In Summer of 2016, Data Driven Detroit (D3) entered a partnership with Michigan State University’s InnovateGov internship program. Through this program, MSU students get the opportunity for an immersive experience working at an organization in the city of Detroit. During the internship, they live on Wayne State University’s campus in the heart of Midtown Detroit. Their time is split between working with the organization at which they’re placed and participating in learning activities carefully curated by InnovateGov’s expert program administrators.
Introducing: Jordon Newton
During the summer of 2016, we had the pleasure of welcoming two students into D3’s first InnovateGov cohort. We wanted to take a moment to spotlight the awesome work they did with us last summer, provide an update on what they’re up to these days, and explain how their time at D3 helped to elevate their path and future endeavors.
Following our profile on intern Boitshoko Molefhi, we have Jordon Newton. During his time at D3, Jordon was working toward his Masters in Public Policy.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have a Bachelors in Economics from Gonzaga University and Masters in Public Policy from Michigan State. I chose that combination because I’m interested in statistical and data focused policy analysis, and wanted to have a little more depth in the tools necessary to understand the budget and economic data that I might not have gotten from a pure Political Science track.
What’s your favorite type of data to work with?
I like working with all types of data, but in particular, I like working with large-scale economic and budget focused data.
What did you do when you interned at D3?
The primary project I worked on was helping to develop an indicator for urban displacement in the city of Detroit. I also worked on a number of other projects ranging from conducting a community survey in a Detroit neighborhood, to helping research and collect data for grant proposals and project backgrounds, to developing maps for a variety of projects.
What was your favorite project at D3?
I would have to say the community development indicator project. My work on that project I think best encompassed all the different tools I had to use while at D3 from conducting background research on potential data sources to collecting data, to requiring me to think outside the box on how to best use data to show what was happening in communities.
What was your favorite thing you did in Detroit during your time in the city?
My favorite thing I did in Detroit was going to a baseball game at Comerica. I’m a huge baseball fan so that alone made it fun, but being in the environment during and after the game in the downtown are helped kind of demonstrate to me the potential that the city has, even though there’s still a long way to go.
Where are you working now?
I’m working at the Citizen Research Council of Michigan(CRC).
Tell us a little bit about your role there.
I’m a research associate focused on state policy issues. I primarily work on legislative issues and the state budget, writing reports to help citizens and policymakers alike understand key issues the state is facing and occasionally present my research to a variety of organizations and the public. I have also conducted some research on ballot initiatives and have helped develop data visualizations for research that my coworkers have conducted.
How did you come across your current position?
It was advertised through my Master’s program.
How did your time at D3 equip/prepare you for this position?
Aside from developing skills working with mapping data, I think the most helpful aspect was working in an environment that was rigorous about finding the underlying data behind issues. This created good practices that help with the non-partisan, fact-based research I do with the CRC.