My internship with the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA-JFI) has been full of eventful surprises since my start in January 2015. I have been exposed to working directly with community leaders, well known media outlets, and other organizations that we share goals with. Most recently, I was invited to the White House with my supervisor and mentor, Dr. Seema Iyer, for the launch of “The Opportunity Project”along with other community leaders and advocates.

The White House Office of Technology Policy describes the Opportunity Project as “a new open data effort to improve economic mobility for all Americans”. Attendees spanned from as close as Baltimore to as distant as Oakland. It was amazing to be in the Eisenhower Executive Office with like minded individuals that had an affinity for civic innovation and progress.

The event began with representatives from different non-profit giving lightning talks to preface the nature of their organizations. Eventually, it was Dr. Iyer’s turn, giving her speech on Advocating for Local Access to Opportunity.

Though we all gathered for a serious cause, there was time for a little fun. It was made clear that we were there to talk and build community with each other. As an icebreaker between guests, we were asked to take selfies with people we just met! This indeed helped to create a meaningful relationship with my neighbors.image(2)20160307_145329_resized









See this Storify wrap-up from the event

To learn more about The Opportunity Project, visit


By Alange Jacobs, B.A. in Digital Communications, Klein School of Communications, December 2016