Social Impact Internships: Gwyneth Margaux Tangog (’26)

Gwyneth Margaux Tangog

Hello! I’m Gwyneth Margaux Tangog (Gwyn, she/her), an undergraduate sophomore at MIT. I recently switched to majoring in Computer Science and Engineering; I love working with data and research, and I enjoy opportunities that combine these two in both industry and academia. This IAP, I worked as a Data and Tech Intern for The Engine Room.

The Engine Room is a company that offers support to activists and organizations all over the world fighting for different causes from environmental justice to civic tech and digital security.
One of their services, the Light-touch Support Program (LiTS), helps organizations with limited resources achieve their goals. As an intern, I analyzed data from this program to see how the Engine Room can provide balanced support across regions and sectors.

The Engine Room has been providing direct service to partners effectively. However, their data and visualizations were relatively disorganized when I started as an intern. By writing Python scripts to make histograms, pie-charts, and choropleth heatmaps, I was able to organize the data better and see trends. The dashboard histograms show which regions The Engine Room can be more active in (e.g. Oceania which has zero partners and Asia which has the lowest non-zero number of partners each year). The pie chart shows the types of organizations the
company supports and the different support levels they use most. The choropleth heatmap I
made has helped the company visually identify the kinds of social issues they are supporting
and where. This interactive visual data dashboard makes it easier for non-technical people to
understand and interact with the data of The Engine Room, from the company’s management to
future partners.

Before this experience, my primary idea of social impact was directly working with the people in
need. Working with a company like The Engine Room which provides support to a great variety
of organizations across the world has shown me that organizational support is also important.
Working with data behind the scenes and creating an output that can inform the company’s and
future partners’ decisions has shown me that organizing data is very important to optimize a
social organization’s work, even if it is work that can be considered behind-the-scenes
compared to directly helping a person in need.

This work was really rewarding, and has shown me that technical skills such as data analysis can create social impact. I know that different companies and labs have different ways that they promote social change. In line with that, I would really love to have more social impact experiences as an undergraduate and beyond to see which ways are most interesting to me.

While I am not yet sure whether or not I’ll be working in industry or research after graduation,
this experience has inspired me to keep social impact as part of my decision-making regardless.
I.e, I hope to work at a social impact company or do research that is socially sensitive and
impactful and can inform policy and positive social change.

See my website live here!

Tags: Social Impact Internships, Social Impact Internships IAP 2024

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