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Fellow Profile: Aaron Myran

aaronmyran_1455034528_97Name: Aaron Myran

Where are you from? I grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

School/grade/major: I did my undergrad at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada where I studied biology.  I’m going into my second year of grad school at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Last thing you searched on Bing: Warriors – Cavs NBA finals predictions.

Why did you choose Microsoft’s fellowship program? I’m passionate about making an impact at organizations through building software and improving access to data.  Before grad school, I worked as the Deputy CTO at a political action organization and got a good taste of developing technology tools for my organization.  I wanted to explore how a global tech leader provides software as a service to make their users more innovative.  Microsoft is really leading in this space at the city and national level.

What projects are you working on for your position as tech fellow for Microsoft New England? I’m working with a couple of civic organizations in the Boston area to develop performance data tools and data visualizations/dashboards using some of Microsoft’s technology stack like Power Bi.  I’m putting together some video tutorials on the process to make the development process open and replicable.

What excites you about civic tech? I’m not always sure that the next hip ‘app’ is really making anyone’s lives any better.  I like that there’s a pretty concrete theory of change behind civic technology:  The government provides a bunch of important services (education, transit, voting).  Civic tech makes these services more innovate or efficient using technology and validates their efficacy.

Staff Spotlight: Kristin Kube


Name: Kristin Kube

Hometown: Columbia, Maryland

Job: Business Administrator for the Intune DeX Engineering and PM Teams in Cambridge, MA

Years at Microsoft: 3 years, 7 months

Favorite Local Restaurant: I love Commonwealth in Cambridge!

Last thing you searched on Bing: The singer Ellie Goulding; she was recently in a car accident in Norway and I was reading about it. I was also looking at images of her. I think she is so gorgeous and such a talented artist!

Something cool you’ve worked on recently: My favorite part of my job is event planning! I am currently working on a morale event for my leadership team which will be a bartending/mixology class they take together at Drinkmaster Bartending School in downtown Boston. I get to attend as well; I am super excited!

What inspires you about technology? I love how technology can help people with disabilities. I was particularly inspired by the story of Steve Gleason, a former NFL player who has ALS and who uses eye-tracking technology, which runs on Windows on his Surface, to communicate. This has greatly improved his quality of life. It is amazing and inspiring!

What problem would you like to see solved with technology? I would like to see technology continue to help improve the human experience, whether it be improving the quality of life for people with disabilities, developing new ways for people to express themselves creatively, making our daily lives and tasks easier or exploring the universe. Technology is capable of so much and I can’t wait to see what it accomplishes next!

Jennifer Chayes Receives Honorary Doctorate from Leiden University


Earlier this week, Jennifer Chayes, managing director and distinguished scientist of Microsoft’s New England and New York research labs, was honored by Leiden University with an Honorary Doctorate. It’s very rare that Leiden University bestows an Honorary Doctorate to an individual who isn’t a professor, but this news comes as no surprise to us, as Jennifer has excelled in her 20 years at Microsoft. As a leading researcher in the fields of statistical physics, stochastics and discrete mathematics, she has made major contributions to Microsoft — and to other female researchers inspired by her work and leadership. All of us here at Microsoft New England congratulate Jennifer on this honor.

Read more about Jennifer’s honor — and her achievements — on the Leiden University website.

Fellow Profile: Kevin Yang

kevin-yang_MSNEWhere are you from? Orange County, California

School/grade/major: Harvard, Junior, Computer Science and Statistics

Last thing you searched on Bing: Best Sushi in NYC

Why did you choose Microsoft’s fellowship program? Previously, I led a nonprofit called the Digital Literacy Project, which brings undergraduates into middle schools to teach an introduction to computer science. From these experiences, I naturally became interested in understanding how to magnify my impact on communities and how communities function. As a leader in the Civic Tech space, Microsoft seemed like a great way to continue exploring my passions.

What’s the most exciting tech venture the City of Boston is working on? Naming the most exciting tech venture in Boston is particularly difficult. Boston has an unparalleled ecosystem of innovation with startup accelerators like Mass Challenge, spaces for entrepreneurship like the Cambridge Innovation Center, and partnerships between companies and policy makers like the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. These organizations help innovative tech ventures thrive in Boston and make me particularly excited to work on civic tech in Boston.

