Each year, we select 15-20 fellows from hundreds of applicants to join us for the summer. After weeks of immersion in New York’s underserved neighborhoods, our fellows work together to imagine, test, and launch new products inspired by the people they’ve met and the challenges these communities face.
Our fellows are entrepreneurs, builders, and connectors. They come to us from big tech firms, small creative agencies, amazing community organizations, and everywhere else in between. We choose them for their expertise, but also for their empathy, drive, and their commitment to constantly and quickly adapting to new information. And every year, we’re impressed with the how much they achieve in just a few short months.
Amy helps people shine, supporting them on their journey of personal growth and healing. She’s worked to empower youth and parents to be decision makers in their school communities and co-founded a start-up to educate individuals and organizations in the process of exploring identity and disrupting oppression. She has a public policy master’s from Carnegie Mellon University.
Anna’s journey has led her from studying art history at Cornell University to working for advertising, branding and interactive consultancies in New York, Seoul and Hong Kong. At every step, her prevailing design philosophy is “work for good and not for evil.” She previously was the UX designer for Exclaim, an insurance claim filing app for mental health professionals, and received a Top Idea award from OpenIDEO for Bean2Baby, which will be an information sharing hub for maternal health providers.
Jaime-Jin Lewis is an activist, organizer, and strategist. Her work focuses on issues of racial and economic justice in the United States. She served as the Executive Director of Border Crossers, the Development Director at Caring Across Generations, and a Senior Strategist at Purpose.com.
Sue worked in international development and taught English in Taiwan before changing careers into tech. As a UX Designer, she has worked on projects for brands such as MTV, Comedy Central, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Edwina Coburn-Spriggs is an operations management specialist with a background in network administration and IT management. She has also previously served as an instructor and alumni coordinator for the NPower NY Technology Service Corps. She is the mother of son, Josiah, and a passionate advocate for working parents
Frankie is almost done with her Masters of International Affairs from the New School University. She has worked for the New York City Council and civic engagement non profits in New York City on equity and inclusion initiatives. She's also an activist, mother and creative.
Victoria is a community leader and a workforce professional. She is the founder of US African Immigrants Gist where she uses digitally published media to bring the US African community together; align and promote their shared interests. She obtained her Masters’ degree from the NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.
Jack lives to help people achieve their dreams. He spent 5 years at Facebook developing strategies to keep new products friendly, open, and safe from abuse. He has spent time mentoring and coaching men recently released from prison to get employment, and co-founded a boutique skin care line called Stoked Goods that is meant to inspire a more active lifestyle.
Karen Schoellkopf is a product strategist and end-to-end product lead. She’s worked on projects for Samsung, Target, Verizon, Meetup, Spotify, the American Medical Association, and more, and led Product at VoteRunLead (which trains women to run for office). She launched hiremorewomenintech.com in 2014 (about why it's financially valuable to hire women in leadership positions in tech), realnames.online in 2016 (about the outcomes of "real name" defaults in social platforms, and how it plays out poorly for large populations of people), and contributes to an online harassment taskforce. She explores ideas involving empathy, technology and ethics, and the decentralized web.
Brandi is passionate about working with early stage companies and product teams to bring great ideas to life in the social impact space. She is the founding member of Bluebird, a product to manage digital accessibility, supporting inclusion of individuals with various disabilities; was the first employee and helped develop ULTRA Testing, a services consulting company that creates jobs for individuals on the Autism Spectrum to perform software testing; and has worked as a Project Manager in digital advertising for agencies such as AKQA and Digitas Health. Brandi holds a BA from Temple University, is a certified scrum master, agile coach, and yoga and meditation teacher.
Caroline is a consultant with over 15 years of experience in user-centered design, leadership development, program planning and assessment, writing and research in both the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. The author of several reports and toolkits, she teaches at the MFA Design for Social Innovation program at the School of Visual Arts, where she also received her master’s degree.
Kathy Mills is a graphic/web designer who works with nonprofits devoted to social justice. Projects she consulted on include a suite of mobile resources for LGBTIQ Iranian refugees; training and advocacy materials advancing the rights of home health care workers; and a website offering innovative strategies for immigration lawyers. Her past employers include Human Rights Watch and Thomson Reuters. She has an MFA from Bard College.
Alex Hays has helped several startups launch and grow since 2012. He most recently helped launch TokenTax.us to simplify Crypto Currency taxes so people can actually pay them, instead of being too overwhelmed to contribution back to the common good. Alex got a Masters in Emerging Media and Communication from UT Dallas which turned his interests towards how past technologies have had a positive impact on society, and how current technologies can be leveraged to help do so.
