After starting as a Marketing and Communications fellow in spring 2018, Danielle officially joined the TechChange team in a role split between Instructional Design and Creative. Prior to TechChange, she was a Program Associate at the Society for International Development – Washington Chapter, where she worked on event planning, graphic design, and marketing projects for the international development community.

We recently sat down with Danielle to learn more about her background and experience at TechChange. Welcome to the team!

Q: So, tell us more about yourself. How did you end up working in design and international development?

Well, that story begins where my-would-have-been medical career ends. Growing up, I always thought I’d end up in the medical field. But after completing a social innovation fellowship with Kaya Collaborative in the Philippines after my freshman year of college, I realized I could make still make a positive impact in the world without having to breakdown over biochemistry. I eagerly switched my major to International Relations and have been pursuing opportunities to work and think globally ever since.

As for graphic design, it was a random hobby I picked up in college. Designing t-shirts, social media graphics, event posters… it was through random projects like these that I taught myself Adobe Creative Suite. Over time, I’ve come to realize how important design can be for storytelling and social change, and I’ve been able to put that theory into practice here at TechChange.

Q: How did you first hear about TechChange?

I came across TechChange during my time at SID-Washington. TechChange was listed online as an Institutional Member and it sparked my interest due to its social enterprise business model, focus on education, and emphasis on user-centered design. As I was looking for opportunities after SID-Washington, TechChange immediately came to mind as a place where I could put my design, marketing, and communications skills to good use.

Q: What are some of your favorite parts of working at TechChange so far?

First and foremost, the people! Everyone at TechChange is incredibly talented and passionate about their work both in and out of the office. Finding a balance between working hard and having fun has been surprisingly easy thanks to TechChange’s supportive environment.

Apart from the people, I also love being able to work on important projects that reach a global audience. In my short amount of time at TechChange, I’ve already worked on a sexual harassment prevention training with USAID, an ICT in Education policy guide with UNESCO Bangkok, and started a project with the Ministry of Finance in El Salvador! I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Q: What excites you about Instructional Design?

Many things! First of all, it encompasses several of my interests – design, psychology, technology, among others. As an Instructional Designer, I love that I can continue learning and spreading knowledge on important topics like gender, education, etc. There are also many opportunities to be creative and I like the challenge of figuring out how to best design a course in a way that is effective and engaging.

Q: Anything you look forward to working on or learning at TechChange in the next year?

I’m excited to expand my creative skillset and work with clients to create high-quality and thoughtfully designed products!

Q: Lastly, what’s something that not a lot of people know about you?

That I spent two years of my childhood living in the Philippines. It was definitely a life-changing experience that helped me get in touch with my Filipino heritage and even learn to speak Tagalog!

Mihret Tamrat recently joined the team this month as an Instructional Design Fellow. Mihret brings a wealth of experience – ranging from education, language, development and more. We sat down with her to learn a bit more about her background. Welcome to the TechChange team, Mihret!

Q: So…how’s your first month going?

Fantastic! I love the atmosphere and my coworkers – I feel right at home. I get up every morning excited to start work.

Q: Could you share a bit about your background before joining the TechChange team?

I grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and moved to the U.S. in the summer of 2013. I graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Economics and minor in History this past May. Before my TechChange fellowship, I had interned at Eleni LLC (a company that built agricultural commodity exchanges for emerging markets based in Ethiopia), the Innovations for Poverty Action (in Lusaka, Zambia), and Harlem RBI (an education nonprofit in New York City).  

Q: What originally interested you in joining TechChange?

I was immediately drawn to TechChange because it encompassed the three things that I want to focus my career on: education, technology, and international development. When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to do something to help improve the quality of education for people in my community. TechChange solves part of the problem by providing high quality engaging and accessible educational materials to development workers.

Q: How does Instructional Design fit into your interests? What interests you in your projects?

I used to struggle to get my nine and ten-year-old students to write creative plays when I worked as an Odyssey of the Mind coach in Ithaca, NY. I quickly learned that regardless of how much information I threw at them, sometimes the delivery is more important than the material itself. A well thought out instructional design ensures the material gets its spotlight. Instructional design is all about structuring material in a way that maximizes understanding, engagement, and retention. At TechChange, I love the challenge of thinking through how a user will go through the material that we prepare and how best to present it. As a bonus, we get to work with our in-house creative team, so the possibilities are endless.

