American democracy was founded on a social contract, meaning that in return for the public’s compliance, the government has a responsibility to maintain public goods and address systemic barriers for all citizens, no matter their identity or background. Despite this agreement, Americans don’t have the ability to evaluate the government’s public policy performance. As policy outcomes continue to worsen nationwide, this lack of oversight and accountability fuels societal division and threatens the future of democracy.
To address these issues, DSI is developing technical tools that inform the public of how elected leaders should function in a democracy and enable the public to evaluate the government’s public policy performance at the federal, state, and local levels. Additionally, DSI is creating a tool that identifies and connects local organizations working to alleviate the nation’s systemic needs to facilitate the development of sustainable and impact public policy solutions.
Develop and employ technical tools that enable the public to evaluate the government’s public policy performance and build our capacity to create a national mutual aid system.
Academic institutions, companies, NGOs, advocacy groups, and activist organizations seeking to analyze public policy data or collaborate in the provision of direct services.
While some organizations collect and visualize limited data on specific public policy concerns, there are no efforts to create simple and digestible tools that enable the public to evaluate elected leaders and their public policy performance over time.
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How has your formal education at Georgia State played a role in your becoming an entrepreneur?
My studies as a political science Ph.D. student at Georgia State University (GSU) have provided me with the opportunity to explore the roots of systemic exclusion in US democracy as well the government’s role in contributing to negative public policy outcomes. GSU has also empowered me to connect with student groups, data science organizations, and faculty who are dedicated to using data skills to understand and address the roots of public interest concerns. The wealth of opportunities and resources that exist at GSU has helped me grow as an entrepreneur and strengthened my commitment to uplifting vulnerable communities.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
I believe entrepreneurship is freedom. It’s the freedom to explore my interests and build a career in a way that aligns with my goals and values. While freedom comes with a lot of risks, it also trains us to think critically, adapt, grow, and execute. For me, entrepreneurship provides the freedom to develop important skills and utilize my experiences, both positive and negative, to realize my full potential.
How has Georgia State supported you in your entrepreneurial journey?
Pursuing a Ph.D. in political science at Georgia State has fueled my desire to become an entrepreneur by refining my understanding of systemic oppression in democracies worldwide. Through courses like Comparative Political Change with Dr. Andrew Wedeman and Comparative Political Behavior with Dr. Kostanca Dhima, I examined the cultural foundations of democratic societies, the values that undergird democratic institutions, the ability of institutions to shape societal outcomes, and the tensions between egalitarian values and exclusionary practices. Additionally, my assistantship work with Dr. Jennifer McCoy exposed me to literature on the significance of social contracts and the power elected leaders have to unify or divide a nation. The lessons I learned through coursework enflamed my commitment understand and address the roots of systemic exclusion in American democracy.
What innovative technologies are being leveraged in your business?
DSI is leveraging the R coding language and Shinyapp to develop demos of our technical tools. This summer, our team will employ Python and Oracle to scale our work. Additionally, we’re exploring ways to incorporate ChatGPT and other generative AI to simplify our efforts in collecting, cleaning, and displaying localized information about elected officials and their public policy performance.
What role has Atlanta played in your entrepreneurial journey?
Being in Atlanta has inspired me to continue my entrepreneurial journey. Throughout my life, I have been in environments where the people and institutions with power over me sought to undermine my learning, destroy my self-esteem, and harm my body. Coming to Atlanta allowed me to heal from my past experiences, connect with more people who look like me, and find individuals and organizations that uplift Black Excellence rather than undercut it. Of course, no place is perfect. Like other cities, Atlanta has numerous victims suffering from government inaction and public policy neglect. This dynamic between Atlanta’s rich culture and the persistence of public policy ills has given me a strong appreciation for the city while also reinforcing my desire to fight for systemic change.
What piece of advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
I would advise other entrepreneurs to invest in their critical thinking skills. In my opinion, critical analysis is the most important tool for one’s entrepreneurial journey. No matter where you’re starting from or what resources you have, the ability to critically analyze, articulate, and reflect on your ideas, goals, and challenges will help any entrepreneur progress toward success.
What advice can you offer to others that are struggling to build the right team?
I suggest finding ways to get involved in spaces on campus and in your community where you can share your ideas with like-minded people. One of the benefits of college, arguably the most important benefit, is the ability to network. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and talk to different types of people about your passion. And don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice, or recommendations!
Share a fun fact about yourself.
During my 3rd year of undergrad, I studied abroad in Ecuador for two semesters. I was able to take classes and live with three host families, which allowed me to become fluent in Spanish.