Greg is a software engineer with experience delivering enterprise software, developing interactive art installations, and community building in the creative technology space. He is a musician and dance music nerd, loves biking, dogs, and disposable cameras, and spends a lot of time in record stores.
Jonathan was previously Director of R&D at Complex Networks where he lead a dev team that focused on interactive features, custom tools, hackathons, and exploratory projects in VR, ML, and AI. He also lead development on LetNYVote.org, and is co-founder of the CCSunlight.org, both non-partisan, grassroots efforts to reinvigorate democracy in New York State.
Robyn Overstreet is a web developer and technology teacher with a Master's degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Fei loves creating digital products with business value–going beyond engineering to work across every aspect of the product. He scratches this itch by validating and launching new ideas for both his clients and himself. Some of his clients include Adobe, CrossFit, and HashiCorp.
Selma has worked in finance, education, and the nonprofit sectors as well as co-founded, 4W Circle, an arts incubator that supported the development of minority artists. She has experience in both paid and voluntary positions with the constant focus of addressing issues and looking for solutions to make the lives of everyday people better. She is an impassioned activist for social justice and community empowerment.
Joe is a Social Worker who has been working with Senior Citizens and low income New Yorkers since 2010. He is focused on using technology to improve overall access to social services, and to amplify the voices of those who need help the most to design better programs and policy from the ground up.
Teresa, a master’s level Gerontologist, works to raise awareness of and address issues related to family caregiving. As an advocate for older adults and their care partners, she has created a series of online resources and tools for person- and family-centered caring. She is also a family caregiver herself.
Torry is passionate about designing products that look and function beautifully and serve a real need. She has worked in healthcare tech at Publicis, created the brand identity for VisitBritain, and developed the design and brand strategy for fashion and food startups. She holds a master's degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Anna is a freelance researcher, policy analyst, and strategic advisor whose work focuses on structural inequality (and change) and accountability politics. For the last four years, she has worked on these issues as they relate to political activism and equitable service delivery in the digital and information age. This work has been undertaken in partnership with a range of universities, grassroots activists and collectives, non-government organizations, teachers, and city governments.
Margaret is fascinated by the design & development process for physical and software products. Her company, M•Spring Studio, produces jewelry and home décor. She has also developed tools for Acxiom, InfoGroup and financial institutions that enable non-technical users to navigate “Big Data”. She has a Masters degree from UC Berkeley’s School of Information.
Nichole has previously worked as Creative Director at Educate2Envision, a nonprofit empowering youth in Honduras; has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA, assisting low-income jobseekers in Oakland, CA; and has helped drive growth at Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest domestic violence nonprofit.
Throughout her career, Emily has been driven by a goal of creating “design for the greater good.” She has applied this ethos across a vast range of topics and media, ranging from print to interactive design, and tech startups to non-profits. Whether it’s applying her expertise to effect change in a disaster relief platform, or through datavis-enhanced reporting on infant care or immigration reform, she focuses primarily on the real-world impact of her work as a top priority.
Jenn is an inquisitive and analytical designer passionate about translating complex ideas into beautiful and digestible visuals. She has worked with clients like Sotheby’s, NBC Universal and Taco Bell; is inspired by travel and passionate about inclusion and representation.
John is a full-stack developer with a background in computer science and visual arts. He previously co-founded Pearhaven, a couples-centric date-finding tool, helped build the team and tech platform at Bloglovin', and is an alumnus of hackNY and Princeton University. He is interested in how systems, technical and otherwise, can generate social good and strengthen our understanding of one another and ourselves.
Kate is a masters educated, board certified adult geriatric nurse practitioner who has spent the past few years working with seniors and their families to navigate complex medical care associated with chronic disease while providing direction and education that emphasize quality of life.
Eileen has worked in the health and education sectors since graduating from college: 25 years in global health, primary health care, and reproductive health in Africa and Asia. She was also a teacher in Brooklyn and as a Peace Corps volunteer. Her more recent work has been with people with disabilities, older adults, and English language learners, particularly around health literacy and patient safety.
Dan's explored the intersection of creativity and technology since 2001, when he helped create the interactive website for the original Zoolander movie. He's consulted on creative and strategy for Hollywood studios like Universal, Disney, and Paramount, and was senior editor of American Greetings' digital R&D studio (where he earned a US patent for an app he made there). More recently, Dan's built and launched award-winning branded content platforms and teams for both Shutterstock and Audible. Dan holds a BA from NYU in Journalism, is a devoted cat dad to his 19 year old pal Gus, and is thrilled to turn his experience and enthusiasm towards building sustainable, impactful tools to address the many social challenges we face.
