Photo of Alicia Beckett
Pronouns: She/Her
Community of practice: Product
City of origin: Currently live in Carpinteria, CA, when I joined USDS I lived in DC, originally from Ann Arbor, MI
Tour status: Alum

Alicia Beckett

Why did you join USDS? What inspires you about the mission?

I’ve always really loved doing mission-driven work, and prior to USDS was at a health tech startup working on improving healthcare for the Medicare population. I went to HIMSS, a health IT conference, and saw the USDS team speak about their work on the Blue Button 2.0 project. I realized that at USDS 1) I would be able to have a much bigger impact on Medicare and healthcare in general than I would at a startup, and 2) the incentives of the U.S. Government are to serve the people vs. shareholders or make profits. I was really excited about the opportunity to do what’s right for people even if there isn’t a business model for it, and with more funding and longevity than NGOs can provide.

What’s your career story?

After graduating college with a degree in computer engineering, I took three months to work as an IT intern for a social enterprise in Nairobi, Kenya that was working to deliver high-quality, affordable, and modern maternal and antenatal care. That was where I learned that I love working on mission-driven products and I like ambiguous and fast-paced environments.

After that I came back to the U.S. and worked at Microsoft as a program manager in Office. Three years later I really wanted to get back into mission-driven products, and joined an early stage startup Clover Health, which is a Medicare advantage insurance company who provides Medicare benefits to its beneficiaries. The company went through hyper growth and after a while I was ready for a change, which is when I learned about USDS..

What’s your super-power?

Curiosity. I’m always eager to learn and understand new things, and I’m not afraid to ask LOTS of questions.

Describe your most impactful project.

It’s hard to pick which project has been the most impactful, because they’ve all been so important. Currently I’m working on the PRIME (Pandemic Ready Interoperable Modernization Effort) project with CDC. At first we were building products on our own that turned into SimpleReport and ReportStream, and as time has gone by we’ve been able to work with CDC on their data modernization initiative, hiring, and promoting agile development within the agency. The actual project work is important, but where I see the biggest potential is in the culture change and new ways of working that we can bring to agencies.

What television show or movie can you watch repeatedly?

Love Actually. I’m the person who watches it every holiday season.

What was the last great book you read?

The Overstory, also loved The Art of Gathering.

How did you survive the quarantine?

I moved to California to be with my now fiancé. Other than that a lot of hiking and exercise.

What’s your go-to comfort food?

Chocolate, because it’s delicious and always hits the spot without giving me a massive sugar buzz.

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