Nick Sinai

Nick Sinai pic.jpeg

Nick Sinai is an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and head instructor of DPI-663.  Nick came to Harvard from the Obama White House, where he was U.S. Deputy CTO.  Nick’s research, writing, and teaching is focused on technology and innovation in government—including co-authoring a 2016 Harvard Business School case about the U.S. Digital Service

Nick is a faculty affiliate of the Shorenstein Center, where he served as the inaugural Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow, researching and writing about data as a public good. Nick is also a a faculty affiliate of Digital HKS and the Technology and Public Purpose Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Nick is a faculty mentor to the Harvard Open Data Project, a group of Harvard College students showcasing uses of Harvard University data—including predicting the results of the undergraduate student government election.  Nick is a Senior Advisor at Insight Partners and a board member of BrightBytes.

Nick is an advisor to Coding It Forward, a student-led nonprofit that runs the Civic Digital Fellowship, a new pipeline into public service for technology students. Nick is also an advisor to Upsolve, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that improves consumer access to Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.


Course Assistants

Jon Truong


Jon Truong is exploring opportunities for collaboration between the private, public, and non-profit sector to increase civic engagement, elevate public discourse, and promote equity. He most recently worked with the digital team at the City of Boston to overhaul the Public Records Request system and the Santa Monica Digital Transformation division on promoting smarter data use. He is currently a Master in Public Policy candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Kate Spies


Kate is currently a Masters in Design Engineering student at Harvard’s Engineering and Design schools. Following undergraduate engineering studies, Kate was commissioned into the United States Marine Corps where her training focused on leadership and flying acumen. Kate’s early career as a pilot included experience flying over 3000 hours, leading more than 100 combat missions, and ultimately a selection to attend the United States Naval Test Pilot School. As an experimental test pilot, Kate integrated aeronautical engineering, high-risk test and evaluation, and program management to guide Department of Defense acquisition decision-making. She bridged the gap from conception to employment of revolutionary new technologies. Kate’s research at Harvard is centered on smart materials, innovative design, and autonomous systems with a specialized focus on the electric-VTOL space. Outside of academia, Kate loves spending time on adventures, running, practicing yoga, reading quietly, and crafting savory vegan dishes.


Research Assistants

Sydney McDonald


Sydney is a sophomore at Harvard College studying government and computer science, originally from Bangor, Maine. She is especially interested in the intersection of technology and governance. On campus, she sings with the Radcliffe Pitches, works with the Harvard College Consulting Group, is a member of the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Law Association, and serves as Director of HackHarvard College, an annual hackathon that brings together hundreds of students to solve societal problems with digital tools. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, watching Dance Moms, and petting any dog that crosses her path (with consent).

Sophie Schick


Sophie is a senior at Harvard College studying mechanical engineering and computer science. From the Bay Area, she is particularly interested in good design and using tech to promote access, equity, and civic engagement. She took time off from college to work as a product designer at Apple. On campus, she’s been involved with Harvard Model Congress, a government simulation conference in Boston, Asia, and Dubai, as well as a leader of the Franklin Fellowship and co-president of Harvard Global Women’s Empowerment. Outside of school, Sophie loves to bake, color-code and organize, and spend time outdoors.


Thank you to everyone who has made this course possible, including: Stephanie Nguyen, Brian Lefler, Hadley DeBello, Alisha Ukani, Angel Quicksey, Chante Lantos-Swett, Dana Chisnell, Mary Ann Brody, Ryan Panchadsaram, Kate Krontiris, Ben Getson, Ben Willman, Eric Waldo, Erie Meyer, Marina Martin, Wendy Lin, Brandon Ward, Jess Colarossi, Eduardo Ortiz, Arden Klemmer, Hong Qu, Mina Hsiang, Kathy Pham, and all of our past students and clients.