(Question 1) 2019 was entirely composed of taking a break as much as possible from political things. I was pretty burnt out and needed to recover. I worked as a nanny, which is something I really enjoyed for its own sake even though I didn’t have an intention of continuing with it long term.
Early in 2020 I left my nanny position and started doing a fair amount of exploratory work around land use reform, registering an org with the Secretary of State, having a lot of conversations with YIMBY types in my area, etc. Some time around June, I had a very self-reflective day, where I sort of realized that even if I left behind criminal justice reform as a cause area (and thereby attempt to avoid the emotional toll that kind of work was taking on me), there were several aspects of any public-facing career that were incompatible with the kind of life I want to lead. (One example would be the high levels of self-censorship required.)
For a few reasons, I’d long thought it would behoove me to acquire more “hard” skills. Some of the policy-adjacent but non-public-facing roles that I’m most interested in require a background in data science, so I’ve been enrolled in a pretty intense data science program since late August. I expect to graduate at the beginning of March.
I’ll put my answer to question 2 in a separate comment. =)
Thanks for this excellent AMA! Could you elaborate on the “policy-adjacent but non-public-facing roles” in data science that you think are impactful?
Sure. I’m mostly thinking of things like data analyst positions at think tanks and research centers that help steer policy recommendations for governments both local and abroad.