Join Us In Welcoming NYC Opportunity’s Winter/Spring Fellows

8 Person Icons that represent the current Winter/Spring Fellows are on multi-colored boxes.

Product and Technology Fellows

Suchen Huang (She/Her)

UX Research Fellow

Suchen stands in front of a brick wall smiling. She is wearing a blue/grey sweater.

What brought you to NYC Opportunity, and to this work?
I have been interested in working with products that advance public interests. This is a great opportunity to apply product and user experience research skills to understand how NYC government’s digital products can serve New Yorker’s needs better.

What were you doing before this? If you’re currently in school, what are you studying?
I graduated from Columbia School of Social Work this April with a Masters of Social Work. I have been working with my school’s research center on a project called Poverty Tracker. I have also worked on some projects that laid the foundation for UX knowledge.

What team will you be working with and how will you be spending your time with them?
I’m working with the Product Team on websites such as WorkingNYC that enhance economic inclusion. I’ll be working with my team and support tasks that aim to improve the product’s overall user experience.

What are your goals for your time as a fellow?
I hope to contribute to projects while improving my research and design skills by sharing insights with the team, and identify opportunities to improve the user experience of people we serve.

What do you like to do outside of work / what is something we may not know about you?
I enjoy running and staying in nature, but also love exploring the city with friends :)

Bermet is looking straight forward at the camera. In the background is a landscape of city buildings and trees.

Bermet Kydykova (She/Her)

Product Management Fellow

What brought you to NYC Opportunity, and to this work?
The product management fellowship at NYC Opportunity has a great reputation, and I was excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the team. It is a chance to contribute to the community and help build something great. After graduating from Hunter College with a degree in computer science and minor in math, this opportunity fit perfectly.

What were you doing before this? If you’re currently in school, what are you studying?
Before joining NYC Opportunity I was working as a consultant at a private company and as a software engineering fellow at CUNY Tech Prep for full-stack development.

What team will you be working with and how will you be spending your time with them?
I am working on several projects at NYC Opportunity, currently working on EquityNYC. I’m collaborating with different teams, mostly through virtual meetings, although some meetings are in person.

What are your goals for your time as a fellow?
My goals are to get hands-on experience on a variety of different products that the NYC Opportunity team currently offers. In particular, I want to gain more knowledge about developing a product, documentation, prioritization of features, product vision and user testing. I am super excited to be part of the diverse NYC Opportunity team, and help build products that make a change in the lives of NYC residents.

What do you like to do outside of work / what is something we may not know about you?
I love to travel, bike around my neighborhood and spend time with my big family. I also love to watch soccer and try to play every other weekend.

David Golden (He/Him)

Project Management Fellow

David is smiling in front of a park-city scape. He is wearing a button up denim shirt.

What brought you to NYC Opportunity, and to this work?
I am excited about bolstering the technical capacity of government and building transparent and effective civic technology.

What were you doing before this? If you’re currently in school, what are you studying?
I was recently a New York City Urban Fellow placed at the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA) where I worked on a variety of projects including building a new Project Portfolio, assisting in internal analytics projects related to COVID-19 and NYC’s infrastructure, and helping administer New York City’s COVID-19 Recovery Data Partnership.

What team will you be working with and how will you be spending your time with them?
I’ll be working with the Product Team helping launch a pilot of a brand-new digital tool for New Yorkers, the My File NYC data locker which will simplify the process of applying for certain benefits.

What are your goals for your time as a fellow?
As a fellow I’d like to gain a greater understanding of how new technologies interact with legacy systems and existing processes so I can learn to build more effective tools for New Yorkers.

What do you like to do outside of work / what is something we may not know about you?
I’m an avid biker and enjoy getting around (or out of) the City that way. This year I’ve really enjoyed taking the Jamaica Bay Greenway out to the almost brand new Shirley Chisholm State Park.

During the pandemic I started watching movies regularly with friends and I’ve seen 182 this year!

Service Design Studio (SDS) Fellows

Bridget Qian (She/Her)

Design Fellow

Bridget is sitting against a white wall slightly smiling at the camera. She is wearing an oversized white shirt and has on pink earrings and has pink hair.

What brought you to NYC Opportunity, and to this work?
As a student studying social design and design research, I have always wanted to apply my studies at scale, working on civic design projects that target a larger group of stakeholders. I also wish to gain experience working through a community design project, from beginning to end, since these projects typically take a long time to operate and evolve. I have previously worked with both community-lead organizations and in the private sector, which makes me want to learn about government’s practices on social design.

What were you doing before this? If you’re currently in school, what are you studying?
I worked as a graphic designer mostly. And at graduate school, my thesis group collaborated with the East Village Community Coalition and initiated some hyper local efforts to help restaurants in East Village, NYC, to reimagine restaurant resilience, including a virtual community hackathon, design sprints to be done with restaurant owners, and a restaurant crisis community used playbook.

What team will you be working with and how will you be spending your time with them?
I am going to work with the Service Design Studio to mainly evolve the Designed by Community Program brand, and produce new assets to complement their Civic Service Design Tools + Tactics. I will also be supporting some UI/UX and research work when needed.

What are your goals for your time as a fellow?
My goals include learning from beginning to end of running a community design program, gaining experience in project management, learning methods to approach multiple stakeholders, developing research plans, and being more proficient in designing outputs.

What do you like to do outside of work / what is something we may not know about you?
I love to play party games and board games with friends, such as Monopoly and Mario Party on switch. I also enjoy reading about China’s development in the 20th Century and mystery novels.