Q: What is one thing that you’d love to learn or do this Fall?

This is the first time I will be working in e-learning and I’m excited to sharpen my Articulate Storyline 360 skills. I think it’s a great tool that will serve me well in my career.

Q: Lastly, what’s something that not a lot of people know about you?

I speak four languages: Amharic, Tigrinya, English, and French. However, I wouldn’t call myself a native speaker in any of them. My love of Middle Eastern history led me to my passion for belly dance, which has lasted three years and counting!

Samita joined TechChange last summer and has returned this year as an EGLI – Atlas Corps Fellow. As a Communications Associate, she assists in the daily communications with TechChange’s domestic and international clients and marketing of TechChange courses, as well as maintaining the TechChange blog. During her trip to Nepal over the holidays, she visited some of TechChange’s participants at the GIZ office to learn about Nepal’s mHealth pilot and their experience with TechChange’s courses.

Before TechChange, Samita was assisting the refugee resettlement department at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. She holds a B.A. in History with minors in Social Policy and Global Economics from Goshen College. Samita is from Nepal and considers India her second home after spending seven years in boarding school there. In her free time, Samita enjoys finding the best local eateries in town and attending music events.

Welcome back Samita!

Happy Holidays 2014 from TechChange

Wishing you and all your loved ones a wonderful holiday season!

Yohan Perera recently joined TechChange as a Graphic Designer. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Digital Arts & Design from Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida. Born and raised in the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka, a country that was torn by civil war for 30 long years, he received an opportunity to work as a Graphic Designer for Sri Lanka Unites, a Youth Movement for Hope and Reconciliation in 2011, where he gained his true passion to use graphic design & media for social change. He enjoys seeing the world around him through his camera.

Welcome to the TechChange team, Yohan!

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Israel, specifically a city south of Tel Aviv called Rishon Le Zion.

What did you do before working at TechChange?

Before I worked at TechChange, I worked as an Animator/After Effects Compositor on a few different children’s cartoons. The shows were produced either in Israel, or in Europe. I worked both in a production studio environment and I spent some time traveling and working where ever I had a stable internet connection and a desk.

How did you hear about TechChange?

I heard about TechChange through a job posting on

What exactly do you do at TechChange? What does a typical day look like for you?

I coordinate the work of our amazing creative team, with the vision of the instructional design team and provide feedback and guidance for different projects. My typical day would start by talking to my team, getting their input on current projects, checking their progress and setting goals for the day. Followed by answering clients and team emails. After that I would go into either storyboarding, drafting a concept note for a project, editing video boards (for animation), animate, figuring out next steps for larger projects, hop on check-in calls with clients or any other task that requires my input. At the end of the day I would make sure that the creative team has delivered completed tasks, check in with Nick or Chris on long term deliverables and plan my next day. The job is pretty diverse and requires a lot of long term planning, as well as attention to details. The things I always try to ask myself are: Are we on schedule? Are we improving? Are the team members in the loop?”

How did you get into animation?

As a kid, I was (and still am) a geek that spent a lot of time indoors watching TV and movies – especially cartoons and Disney movies. With heroes like Bugs Bunny, Spiderman and the Genie, I was amazed by the power of animation. I couldn’t believe that there were people out there creating visual representations for stuff that I thought only existed in my head. Growing up, I went to an engineering high school, and my sense for design and animation wasn’t very encouraged. After I finished my mandatory military service, my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) sent me a link to the animation department of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. I had no idea that a career in animation and design was even an option, but I told myself that if I get in, I’ll go for it. I applied and some how got through the tests. The first two years were very hard, but even after a lot of failures I couldn’t give up, because my drive to animate and draw kept growing as school was getting harder and harder. 4 years after graduating, I look back and I know that taking that chance was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Alon Alaskov creating interactive infographic

Alon Alaskov creating interactive infographic

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in creating animations for international development and social change?

The most important lesson in international development that I’ve learned is that there is a lot of room for creative thinking. Coming from a design background, I try to approach animation projects with a clean slate and do a lot of exploration. I’ve learned that this approach can applies to international development-related work as well, especially when explaining data-intensive concepts in visually compelling ways that make it easier to understand.

How do you keep up with the latest developments in animation/multimedia technology and trends?

