Meet Peter Darche: DataKind’s Spring Intern!

April 2, 2013

DataKind is nothing without a team of awesomely smart, creative, and talented data wizards constantly tackling big thorny data problems.  You can imagine our excitement, then, when Peter Darche, a graduate student at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, asked if there were any opportunities to intern with us.  Peter had been a rockstar student of Jake’s at ITP who was committed to using data for social change, so it took about 30 seconds to answer “yes” and invite him onto the team as our spring intern.  Pete’s a brilliant addition to the DataKind family and he’s working on a really great project related to corporate influence on politics that you can read about below.  We thought it would be better for you all to hear about Peter in his own words though so, without further ado, welcome Peter Darche!

Yesterday, Jake asked us to write up a quick statement introducing ourselves to the DataKind community.  “I know it will be awkward,” he said, “writing in the third person, but… that’d be great.”  Well, we do find it awkward, Jake.  Regardless, we’re DataKinders now, so awkwardness must be pushed through.  Excelsior!


In all seriousness, I am unbelievably excited  about interning at DataKind.  I came to the organization via ITP, an art and technology graduate program at NYU, where I’m currently a student and where I took Jake’s course Data Without Borders.  At ITP I spend most of my time thinking of ways of using self-tracking data to help improve personal social and environmental impact.  Prior to ITP I taught elementary school in the South Bronx and Bed Stuy, and am generally interested in all forms of innovative do-goodery.


During the internship I’ll be working on a project with the Sunlight Foundation examining the influence of money and access on legislative behavior.  The project is being headed up by Data Ambassador Cathy O’Neil, with support from Dr. Lee Drutman of Sunlight.  Our goal is to connect hackers/activists with transparency data from organizations like Sunlight and the Center for Responsive Politics to create a range deliverables, from visualizations to analyses.  Currently, collaborator Shauna Gordon-McKeon and I are working on a creating a timeline for legislative behavior and more projects are in the pipeline!


I’ve already been blown away by the breadth and depth of the DataKind community’s skill-set and experience and am eager contribute to the important work that’s being done.  If you’re interested in the Sunlight project, documentation can be found at sunlightbff.tumblr.com and project-related code can be found at https://github.com/pdarche/sunlight-bff.