Code for Australia has partnered with Code for America to bring two Code for America Fellows to work with two Australian government departments for six weeks.
Giselle Sperber and Peter Welte were part of the 2014 Code for America Fellowship program, where teams of civic-minded developers, designers, and product managers partner with local governments across the US to work full-time for a year to solve civic issues.
Giselle will be working with the Department of Premier & Cabinet in Victoria to progress a new project from the department to develop more user-centric online services. "The project sounds really interesting—I think I can lay some great user research groundwork and get things started off right for the future fellow!" says Giselle.
Peter will be working on a similar project with the Department of Education and Communities in New South Wales. "One of our priorities is to make our website more engaging for the wider community – so that it provides parents with information they’re looking for about early childhood education and schooling" said the Department of Education and Communities.
Both Giselle and Peter bring to the respective departments a wealth of knowledge on design, technology, community development and open government.
In the US Peter's team worked Chattanooga, Tennessee with City Hall to open government data and foster an ecosystem of civic application development. The team helped launch the city’s open data site, shepherded an open data policy, deployed a local wiki, and organized a Civic User Testing Group, in partnership with the Benwood Foundation.
Giselle's team in Mesa, Arizona worked on exploring ways to engage disparate groups in the Mesa, opening government data and foster an ecosystem of civic application development.
"We're very excited to have both Giselle and Peter working with us and the two Australian government departments on the start of this civic-tech ecosystem we're creating with our work at Code for Australia" says Alvaro Maz.
Giselle is a user experience designer. Over the past eight years she’s worked on technology for classrooms and students, most recently at Amplify in New York. Passionate about healthy communities and good food, she co-founded the Greene Hill Food Co-op, a member owned grocery story in Brooklyn.
Peter is a hacker and organiser from Portland, Oregon dedicated to advancing environmental and community causes through the use of technology. Committing time to political causes, nonprofits, and advocacy campaigns, he specializes in front-end design and back-end development using Drupal. When not working, he enjoys cross country bicycle touring.
Catch both Giselle and Peter on Link Festival as well as on International Open Data Day in Sydney.