A lot of web browsing. I have a Google News feed that keeps me updated on these issues, as well as colleagues who post interesting articles on Facebook and Twitter.

What do you love most about working at TechChange?

The people. This is by far the best team I’ve ever had the chance to work with. There’s a wonderful environment here, amazing energy, and hard working individuals.

Alon with his birthday gifts from the office: cupcakes and a sketch of himself made by his co-worker Pablo

Alon with his birthday gifts from TechChange: cupcakes and a sketch of himself made by his co-worker Pablo

 What is your favorite TechChange moment so far?

After almost two years of living in the US, I finally got to have a proper Halloween office party. In the party I had the privilege to participate in a short intellectual experiment called: “Between Two Nerds”. Thanks to Nick Martin, Pablo Leon and Charlie Weems, it turned out to be one of the best productions I ever took part in.

What do you do when you’re not at TechChange?

I enjoy spending time with my wife, watch movies, read comics/books, work on personal animation/design projects, hike, play PC games, and hangout with friends.

If you had to direct someone to the best place to eat in D.C. where would it be?

Busboys and Poets. Great food, awesome atmosphere.

Does Alon’s job sound like your dream job? Apply to our Animator/Videographer position here.


Sara recently joined us as an online instructional designer and works with clients to develop and design online courses, in addition to coordinating and broadcasting live events. Prior to TechChange, Sara taught middle and high school STEM courses at the Barrie School, where she also led an Engineering Product Design program for high school students. Sara graduated from Yale University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, which sparked her passion for design thinking and human centered design.

In her spare time, Sara enjoys reading, traveling, and perfecting her guacamole recipe.

Welcome Sara!

Delanie recently joined us as an Online Instructional Designer where she will build eLearning courses for TechChange’s clients. Before moving to DC to join TechChange, Delanie lived in Uganda where she worked at the Infectious Diseases Institute as a Global Health Corps Fellow. She holds a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies, with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice, from the University of California, Berkeley.

In her free time Delanie enjoys playing the oboe in orchestras.

Welcome Delanie!


After a study-abroad semester in Spain and a summer at TechChange in Washington D.C., Emily Fruchterman is heading back to William & Mary to finish the final year of her undergraduate career. Before heading to Williamsburg to finish her Biology degree, she looks back on her summer internship at TechChange as an educational technologist.

1. How did you hear about TechChange?

At the start of 2014, summer internships were the last thing on my mind. I was off to spend the semester in Seville, Spain, and any thought relating to life-after-study-abroad was a painful reminder that my time in paradise wouldn’t last forever.

When my final exams forced me to face reality, I wasn’t quite sure where to start my search (the ocean between me and potential employers seemed pretty daunting). A friend referred me to, where I found out about TechChange.

2. Why did you choose TechChange to spend the summer between your junior and senior years?

TechChange piqued my interest with its goal of using the power of technology to advance social change. The broad range of courses that demonstrate the utility of technology to a very international audience showed me that this was more than a cursory commitment. Contributing to an organization with such goals seemed like a worthwhile way to spend the summer.

On a personal level, TechChange seemed like a great complement to many of my previous experiences at nonprofits and NGOs doing research while giving me new exposure to a startup culture. TechChange’s upcoming projects also aligned well with my interest in public health, plus the networking opportunities afforded by spending a summer in DC seemed too good to pass up.

3. What are your interests?

While I’m generally interested in the field of development, my passions really lie with public health. I’d really like to work for organizations (like TechChange) that have projects relating to the various aspects of health and healthcare – although my dream is to work for an organization that coordinates healthcare responses and works to improve health outcomes on an international basis. I’m also an avid coffee drinker, science fiction fan, and aspiring flamenco dancer (my time in Spain might have influenced this last one).

Emily with TechGirls

Emily goes over how to create an online course with the TechGirls on TechGirls Job Shadow Day 

4. How did you use your TechChange internship to explore your interests?

Fortunately for me, TechChange had several different public health related courses this summer. I was able to engage with a course on Malaria, for use in Nigeria and Uganda, as well as take on a large part of a facilitated course on HIV for clinical and non-clinical care providers. Both of these have been extremely valuable experiences, as I’ve not only learned a great deal about both illnesses, but also looked at how to structure health-related interventions and training programs.

