When Kamila Saldanha (MPP ’19) was selected for the Twitter Public Policy Fellowship, she was thrilled but apprehensive. “While Twitter’s mission to serve the public conversation strongly resonated with me, my only hesitation was about entering an unfamiliar industry. This was outweighed by the opportunity to collaborate with some of the brightest minds to advance policy solutions to pressing high technology issues.”
As a Policy Fellow in the DC office, Kamila managed a cross-functional project to help identify 2020 U.S. election candidates on Twitter, a key component of the organization’s broader election and civic integrity efforts. This involves working with a distributed team to verify Twitter accounts of candidates on the primary ballot for U.S. House, U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races and label these accounts once the candidate has qualified for the general election ballot. The blue verified badge lets people know that the account of public interest is authentic, while “labels add more context to tweets by providing candidate status and geographical information.”
It’s a project she feels most proud of. “The bar here is high, and my own has been raised as a result. Seeing the impact of my work through product improvements which help voters engage with more context and confidence around the election is incredibly rewarding.”
Apart from this, she also supports work for the Elections and Civic Integrity working group and #TwitterForGood (the company’s corporate philanthropic efforts). One of the highlights of her Fellowship was “Hack Week,” where Twitter employees take time away from their day-to-day work to collaborate with people from other teams to develop ideas they are passionate about. “This is an integral part of the culture here, and some of the best product features on the platform are a result of previous Hack Weeks,” she says.
It was this same yearning to learn from practitioners with unique personal, political and social perspectives that drew her to McCourt. “The diversity of experience, skills, thoughts and ideas here has reframed my perspective, stretched my imagination and shattered my comfort zone. Everyone brings something new to the table.”