A group of eight undergraduates spent fall break in Washington, D.C., meeting with leaders in the field of technology policy – at the Federal Trade Commission, the State Department, advocacy groups, consulting and law firms, and the Washington Post. The trip was organized by Edward Felten, director of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, and Janet Vertesi, assistant professor of sociology.
“Before going on this trip Washington was a black box in many ways,” said Mario Alvarez, a senior majoring in computer science. The trip crystalized just how badly technologists are needed in policy-related organizations and how hard those with technology expertise are working to inform the policy process, Alvarez said.
The hosts, many Princeton alumni, also recounted for the students their own paths from school to working in Washington. “I think they got a better idea of what a career in technology policy could be,” Felten said.