Hello, World! My name is Summer Boucher-Robinson, and I’m joining the DemTech team as its newest Project Assistant.
I’ve been interested in politics since well before I could vote. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area to two engineer parents, science and technology have always been highly regarded and thoughtful research has always been a core family value. To their surprise, my parents raised a child who much preferred the social sciences.
Volunteering on President Obama’s campaign in 2012 was my personal gateway into politics. Inspired by the experience, I moved to Washington, DC to get my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from American University where I studied American government and European and Israeli affairs.
In 2016, I returned to the campaign world to intern on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which ended up serving as a stepping stone to organizing in Georgia for President Biden’s campaign in 2020. In Georgia, I saw first-hand the significant role technology plays in connecting the public with political candidates and political parties. The campaign was completely virtual for the first time ever, which came with great advantages and monumental setbacks. We were now able to tap into voter and volunteer demographics we had never been able to reach before. Unfortunately, we also saw long-time volunteers and voters in rural parts of the state completely forgotten about, due to the inaccessibility of a virtual campaign. My work as an Organizer was to identify ways to reengage those without access to reliable technology so they could continue to participate in civic and public discourse. In a time like the COVID-19 pandemic, technology is what can connect you to the world or cut you off completely.
After graduating in 2019, I held a traineeship in the Trade and Technology section at the EU Delegation in Washington. My time here demonstrated to me how to weave together technology and the strictly political background I had from university. While there, I worked closely with the Minister-Counsellor for Digital Economy Policy and the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology. This traineeship came down to the root question- how do we harness technology to connect and engage others in a political sense? More importantly- how do we make technology more stable and secure for those in other countries while protecting human rights to free speech and human decency? I joined NDI because the DemTech team asks these questions every day.
I am excited to be returning to DC for this position, after two years of being away. I’ll be spending all my time outside of work picnicking at the park and reuniting with friends.