Who is your civic tech mentor? I find Hadi Partovi’s mission to demonstrate the transformative power of technology through particularly inspiring. Over the past two years since its inception, has engaged over one hundred million people to learn how to code.

What excites you about civic tech? Within the civic tech space, there are plenty of opportunities to make meaningful and lasting improvements to the lives of community members. As shown by the uptake of applications like Microsoft Pulse and OpenGov, local governments enhanced with technology can be transparent and responsive.

What’s one problem you hope civic tech will solve for cities? Through new civic tech services where governments can connect with citizens, I hope communities will become more involved with their local governments.

Microsoft’s New England SMSG Organization Moving to Burlington


Microsoft Burlington Office, 5 Wayside Road

Later this year, Microsoft’s New England Sales, Marketing and Services Group (SMSG) will move to Nokia’s former offices in Burlington, Massachusetts, from our current Kendall Square location.

Let me be clear, Microsoft is not leaving Kendall Square! Microsoft will continue to have a large presence here. Microsoft research and development teams will remain in Cambridge where they can easily collaborate with leading, nearby academic institutions and the broader technology community. Debi Mishra, Partner Director of Engineering for Azure Machine Learning, and site leader for this Microsoft Global Development Center, will continue to focus on growing our research and development presence here, and our conference center at NERD will continue its mission of hosting industry meetings and meet-ups.


Microsoft New England Research & Development Center

In fact, the plan is to renovate the more than 150,000 sq. feet we occupy at One Memorial Drive, providing more collaborative work spaces for our research and development teams and giving us room for business growth.

As for my SMSG team, our footprint in the Northeast continues to grow, and Burlington places us in a centralized location close to Boston, but with easier access to all the surrounding states in our sales region.

The move will see all SMSG employees at Microsoft’s 255 Main Street, Kendall Square office, including those in our world-class Microsoft Technology Center (MTC), relocate to 5 Wayside Road in Burlington. The Burlington office will complement our New England satellite offices in Hartford, CT and Rochester, NY. It’s also just two miles from our Microsoft Store at the Burlington Mall.

This move will allow SMSG to truly capitalize on our company’s mobile-first strategy and provide an easily accessible, state-of-the-art hub where we can work more effectively with customers, partners, developers and user groups throughout our Northeast territory.

As I indicated at the outset, this move won’t occur until later this year, but I want our New England customers, partners, employees and friends to be aware of our intentions. We’re looking forward our new Burlington home, but in the meantime we’ll continue to meet your needs from our current Kendall Square offices.

Robert Davy is general manager of Microsoft’s Northeast Enterprise and Partner Group.

Join the ever-growing community of Kendall Square!

Join the ever-growing community of Kendall Square!

What’s next for Kendall Square after its amazing 5-year run? Scott Kirsner, BostonGlobe columnist, BetaBoston blogger, and editor of InnoLead asks this question in his most recent piece for BetaBoston. In the article, he discusses the exponential growth of the Kendall Square area in the past 5 years, from tech moguls to internet commerce, social media firms and startups dominating the area.

We established our presence here in Kendall Square here in 2007.  We now have nearly 800 employees in two, separate offices, and nearly 900 employees in Massachusetts, including our store locations.

We are proud to be part of this ever-growing community and are always looking for more innovators to join our team. Think you can make a difference in the next five years? We invite you to take a look at our job openings and help us make an impact in Kendall Square and beyond.

Read Scott’s piece in the Boston Globe here.

Fellow Profile: Gavin Sullivan

Gavin-Sullivan-MicrosoftWhere are you from? Deerfield, IL

School/grade/major: Harvard, Sophomore, Classics and Statistics

Last Thing You Binged:  “Return of Parks and Rec” – it’s been on hiatus for too long!

Why did you choose to intern with Microsoft?
My interest in technology was born when my dad brought home a Compaq desktop computer running Windows 98 — I was four at the time. Politics followed soon after when I tried to understand the 2000 election (my six-year-old self had much trouble making sense of the Electoral College). My time here at Microsoft has allowed me to bridge both of these interests by engaging with civic technology.

What projects are you working on for your position as tech fellow for MSNE?
I’m currently developing training solutions for our local government users. Microsoft has a tremendous amount of resources available online; I’m trying to package these in a way that is more useful to public sector workers.