5. What did you do at TechChange this summer? What was your role at TechChange?

The instructional design team was finishing up a self-paced course on Malaria when I arrived in June. I was not only able to help with edits and testing, but built a few interactive elements. I got more experience building out lessons, writing storyboards, and coming up with engaging lessons while working on other instructional design projects.

I got my first taste of the facilitated platform as a teaching assistant (TA) for a course on Social Media for Social Change, during which I familiarized myself with WordPress and the structure/pacing of a four-week course. This came in super handy, as a couple weeks later I started to manage content development and build out the four modules for the course on HIV treatment. I also helped write several blog posts relating to projects, participated in meetings with clients, and taught the TechGirls from Tunisia and the Palestinian Territories how to create online courses.

6. What did you learn during your time at TechChange?

The first big thing I learned was how to use Articulate Storyline. This eLearning program might look like a fancier version of PowerPoint, but it has it’s tricks and idiosyncrasies. It was very cool to learn how to create interactions, design variables, and troubleshoot glitches to develop quality modules. This was super useful, as it helped me think about learning in a much more user-centered way.

I also learned to be much more comfortable in front of the camera – while I still had my fair share of outtakes, it became a lot easier to speak to a blinking red light instead of an audience. I learned how to manage time during interviews, ask the right kinds of questions, and (most importantly) what to do with my face when I wasn’t the one talking.

My tech skills also improved – my co workers tried to show me some coding basics (parts of which I picked up on better than others), I increased my audio editing abilities, became super familiar with WordPress, created several graphics, and set-up and took down AV equipment.

I also improved my communication skills by working closely with various members of the team on different projects and writing emails/participating in phone calls with clients.


Emily in the recording studio at TechChange before recording a live session for a course

7. Did your TechChange experience end up going as you expected?

In some ways – based on my impressions of TechChange from their website and my interview, I’d expected to find a group of young and tech savvy individuals interested in promoting social change.

I hadn’t expected how much support they’d give me for pursuing my own ideas from the get-go. I think it was my second or third day here that I suggested an interaction be added to a part of a self-paced course to a member of the instructional design team. The response I received – “great, want to build it?” – really surprised me. I’d barely started learning the program, was still figuring out where I fit in, and yet was already being offered the chance to work on the product. This “great, want to build it?” philosophy was present throughout my internship here – I had a lot of flexibility and opportunity to build off of assigned tasks.

8. Would you come back to work at TechChange one day? Why?

Yes, and without a second thought. TechChange has to be one of the best work environments I’ve ever encountered; it’s fun and collaborative, the work is engaging, and the company is small enough that everyone can play a variety of roles. You might be hired as an educational technologist, but you’ll have the chance to do a little bit of graphics editing, write blog posts, sit in on business development meetings, teach a course, and have your voice featured in animations.

More importantly, this work has real value. The courses developed by TechChange are used by different organizations around the world to train staff members and health providers, as resources to newly-formed NGOs, and to put the spotlight on the role technology can play in the developing world. TechChange collaborates with organizations that work for real, sustainable change, and TechChange alumni go on to do incredible work. Being a part of this team has been a wonderful experience.

9. What advice would you give to future TechChange interns?

Take initiative! This is an awesome opportunity to grow your skill set – make use of that. If something needs to be done, volunteer to do it. Even if it’s not something you’ve done before, the team will support you and make sure you learn how to do it well. The TechChange team is also super supportive – if there’s something you want to learn about (even if it’s not directly related to your job), they’re more than happy to help.

After a summer at TechChange, it’s time for Sean Bae to start his first year at the University of Maryland-College Park this fall where he is considering a major in Electrical Engineering. Before heading to College Park, he reflects on his time at TechChange as a Software Engineer – Analytics Intern where he worked on D3 data visualization projects to make online learning interactive.

1. How did you hear about TechChange?

During the last fall, my dear friend Michael Holachek (a.k.a. “Code Ninja”), currently a rising sophomore at MIT, kindly shared his TechChange internship experience with me. While I was browsing through the TechChange website, I came across the job description of “Software Engineer – Analytics”, which is when I became first interested in working for TechChange.

2. Why did you choose TechChange to spend your summer before beginning college?

After taking an online Machine Learning course from Caltech, I became really interested in not only how to use computational algorithms to find correlations in data, but also how to interactively visualize them in aesthetically pleasing ways that can provide hidden insights for the front-end users.