Belinda is passionate about promoting human flourishing and reducing poverty. She has worked in tech startup product management and acceleration/investment in New York; tech and social entrepreneurship, and community philanthropy in Silicon Valley; impact investing in Southeast Asia; design thinking consulting in Africa and Asia; and teaching entrepreneurship at Stanford University. She holds a BA and MS from Stanford, and loves dance intensives and silent meditation retreats.
A creative team player with the ability to successfully convert ideas to goals, inspire teams and create interactive experiences. With over seven years of experience on interactive design, Andres has specialized on art direction, web/UI design, user experience and conceptualization. He co-started a digital production studio in New York City, where he experienced all the phases of digital projects from start to finish, and where he focused his abilities as an art director and digital designer for five years. His credentials include a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design and an Associate degree in Computer Science.
Devon is a design technologist who helps design and build products for social impact.
Previously he worked with brands such as American Express, Bloomberg, Businessweek,
Sony Entertainment, and most recently co-founded a financial tech startup called Quadrant.io which provides access to macroeconomic data.
Ethan works as a UX designer and programmer, trying to help build a better democracy. He's worked for journalistic organizations including the New York Times, Huffington Post, and Overview. He recently graduated from NYU's Gallatin School.
Gabe loves using new technology to help people solve meaningful problems. As a Product Manager at Shapeways, he launched over 40 new 3D printed materials and services for their community of artists and designers. He has a B.S. in Engineering Physics, and previously worked for a clinical data startup called Humedica.
“From a young age I was always labeled as a people person. I often found myself using my outgoing attitude to better my environment”.
Jelani Anglin, a Queens native has been involved in the social justice movement since he was a teen. His experiences over the years lead him to the community-organizing field. Anglin has organized on several high profile campaigns around the country including the “Taxi’s workers fair wage campaign”, “Airbnbnyc campaign” & “A.F.S.C.M.E.’s 50,000 stronger campaign ” just to name a few.
Jelani joins Blue Ridge Labs to continue aiming towards his goal of uniting people, while standing up for those who cannot.
Jonathan Stray is a journalist and a computer scientist who's written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Wired, Foreign Policy and ProPublica. He teaches computational journalism at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, and leads the Overview Project, an open source visualization system to help investigative journalists make sense of very large document sets. He was formerly the Interactive Technology Editor at the Associated Press, a freelance reporter in Hong Kong, and a graphics algorithm designer for Adobe Systems.
Linda has a JD from the George Washington University Law School and a PhD in U.S. Legal History from Columbia University. Linda is the Research Director at the Center on Civil Justice at NYU School of Law. Closing the justice gap is a personal passion for her as well as institutional commitment of the Center.
Marianne has helped teams at Google, Adobe, and Lockheed Martin generate insights about people in order to build great products for them. She is energized by equipping everyone with skills to learn about people's needs to create technology solutions that work. She holds a Masters in Human Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University.
After graduating from The College of New Jersey with a degree in economics, Michael developed software at ThoughtWorks for two years before joining Blue Ridge Labs, and is excited for the chance to serve his city. He spends his time biking around Brooklyn, playing chess, and volunteering at his neighborhood community darkroom.
Nathan has worked in product design for a variety of startups, building out compelling native and web apps for: Minibar - On Demand Delivery, Codecademy - Learn to Code, Hopscotch.in - Ecommerce in India, and Quidsi-Amazon - Ecommerce for Moms.
Nhu is a developer based in Philadelphia. She has a knack for building and breaking things. She is currently working on a meal planning application that makes it easier for people to eat better.
Nicole is a product manager with a background in developing games and interactive experiences. She spends a lot of time thinking about systems and their role in shaping behavior - both individually and at scale. Previously at BuzzFeed and NBC, her products span a multitude of platforms and are enjoyed by millions of people across the world.
Scott works at the intersection of law and social justice. Before joining Blue Ridge Labs, he served as an attorney and policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and a legal intern at the Human Rights Institute. His past advocacy includes leading a state campaign to reform abusive property seizure laws and contributing to a report to the United Nations on access to justice in America.
Stephanie is a UX designer passionate about designing experiences that delight and challenge our expectations and beliefs. Since graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in Human Computer Interaction and Decision Science, she has designed global digital products for MasterCard. She is also an avid dabbler in lettering and is also currently working on a personal project called Why Not Experiments, a series of projects where she engages with strangers to remind them of the little joys in life.
