkyPod Aerospace. Most recently, Luis served as Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Operations at Augustus Intelligence, an AI company that creates machine learning solutions for fortune 500 brands, and he continues to work as a strategic advisor for international businesses and philanthropic organizations. At its core, his work is dedicated to developing solutions and growing ideas that positively influence the world.


The Policy Hackers program was made possible thanks to support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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