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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

McCourt School Introduces First Cohort of Tech and Public Policy Visiting Fellows

The McCourt School of Public Policy (MPP) announced its inaugural class of visiting fellows in the Tech and Public Policy (TPP) program Feb 1.

This year’s fellows include Victoria Houed, director of artificial intelligence (AI) policy and strategy at the United States Department of Commerce; Gustav Chiarello (GRD ’96), counsel for the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary and Joseph Jerome, a former member of Meta Reality Labs and current visiting professor at the University of Tampa. For the duration of their visit, the visiting fellows will speak at lectures and special events as well as contribute their knowledge in exchange for new ideas and insights from Georgetown University students through discussion groups and regular office hours.

The new visiting fellows all work within the national technology policy realm and will share their expertise with students through site visits and lectures, according to Michelle De Mooey, director of MPP’s Tech and Public Policy Program

“The visiting fellows are policy practitioners with a wealth of experience on different issues. They are insiders with influence on how tech policy moves in the U.S. but they sit in different places in the tech policy ecosystem,” De Mooey wrote to The Hoya.

De Mooey said the TPP program is based on cross-disciplinary research and aims to teach a new generation of leaders how to deal with the intersection of public policy and constantly evolving technology.

“The visiting fellows bring this perspective and tech policy expertise to the students and the students, in turn, bring new perspectives and new ideas to the fellows. The students challenge traditional notions and frameworks, which is what tech policy constantly needs,” De Mooey wrote. 

Lauren Doherty/The Hoya | The Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy (MPP) announced the 2024 inaugural class of visiting fellows in their Tech and Public Policy (TPP) program last January, featuring an AI expert in the Department of Commerce.

Before working for the Department of Commerce, Houed worked as a TechCongress innovation fellow as part of a policy program under former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Houed said she hopes to help students heighten their education and pursue policy topics of high interest during her time as a Georgetown visiting fellow.

“Creating a new wave of policy entrepreneurs is what I’m most excited about. A lot of people just don’t know how the policy ecosystem works, so they have a lot of fear around it. They assume that everything they read in the paper is reality and that the only way to have an impact in the policy space is to have a lot of money, which is very much not true,” Houed said in an interview with The Hoya. 

“Being educated on a specific policy topic that you’re really interested in is just as valuable. You can bring that education to the Hill or to the executive branch, and you can be the person that those people look to for answers on a particular policy topic,” Houed added.

Chiarello, a leading antitrust and competition policy lawyer who worked for the Federal Trade Commission for over 17 years, said he is looking forward to the fellowship because of the opportunity to interact with a curious student body as well as to help students face future policy issues in new ways.

“I want to be able to teach the next generation of policymakers how to think not about the answers to problems, but about the questions that lead you to the answers,” Chiarello told The Hoya. “Good policy doesn’t start with the answer and work its way back. I think that’s a backward way of doing it.”

“The better policies are developed by looking at the assumptions and asking questions and then building optimal solutions,” he added.

Both Houed and Chiarello said public policy has seen significant changes as technology has rapidly advanced in recent years, especially with the invention of AI. They added that the new generation of policymakers will be set apart from those currently in the field as a result of growing up with technology.

“I’m really excited about this generation because of the fact that our access to information is like it’s never been before. How accessible Congress is is unprecedented. You can Tweet at a senator if you want to, and there’s a high probability that they’ll see it. I think this is creating new and innovative ways to interact and be a part of the conversation,” Houed told The Hoya.

Chiarello agreed that current technology has created unprecedented ease of access to information, and while work efficiency has increased, this ease also takes away the benefits of old-school research methods.

“The journey, as far as getting to answers, could be a little bit more physically grueling. But along the way, it forced your brain to slow down a little bit and analyze, or discover things just because you went down the wrong aisle in the library,” Chiarello said.

Despite potential generational differences in learning styles, Chiarello said he looks forward to working with Georgetown students, who have a reputation for being forward thinking and innovative.

“Georgetown attracts curious, smart, innovative thinkers that are trying to solve problems, and they teach the right way to go about solving them. Especially in the McCourt School, so I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of it,” Chiarello said.

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