Thomas helps people shape and launch their ideas. He is a Scottish-trained attorney with a Masters in Law in securities regulation. Thomas also completed a UX/UI Design bootcamp and taught himself front-end development.
Wilneida is a civic technologist and researcher whose work is centered on developing digital products, data-driven insights, programs, and policy to help increase access to and efficiency of justice systems around the world. Her multidisciplinary approach have led key collaborations between academics, civil society, and public sector groups with in promoting social justice in the US and abroad.
Ashley is passionate about generative research and user centered design process. As a design facilitator, she utilizes the power of mental models to align understanding, and attributes her love of facilitation to her many years in hospitality. She is a UX designer at DockYard in Boston, and recently graduated with an MFA in Information Design and Visualization from Northeastern University.
With a background in art and a desire to solve problems, Lindsey loves working with others to design inspiring and valuable experiences. She previously co-founded the user experience department at Genuine Interactive. She also led the user experience design on 8 award-winning public media projects including Black Gold Boom, Curious City, Austin Music Map and I See Change.
Joel Stillman is a graphic designer developing visual and strategic direction for brands, institutions, and advocacies that positively impact communities. Working to clarify issues like NYC's welfare system, equitable food education, and the foreclosure crisis, Joel has worked closely with a range of organizations that include the Center for Urban Pedagogy, the Museum of Modern Art, Pentagram, Just Food, The Center for Architecture NY, and Project Projects.
Lucas Carlisle is a product designer and art director specializing in interactive media. He comes from The Huffington Post where he designed user interfaces for mobile, web, and everything in between. Lucas also collaborates with UnionDocs, a documentary arts center in Brooklyn.
Judy is a Senior Interaction Designer at Ericsson. She has previously worked for CNN Digital, the CDC and the DNC. She loves to apply design thinking to social justice ventures and has served as UX Designer with UX for Good in the past. She holds an MS in Human-Computer Interaction from Georgia Tech.
Dan graduated in 2013 with a B.S. in Computer Science from Tufts University, and has worked as a creative technologist and front-end developer for clients such as Spotify, Time Inc, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is currently working on an ongoing project to empower New York City tenants by simplifying violation reporting and providing greater access to crucial building and landlord information.
Nikhil was an early engineer at Twitter, working on the Growth team building highly scalable distributed systems. He graduated from Emory University, and previously interned at both Yahoo and Apple.
Dylan works as a programmer, designer, and fabricator building web based applications, experimental user interfaces, interactive data visualizations, and creative coding installations. He strives to produce experiences where technology serves to mediate alternative modes of human interaction, and believes deeply in the power of technology to facilitate personal, social, and environmental change.
Alexei is building tools to discover, measure and protect against cookieless tracking, or browser fingerprinting. He previously led product/engineering of Ghostery, a popular browser privacy tool.
Fred enjoys being able to use his computer programming skills to address social problems that matter. He has a background in cognitive and computer science and he led development at an EdTech startup before coming to *blue ridge*. Other professional projects include building a mobile application to help organizations handle the intake of thousands of migrant children at the Texas border.
Susie is a passionate educator. She moved to NYC to start a fifth grade program for a small independent school where the curriculum empowered students to design and build their own classroom furniture, earning her an award for Excellence in Education. Susie will soon receive a Master's degree in Cognition and Learning from Teachers College, Columbia University; she hopes to use cognitive research to improve out of school learning by developing innovative methods built around new technologies.
Sam builds products that serve. He was the first product hire at DigitalOcean, a cloud hosting provider for developers. He previously founded BrewCrate, a homebrewing startup focusing on education in the DIY space and developed an illustrated children’s book for iPad.
Georges believes that education is key in bridging the widening socio-economic gap in the US. Most recently, he was a Product Manager at General Assembly, focusing on building and managing GA’s Business programs. He is also the Co-Founder of UniFi Scholars, a financial literacy and college financing education non-profit.
Alex has been building successful products at startups for the last 9 years. He was recently Director of Product Development for Jibe, a enterprise SaaS company that improves the job candidate experience. Previously, he led product and UX teams for consumer startups Eventful and GetGlue.
Amer works on products that help people achieve their goal of being self-employed. He helped build the first and only consumer business-licensing database at License123.com (Acquired by Intuit). Amer then served as a Product Manager for Intuit's QuickBooks SMB unit. He focused on building QuickBooks Licenses, which streamlined complex business tax code into a single integrated user experience and automated tax calendar.