Xavier D. Jones (He/Him)

Communications Design Fellow

Xavier sits in on an outdoor chair turned to the camera and smiling. He is outside with trees surrounding him. He is wearing a navy blue sweater.

What brought you to NYC Opportunity, and to this work?
What brings me to work with NYC Opportunity is the products and services that NYC Opportunity develops for the people in New York City. Since I’ve worked with the United Nations and seen how I contribute to many different organizations globally, I wanted to experience how to engage, develop, and connect with the people who live in the five boroughs.

What were you doing before this? If you’re currently in school, what are you studying?
Prior to working with NYC Opportunity, I worked with multiple design studios as a design consultant, which gave me skills and understanding in brand identity, data visualization, web design, and service design.

What team will you be working with and how will you be spending your time with them?
I will be working with the Service Design team remotely and in person.

What are your goals for your time as a fellow?
Refine and create new branding structures and systems for specific initiatives. Creating thoughtful visual tools & services that people can use internally or externally. And bring impactful storytelling in the projects with the Service Design team.

What do you like to do outside of work / what is something we may not know about you?
Outside of work, I enjoy reading design and film books, and last year I started to get into yoga, hiking and have invested the time this year in cryptocurrency.

Enterprise Data Solutions (EDS) Fellow

Hunter Yobei Thompson (He/Him)

Data Fellow

Hunter is slightly smiling in front of a bright green wall. He is wearing a yellow/beige and purple shirt.

What brought you to NYC Opportunity, and to this work?
I came to NYC Opportunity first as a fellow over the past summer through the Civic Innovation Corps. I had a blast working with NYC Opportunity then, and I have the honor to continue as a fellow in the school year.

What were you doing before this? If you’re currently in school, what are you studying?
This past June, I graduated from the University of Chicago majoring in Computer Science. I had developed a passion for data during undergrad, and I am currently pursuing a master’s in Data Science at the University of Washington.

What team will you be working with and how will you be spending your time with them?
I will be working with the Enterprise Data Solutions (EDS) team. I have already spent my time contributing to projects ranging from creating a full table of orders for the GetFood initiative for reporting purposes to running an analysis of the Jobs-Plus program. Each project brings unique challenges, but my team is amazing and supports me tremendously!

What are your goals for your time as a fellow?
My goals include learning how to effectively work with data to aid and support NYC communities. I also hope to build relationships with people in and outside of my team.

What do you like to do outside of work / what is something we may not know about you?
I love learning languages! I speak decent German, studied Turkish in college, and am currently learning Russian.

Programs and Evaluations (P&E) Fellows

Ali Abdullah (He/Him)

Urban Fellow

Ali is smiling widely in front of a dark grey background. He is wearing black rimmed glasses and a white sweater.

What brought you to NYC Opportunity, and to this work?
I’m excited to join NYC Opportunity because I care about advocating for more equitable public policy and lifting up voices that are often excluded from policy debates. NYC Opportunity offers a really unique opportunity to work collaboratively on innovative solutions to pressing social issues, and I can’t wait to learn about the policy process through this role.

What were you doing before this? If you’re currently in school, what are you studying?
Previously, I was completing my undergraduate degree at Northwestern University, where I majored in Political Science with a History minor. My major focus area was immigration, and I completed my senior thesis on the relationships between local nonprofits and the city of Chicago.

What team will you be working with and how will you be spending your time with them?
I’ll be working on the Programs & Evaluation team, helping support their existing program management and evaluation efforts across policy areas.

What are your goals for your time as a fellow?
My main goal for my time as a fellow is to learn more about the policymaking process, particularly how to design programs that are impactful, efficient, and widely accessible. In addition, I hope to learn as much as I can about the broad array of work in local government, both at NYC Opportunity as well as in partner agencies and providers.

What do you like to do outside of work / what is something we may not know about you?
I love to cook and bake (and watch the Great British Bake Off)!!

Joshua Thomas-Serrano (He/Him)

Programs and Evaluation Fellow

Joshua is smiling widely in front of a large wall of plants! He has a nose ring and is wearing a gingham print shirt.

What brought you to NYC Opportunity, and to this work?
In Spring 2021, I joined NYC Opportunity as a graduate fellow because I am a deep believer in the power of progressive, evidence-based policy solutions to address inequity and systemic bias, and sought to gain experience in local government putting some of those policy and programmatic approaches into action.

What were you doing before this? If you’re currently in school, what are you studying?
Before starting as a Graduate Fellow, I was in my final year of studies towards a Masters in Public Administration at the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College. I also spent five years doing development and marketing at Teens for Food Justice, a nonprofit working to end food insecurity through building indoor hydroponic farms capable of growing over 10,000 pounds of food per year in NYC middle and high schools.

What are your goals for your time as a fellow?
My goals as a graduate fellow include learning more about implementation and evaluation and delving to a wider array of policy issues including workforce programming, justice system reform, and public-private approaches to community development. I also aim to develop stronger project management and stakeholder engagement skills as I prepare to transition into a full time role on the Programs and Evaluation team shortly.

What do you like to do outside of work / what is something we may not know about you?
Outside of work, I enjoy long bike rides throughout the five boroughs when the weather permits, and reading way more nonfiction than anybody ever should.

All of us at NYC Opportunity are greatly looking forward to working alongside this talented and energetic group of Fellows for the Winter and Spring!

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