Hi, I’m Joel.

I occasionally do interesting things.


When most people ask “who are you?” They usually want to know where you come from and what you’ve done along the way. This is my quick and dirty attempt to answer that question in reverse chronological order, so you only have to go as far back you want.

COVID-19 Pandemic

After 2016 Election

Post Grad School

Grad School

  • Earned Master in Public Administration degree from Columbia. Kind of like an MBA, only for people who care more about making the world a better place than maximizing profits.
  • Managed capstone team of eight consulting with Accenture, studying digital government programs in Brazil, India, Mexico, and USA.
  • Ran IT for a South African impact investor.
  • Gave TEDx talk on Crowdsourced Legislation.
  • Used human-centered design principles to co-found social enterprise bringing hand sanitation to Indian food carts, winning grant money for pilot testing.
  • Won several thousand dollars in grant money for student-led open data initiative.
  • Advised Haitian community center on setup of new computer lab using donated laptops.
  • Taught did IT/admin work for new nonprofit high school in Ethiopia to serve gifted students who couldn’t otherwise access full education.

Not-So-Starving Artist Period

*Calculus, Trigonometry, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, Spanish, US and World history, SSAT, ISEE, SAT, ACT, and GRE prep, among others, students from middle school to graduate level

Traveling the World

  • Used childhood savings to backpack across all seven continents.
  • Started small volunteer emergency flood relief effort in Latin America.
  • Helped coastal nature sanctuary cleanup in Australia.
  • Edited and revised grant applications in East Africa.
  • Roasted marshmallows over hot lava in Guatemala, ziplined off the Great Wall of China, snuck Malawian dignitaries into Zambian tribal ceremony, and other assorted hijinks.
  • Blogged about said hijinks as I went, posts republished on wide variety of sites.


  • Double-majored in Political Science and International Studies at the University of Chicago.
  • Helped organize the world’s largest scavenger hunt, later profiled by The New Yorker.
  • Studied abroad in India, starred in NBC web series about experience (along with 9 other students studying in other countries).
  • Acted in a dozen-plus student theater productions.
  • Worked summers fundraising for an environmental nonprofit, at a theater, and at a zoo.

Starting out

  • Grew up 90% in Seattle, 10% on a cattle ranch in eastern Washington state.
  • Played as varsity benchwarmer on high school basketball team.
  • Saved up at young age to travel the world, starting with a coin collection, continuing through lawn mowing and first summer jobs as ranch hand, sandwich maker, and at an ice cream/coffee/candy store called Bubbles.
  • Spent a lot of time hiking and biking.
  • Played a lot of video games.
  • Read a lot of mystery and fantasy novels.
  • Ate a lot of ice cream.

Wait, you read all of that? I’m flattered! At least I hope it’s because you found it interesting. If it’s because you were looking for something specific and didn’t find it, drop me a line – I want to know how to better serve people like you coming to this site.

Actually, since you made it all they way down here, even if you don’t have any suggestions, drop me a line anyway. I’m betting we’ve got something in common, and I’m always up to swap stories.