Ciara is a lapsed software developer, current technology journalist and wannabe data scientist. After a long career managing software teams and products, she took a left turn into technology journalism. She writes regularly about tech and social impact for FastCo, Forbes, and VentureBeat.
Jimmy's talent for connecting people through technology drove his success in managing product at LinkedIn and Facebook. At Facebook, he led product for Facebook Groups, a communication tool used by 7% of the global population each month.
Stephanie helps individuals and organizations connect high quality research with best practices in the field. In the past, Stephanie has developed a partnership to connect financial education and home internet access, and led research for Spent, a documentary on the underbanked that's been viewed over 9.5 million times on Youtube.
Shazad's entrepreneurial spirit has taken him to the ends of the tech world, from co-founding a successful startup backed by Y Combinator to managing core Facebook products used by millions including friending, contact importing, and recommendation ranking
Avi works to help people make better financial decisions. He built and sold Thrive, a startup that helped people save more and spend less; launched GetRaised, a service that helps address the gender-wage gap; and designed an asset building program for a US state.
With degrees from both Harvard and Stanford and 20 years of leadership in the retail, technology and nonprofit sectors, Margo applies broad business expertise to the problems of college attrition. Most recently, she worked as a Senior Manager at the Harlem Children's Zone before starting her own social enterprise.
LaTiesha is a graphic designer with a passion for UI design and a desire to help people from the same environment she grew up in. When she's not designing, she's obsessing over her new hobby: juicing. LaTiesha lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend and her cat Duck Sauce.
Ariana is a product experience designer with a knack for storytelling. She honed her craft working on consumer and consulting projects in Beijing, Berlin, and the US, and spent time in Cambodia developing products for the rural poor. Design is also a hobby, although her after hours work involves metal, wood, paper and glue.
Xena is a graduate of Stanford's Product Design program and the School of Visual Arts' MFA Interaction Design program. She has led UX design and conducted user research for teams large and small, including the NYC MTA, Clever Sense, Aetna, and The Feast social innovation conference.
Gaïa is a designer and researcher based in Brooklyn. She has an MFA in Products of Design from The School of Visual Arts. Her eclectic background spans the culinary world as well as the circus. Gaïa helps organizations connect with their consumers through storytelling, branding, and delightful interactions.
Monica is a product designer who has worked for multiple editorial companies including Thomson Reuters, Spin, and Newsweek, where she kicked off the online magazine The Daily Beast. More recently, she has pivoted to work with startups, focusing primarily on interface design.
Paul is passionate about using technology for social good. Prior to Significance Labs he was a Principal Software Architect at Adobe Systems, worked with multiple banks to envision and prototype new innovations, and built a business selling locally sourced farmers market produce.
Alex has degrees in Math and Computer Science. She discovered an interest in startups after college. Prior to the Labs fellowship, she worked as the Hacker in Residence at Huffpost Labs, where she explored new languages and technologies and built experimental features.
Christopher has over eight years experience in high-end iOS and web application development. He has developed for well-known media brands in addition to smaller artisanal projects. Several of his apps have made the top ten and top one hundred most downloaded lists. His secondary passion is documentary photography and photojournalism.
Kevin loves utilizing the power of technology to solve problems. He teaches a class at General Assembly, and teaches Computer Science through Microsoft TEALS. He previously co-founded several New York-based startups, including a group video platform called Wisdomly and an apartment broker tool called Rentista.
Scott’s skill for developing software and models has led him to build a number of financial technology projects. He singularly built a successful trading company in commodities and currency futures by designing and developing models and coding algorithms that profitably trade the markets.
Wenting worked in UX design and front-end development for The Huffington Post Labs, and has a Masters degree from Parsons The New School for Design. She previously co-founded a start-up called cmere, an event finder and share tool, and is working on an ongoing project called "free stuff fairy" that targets New York City's waste problem.
Costas has a broad range of application architecture and web development expertise. He studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California, and has worked on both the back-end and front-end of software development. His latest interest is leveraging this expertise to produce cutting-edge mobile applications.
Marc is a web developer studying Computer Science and Mathematics at the NYC College of Technology. He has developed websites for small companies, and worked on a team that designed and implemented a new database for a hospital. Marc enjoys playing Xbox and traveling.
Sean studied graphic & web design at New York City College of Technology, where he was treasurer of his honor society Gamma Epsilon Tau. He has used his studies to design and code websites for friends and small businesses as he continues to expand his skillset.