Alexis Wichowski is a public servant, teacher, and writer. She serves as Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Innovation for the City of New York and adjunct associate professor in Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, teaching in the Technology, Media, and Communications specialization. She previously served New York City as an Associate Commissioner at the newly established Department of Veterans’ Services and a Disaster Relief Field Responder for the American Red Cross before and during 9/11.
Other government work includes Program Officer for the US Department of State’s Office of eDiplomacy in the Diplomatic Innovation Division and Director of Media Analysis & Strategy at the Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations, both during the Obama administration. Awards include the Presidential Management Fellowship, two Meritorious Honor Awards, a Distinguished Dissertation Award, a student-nominated teaching award, and a Fulbright. Outside government, Wichowski has worked in media impact, information architecture, academic book indexing, web coding, theater production, foreign sitcoms, and pretzel vending.
Wichowski regularly conducts research and writes about the impact of media, technology and government, with publications such as, “Net states rule the world,” in WIRED, “Hack the bureaucracy: a user’s guide to getting things done in government,” in GovExec, “Let’s polarize together,” in Public Books, “ The U.S. can’t regulate Big Tech companies when they act like nations,” in The Washington Post, “Social diplomacy, or how diplomats learned to stop worrying and love the tweet," in Foreign Affairs, "What government can and should learn from hacker culture," in The Atlantic, and a chapter in Digital Diplomacy: Theory & Practice, entitled “‘Secrecy is for losers’: why diplomats should embrace openness to protect national security.” Wichowski’s book, “The Information Trade: How Big Tech Conquers Countries, Challenges Our Rights, and Transforms Our World” (HarperCollins) was published in 2020. Additional writing and other information can be found at awichowski.com.
Current SIPA courses include “Tech & Tactics for Innovative Policymaking” (winner of SIPA’s “Top 5 Course Award,” selected by students out of over 200 courses), which is taught in the fall; and “Technology, National Security & The Citizen,” taught in the spring. She also routinely serves as faculty advisor for capstones, with recent courses including a study of technological authoritarianism in China for the US Congress and policy recommendations on digital transformation for the government of Aruba.
Wichowski holds a PhD in Information Science from the University at Albany's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a BA in Chinese from Connecticut College, completed in three years cum laude. She lives in Brooklyn with her family and reads science fiction voraciously.