PKG Fellow: Max Williamson featured in MIT News!

Max Williamson was awarded a PKG Fellowship to pursue his work developing, teaching, and installing a preparatory computer science curriculum within a GED program in Wilmington, DE. Max was recently featured in the MIT News for his work using tech for good and fostering civic engagement.

Max Williamson (’22|Course 6)

During his first year at MIT, Max Williamson felt lost and unsure of his long-term goals. By spring, he faced what felt like a career-altering decision: pursue a coveted summer computer science research position at MIT or return home to Delaware and intern for his senator.

His friends thought he was crazy to pursue public service over a high-paying career in Silicon Valley. However, after working hands-on with local communities in Delaware while also learning the tangible, human impact of policymaking, Williamson knew he made the right choice.

The technical side of policy

Now a senior majoring in computer science and electrical engineering with a minor in public policy, Williamson sees his technical background and coding skills as important assets in the policy arena. They have equipped him with the tools to tackle big, structural problems with an engineering mindset, and have allowed him to make contributions in a variety of policy areas.

During his summer internship in Senator Chris Coons’ Delaware office, Williamson supported the constituent advocacy team, helping people with everything from filing taxes to avoiding eviction. He was exposed to a wide range of public policy issues in the process, but was particularly struck by a lack of access to computer science education in his hometown.

Recognizing how lucky he had been to receive exposure to computer science through his charter school in Delaware, Williamson wanted to support other students in his home state. Through the PKG Center at MIT, he worked with community centers in the state to start a program dubbed CoDE, teaching young people the fundamentals of computer science. Williamson has also taught computer science in Italy as a part of MIT’s Global Teaching Labs program, instructing students on the basics of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Continue reading the MIT News article about Max by clicking here!

Max has been an active student in the PKG Center, both through his role as a PKG Fellow, and more recently by sharing his work with Civic Synergy, where he is the Director of Outreach and promotes youth bipartisan collaboration on policy proposals. Max was also selected as a 2021 Truman Scholar and PKG’s own Alison Hynd, who worked with him during his Fellowship, says “Max has a real passion for his home state of Delaware and is using his MIT education to help the state’s residents meet the opportunities and challenges of its new economic engines. With his PKG Fellowship, he partnered with a local community center, and Max hopes this curriculum will serve hundreds of students in the coming years and serve as a pipeline between Wilmington’s underserved communities and its burgeoning tech industry. In the past year, he has also done extraordinary work to enable high-volume, low-cost Covid testing for the state. I fully expect to see Max representing Delaware in Congress in the future!”

Tags: Civic Engagement, PKG Fellowships, Tech for Good

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