What excites you about civic tech?
Civic tech reflects my generation’s evolving attitudes on political participation. Rather than casting our votes every November then sitting back for the remainder of the year, we’re using technology to turn government into a leaner, swifter machine.

What’s one problem you hope civic tech will solve for cities?
Citizens deserve to be more closely involved with their local governments’ budgeting process. Cities throughout the country are already using technology to give their constituents greater influence on where their tax dollars go. As more municipalities begin to embrace civic tech, I hope this trend continues across the nation.

Robert Davy is the new GM of Microsoft’s Northeast District

www.thestudionouveau.comRobert Davy is the new general manager for Microsoft’s Northeast Enterprise and Partner Group. The Boston Globe profiled him in Sunday’s edition. A longtime leader within Microsoft’s East Region, Robert leads sales, marketing, and service delivery functions for large enterprise customers in the Northeast, with a special focus on banking and insurance, health and life sciences, and manufacturing and retail sectors. He’s also responsible for Microsoft’s work in the broader New England community around youth education, innovation, employment and entrepreneurship, among other areas.

Since he joined Microsoft in December 2004, Robert has held key regional leadership positions, and before that led part of the financial services business in Microsoft’s New York Metro Enterprise Sales District. He has a bachelors’ degree in business administration from American University and an MBA from Hofstra. Robert, his wife and teenage sons live in the Boston suburbs, and love to ski, travel and explore New England.

We hope you’ll watch this blog for more of Robert’s ideas about how Microsoft’s technology and services can help move Boston-area businesses forward in this new era of productivity.

Fellow Profile: Zach Fogelson


Where are you from?

School/grade/major: Harvard, Senior, Computer Science

Last Thing You Binged: Caffeine 🙂

Why did you choose to intern with Microsoft?
I chose to work for Microsoft for many reasons. First, I like working at Microsoft because Microsoft builds the platforms and tools that allow developers to be creative everywhere. In addition, Microsoft is an amazingly collaborative and innovative environment. All of the people I work with here are kind, passionate about technology, and helpful.

What projects are you working on for your position as tech fellow for MSNE?
In conjunction with a team at Code for Boston, I am working on converting the Boston City laws to USLM (United States Legislative Markup) format. This project is part of an effort going on all around the country to standardize legal formatting and thereby improve access to legal documents for citizens.

What excites you about civic tech?
I am excited about working in civic tech because I know that there are numerous policies and government initiatives that should be having a bigger impact on people’s lives than they are now. When I make technological contributions to my community I feel like I am helping to break down the barriers that prevents people from accessing the government services they need.

What’s one problem you hope civic tech will solve for cities?
One issue that I hope civic tech can solve for cities is access to high quality education. As more world-class lectures, notes, and exercises are available online, I hope that people will be empowered to take control of their education wherever they are and regardless of socioeconomic status.

It’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month. What is one thing you do personally to stay safe online?
One quick thing I do to stay safe is that when I get an email, and I am not sure of whether or not it originated from a safe source, I put my cursor over the links in the email before clicking on it and I check the URL embedded in the hyperlink. If I don’t recognize the URL I throw out the message.

Staff Spotlight: Nancy Baym

Nancy_BaymName: Nancy Baym 

Hometown: Urbana, Illinois

Job: Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research

Years at Microsoft: 2

Favorite restaurant in the Boston area: That’s a hard call! I quite like Helmand in Cambridge and Sichuan Gourmet in Brookline.

Last thing you Binged: I was looking for articles about the new album by the Spanish singer-songwriter Nacho Vegas.

Something cool you’ve worked on recently: I’ve been interviewing musicians about their relationships with audiences. I think that counts as cool!

What inspires you about technology? I’m fascinated by the ways that it opens possibilities for people to interact with one another and the ways people manage to overcome the obstacles technologies pose in order to connect in meaningful ways. Perhaps that is what inspires me about people more than about technology.

What problem would you like to see technology solve? I am not a big believer in technology as a solution, but I think it can help *people* solve problems, and in that regard I would sure like to see us use technology to connect across boundaries and lessen the racism, sexism, and all the other –isms that keep us apart and lead to hatred and violence.