Serving a shorter tour with USDS: Annie Sullivan

In this blog series, we share the stories of USDSers. Find out where they were before USDS, why they joined, the challenges they face, the impact of their work, what life post-USDS may be, and what they’ll miss most. Hope you enjoy meeting them!

On the last day of my tour I had the opportunity to speak at the Abstractions conference in Pittsburgh and to chat with the local NPR station, on the importance of addressing bias in machine learning.

A 3-month rotation isn’t long enough to lead a major initiative, but it’s more than enough time to jump in and help out with a lot of great work people who are doing longer terms are spearheading.

What advice can you offer someone considering a shorter tour of duty?

  1. Talk to as many people as you can. We check our social media and you can email us at You can also connect with current USDSers at any of our upcoming events.
  2. Everyone at USDS is doing really interesting work. You can learn a lot about how to be effective from their experience.
  3. Jump in wherever you can, even if it’s just setting up some time to talk through work you did on a similar project.



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