Board of Directors
The Public Lab nonprofit received 501(c)3 status on October 24, 2013 (retroactive to January 2, 2012). The current board members of Public Lab include:
Catherine Bracy is a civic technologist and community organizer whose work focuses on the intersection of technology and political and economic inequality. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the TechEquity Collaborative, an organization in Oakland, CA that seeks to build an inclusive tech ecosystem in California’s Bay Area.
She was previously Code for America’s Senior Director of Partnerships and Ecosystem where she grew Code for America’s Brigade program into a network of over 50,000 civic tech volunteers in 80+ cities across the US. She also founded Code for All, the global network of Code-for organizations with partners on six continents. Catherine built Code for America’s civic engagement focus area, creating a framework and best practices for local governments to increase public participation which has been adopted in cities across the US.
During the 2012 election cycle she was Director of Obama for America's Technology Field Office in San Francisco, the first of its kind in American political history. She was responsible for organizing technologists to volunteer their skills for the campaign’s technology and digital efforts. Prior to joining the Obama campaign, she ran the Knight Foundation’s 2011 News Challenge and before that was the administrative director at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. She is on the board of directors at the Citizen Engagement Lab and the Public Laboratory.
Janet Haven (Chair) is Executive Director of Data & Society Research Institute. Before joining Data & Society, Janet spent more than a decade with the Open Society Foundations’ Information Program, where she oversaw grant making and strategy for a range of portfolios focused on the use of technology by human rights and accountability organizations, as well as the implications of large-scale data collection and algorithmic decision-making in the advancement of social justice. Her background includes stints at software start-ups in Central Europe, where she built open source developer communities and led product development teams. Janet holds a BA from Amherst College, and an MA from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
Gwen Ottinger is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Drexel University, where she directs the Fair Tech Collective, a research group dedicated to using social science theory and methods to inform the development of technology that fosters environmental justice. She is author of Refining Expertise: How Responsible Engineers Subvert Environmental Justice Challenges, which was awarded the 2015 Rachel Carson Prize by the Society for Social Studies of Science.
Rajul (Raj) Pandya is the director of the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange, which connects scientists, communities, and sponsors and helps them work together to develop solutions that have local impact and global implications. Prior to working with AGU, Dr. Pandya worked as the Director of Spark: Education and Outreach and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Spark built exhibits, developed curriculum, and offered research experiences for students, teachers, and members of the public – all related to climate and weather. Dr. Pandya has managed internships and mentored students, taught in college and high school, collaborated with diverse communities internationally and in the US, and worked on educational technology. He has led multi-disciplinary efforts to increase diversity in the sciences, manage meningitis vaccines more effectively in Africa, and improve student learning of weather and climate. For the Academies, Dr. Pandya served on the Committee on the Review of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Education Program and is serving as the chair for the National Academies Committee on Designing Citizen Science to Support Science Learning. Dr. Pandya is a founding member of the executive board of the Citizen Science Association, which is currently the only membership organization dedicated to the dissemination of scholarship related to designing and implementing citizen science. He holds a Ph.D. from University of Washington in Atmospheric Science.
Micah L. Sifry (Secretary) is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Civic Hall, as well as Co-Founder of Personal Democracy Media, which produces the annual Personal Democracy Forum conference on the ways technology is changing politics. In addition, he consults on how political organizations, campaigns, non-profits and media entities can adapt to and thrive in a networked world. He is a senior technology adviser to the Sunlight Foundation, which he helped found in 2006, and also serves on the board of Consumer Reports and the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science. He is the author or editor of eight books, most recently A Lever and a Place to Stand: How Civic Tech Can Move the World (PDM Books, 2015), with Jessica McKenzie; The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet) (OR Books, 2014); and Wikileaks and the Age of the Transparency (OR Books, 2011). In 2012 he taught “The Politics of the Internet” as a visiting lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School. From 1997-2006, he worked closely with Public Campaign, a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on comprehensive campaign finance reform, as its senior analyst. Prior to that, Micah was an editor and writer with The Nation magazine for thirteen years. He is the author of Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America (Routledge, 2002), co-author with Nancy Watzman of Is That a Politician in Your Pocket? Washington on $2 Million a Day (John Wiley & Sons, 2004), co-editor of Rebooting America, and co-editor of The Iraq War Reader (Touchstone, 2003) and The Gulf War Reader (Times Books, 1991). Find him at @mlsif.