TechChange’s job opening for the “Software Engineer – Analytics” quickly grabbed my attention because of the idea of being able to work in the cutting-edge web development environment, while learning principles of real-life software engineering practice. The fact that I will be contributing to the company that aims to promote social change, and educate the global community was also a big plus.

3. What are your interests?

I love physics and mathematics. In college, I plan on studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the two subjects that I believe will let me apply my passion in physics and math into solving real-life problems.

During my free time, I play piano, do Cross Country running and play Ultimate Frisbee. Also, I have a longstanding interest in modern European history, and I enjoy having discussions and debates with my friends on various thought-provoking topics such as political philosophy, epistemology, ethical dilemmas, and religion.

4. How did you use your TechChange internship to explore your interests?

TechChange offered me a lot of flexibility in terms of what projects I worked on. While my main projects were developing front-end interactive D3.js (Data-Driven-Documents) visualizations, I also had opportunities to learn about SaltStack server provisioning automation, and work on small back-end Ubuntu server projects.

Surprisingly, computer science wasn’t the only relevant subject in my work! I found my physics knowledge useful when I was working with D3 Force Directed Graphs, which used electric charge model and pseudo-gravity to compute the location of vertices of the graph until they reached the “electrostatic equilibrium”. My knowledge in discrete math and linear algebra also became invaluable when I was developing a social-learning matching algorithm to solve a combinatorial optimization problem that turned out to be similar to the Minimum weight spanning tree problem.

Sean Bae with the TechChange staff

The TechChange team battle each other in a heated game of “Settlers of Catan.”

Apart from work, we had occasional TechChange Board Game days, World Cup cheering days, soccer/Frisbee team-bonding sessions and nearby park strolls that made my time at TechChange much more enjoyable and social.

 5. What did you do at TechChange this summer? What was your role at TechChange?

 During my time at TechChange, I developed front-end interactive D3.js visualizations for the TechChange online course platform. Some of the major projects include the TechChange social matching algorithm, social matching recommendation visualization, and course-wide point leaderboard system. While my work was mostly focused around the front-end JavaScript design, TechChange’s cohesive tech team structure let me peek into and learn insights from other tech team members’ back-end projects as well.

 6. What did you learn during your time at TechChange?

Technical skills weren’t the only valuable assets that I learned during my time at TechChange, but as an overview, I learned:

  • How to create interactive data visualizations with D3.js
  •  Efficient Git distributed version control (DVCS) team workflow for constant deployment
  • Advanced JavaScript debugging with the Google Chrome browser DevTools
  • How to automate virtual development environment creation using Vagrant
  • WordPress web plugin development with PHP and MySQL
  • Industry-standard JavaScript Design patterns
  • Regex (Regular Expression)
  • Django server structure
  • Full stack web app development combining Node.js, Express framework, MongoDB and Jade HTML Pre-processor
  • How to maintain a healthy diet (which was unexpected!)

Sean Bae coding D3 data visualization

Sean codes D3 data visualization for encouraging interaction and engagement on the TechChange learning platform

 7. Did your TechChange experience end up going as you expected?

I was expecting my internship experience to be mostly associated with computer programming. However, people at TechChange seem to follow the “work hard, play hard” philosophy. After working hard, we had times to socialize, play soccer and games together, which made my experience much more interesting. I was also surprised by how friendly and opened people were and how flexible the working environment was at TechChange.

 8. Would you come back to work at TechChange one day? Why?

I would love to! TechChange’s tight-knit community and energetic teams have magical power that draws people. Supportive and caring, yet productive, efficient, and techie team members make TechChange a fantastic environment to work on projects that create real impact in the real world.

9. What advice would you give to future TechChange interns?

  • Search for opportunities: TechChange has many different teams that you can pursue many different projects in international relations, course facilitation, media/video productions, UI/UX design and computer programming. If you find someone else working on a project that you want to take challenge on, then just simply ask.
  • Explore nearby restaurants: located right across the U Street metro station, TechChange HQ is located in the midst of many spectacular restaurants; there are many places to explore around in U street for lunch, from an authentic Ethiopian restaurant to gourmet falafel place and famous Ben’s Chili Bowl. Take the full advantage of the plethora of exotic choices and try exploring many ethnic food groups!