Shelby Ward (Vice Chair) directs the Tennessee Clean Water Network (TCWN) litigation program and meets in-house legal needs. Prior to joining TCWN, she practiced family law and environmental law as a sole practitioner. She also worked as an aquatic ecologist.
Her activities in the conservation community are varied. Shelby is a co-founder of the annual Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in Knoxville. She also serves on the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) Southeast Regional Council and the Knoxville Chapter National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Environmental and Climate Justice Committee.
While a student at the University of Tennessee College of Law, Shelby served as a staff editor to the Tennessee Journal of Law & Policy and president of the Environmental Law Organization. She graduated from law school in 2011 and earned a Master of Science in Ecology from the University of Tennessee in 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Howard University.
She enjoys identifying freshwater macroinvertebrates and rafting with her sister. Shelby lives in Knoxville with her husband and daughter.
Christina Xu is an ethnographer who focuses on the social interactions and organic communities that form around technology and subculture, especially in the US and China. She is the co-founder of Magpie Kingdom, a consultancy that produces cultural intelligence about the Chinese internet ecosystem. Her work on growing unusual internet-based community projects like Letters for Black Lives and Awesome Foundation has been profiled in the Washington Post and BBC Worldwide. She holds an A.B. with a concentration in History of Science from Harvard University, and is currently faculty at School of Visual Arts’ MFA in Interaction Design program.
Past Board Members:
Andrea Chen, 2016-2018. Andrea is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation, a social innovation incubator in New Orleans focused on systemic change in sectors such as food access, water, public health, and education. Propeller has accelerated 50 new ventures that have generated over $20mm in revenues and financing in the last 3.5 years. Propeller's 10,000 s.f. Propeller Incubator facility is now home to over 80 socially minded companies. Andrea was named “40 Under 40” by Gambit Magazine, 2010 City Business Women of the Year, and is an appointed board member of the New Orleans Business Alliance, the official economic development arm of the City of New Orleans. She completed her B.A. at Stanford University and M.Ed. at UNO and Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Eymund Diegel, 2011-2018. Eymund is a South African trained urban planner who first became interested in real time mapping technologies when creating maps for constantly changing informal settlements in Africa. With the digital technology revolution, he is exploring how personal media devices, such as cell phones, can create network maps of how people live in their communities, and how those "density trails" can provide more accurate mapping. He lives by the Gowanus Canal, a polluted Superfund site in Brooklyn, NY, where he works with community groups to create time lapse "digitally transparent" maps, for neighbors to better understand what was historically under their feet, and what they can do about it.
Dr. Christine Walley, 2011-2015. Chris is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at MIT. She conducts research on environmental politics in both East Africa and the United States. Her first book Rough Waters: Nature and Development in an East African Marine Park (Princeton University Press, 2004) explored contestation over Tanzania?s first national marine park as well as competing conceptions of nature and development found among international environmental organizations, island residents, and national government officials. Her second book Exit Zero: An Anthropologist?s Account of Family and Class in Southeast Chicago (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press) considers the environmental implications of the rise and fall of the steel industry on Chicago?s Southeast Side and engages with questions of environmental justice.
Bobbie L. King Jr., 2012-2014. Bobbie is an associate in the corporate finance group of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP's New York office. From 2011 to 2013, he was an associate in the US corporate group of Skadden's London office. From 2010 to 2011, he was an associate in the general corporate practice of Skadden's Boston office. Prior to joining Skadden, he served as deputy finance director of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's re-election campaign and as an adjunct professor at Emerson College. He has also served as Public Lab's legal counsel since its incorporation in 2011.
Mikel Maron, 2011-2012