InitiativesPublic Interest Technology University Network

Public Interest Technology University Network

Using technology in service of the public good.

Coming together to integrate the fields of technology, public policy, business, law, ethics, governance, and social justice into the field of Public Interest Technology, Penn’s PIT-UN initiative empowers STEM students to address major societal challenges through a cross-disciplinary, collaborative, and open dialogue approach.



The Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) is a partnership of colleges and universities committed to educating students who can better apply technical understanding and practice to questions of individual rights, justice, social welfare, and the public good, particularly for those members of our society least well served historically and today by existing systems and policies.

The Latest From PIT-UN


Educating the Next Generation of Civically Engaged Technologists

Jerry Seinfeld, in his comedy special “23 Hours to Kill,” acts out the ethical dilemma many technologists face when working with emerging technologies. “Hey, are you sure this is a good idea? You don’t think this one feature all by itself could result in so many pictures, videos, postings, comments, and clap backs, that the entire life force of the human race just drains out like a puddle of …. by the side of the road?” It is a humorous take on the impact of adding a camera to the cellphone and the responsibility engineers have in considering and communicating about the potential societal impact of their inventions. Read More
Richard Ling
Event Recap

A Look Into the Near Future: Opportunities in Public Interest Technology

The Public Interest Technology at Penn (PIT@Penn) student group brought together a panel of recent college alumni who have experience in navigating the challenging world of public interest technology. Sophia Tareen (C'17), Associate Product Manager, Ad Hoc; Lauren Chambers, Technology Fellow, ACLU Massachusetts; Shaanon Cohney (ENG'12, LPS'13, GEN'16, ML'19, GR'20), Lecturer, University of Melbourne; and Richard Link (ENG'20), Founder, SolveOpen talk about their experience in criminal justice, cryptology, environmental sustainability, and more.Read More

Can Human Systems Engineering Help Us Solve Issues of Wellness At Penn?

Penn Engineering students partnered with the SNF Paideia Program to address a contemporary challenge using the theories presented in human system engineering course. The opportunity utilized students’ classroom experience to gain a deeper understanding of current problems in order to benefit the entire Penn community. Not only did the SNF Paideia program learn from student perspectives, the partnership empowered students to exercise their citizenship at Penn by using their academic training to address issues related to student stress and wellness. Read More

Bridging Telecomm with Unconnected Communities

Nikita (Nikki) Zinzuwadia, C'22, spoke with Peter Bloom, C'05 CGS'05, about his public interest technology journey. Since 2009, Peter has been coordinating Rhizomatica, an organization he founded to promote new communication technologies in indigenous, underdeveloped, and unconnected communities. Through Rhizomatica, Peter helped start the first community-owned and managed cell phone network in the Americas in 2013.Read More
PIT at Penn Student Leadership
Event Recap

Public Interest Technology at Penn Inaugural Career Speaker Event

The PIT@Penn inaugural career speaker event, featuring Penn alumni with a wide range of professional experience in public interest technology, exemplifies these efforts. Anita Allen, Ani Nenkova, Sanjay Udani, and Peter Bloom shared their insights and recommendations on how to navigate a public interest technology career, emphasizing the importance of being able to dialogue across disciplines.Read More
Lady Justice holding a set of scales

Public Interest as the Driver of New, Emerging Technologies to Promote Equity

Join the Public Interest Technology University Network for a discussion about impacts of emerging technologies on inequality and… Read More
Several people protesting outside of a building

Just Code: Power, Inequality, and the Global Political Economy of IT

This Charles Babbage Institute hosted symposium will address how code—construed broadly, from software routines to bodies of law and… Read More
Building with Penn sign in the midst of autumn scenery
In the News

Penn joins Public Interest Technology University Network

Through the leadership of Christopher Yoo, Penn Law professor and founding director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and… Read More

Penn PIT-UN Team

Faculty Coordinators

headshot of Michael X. Delli Carpini
Faculty Staff

Michael X. Delli Carpini

Faculty Director; Oscar H. Gandy Professor of Communication and Democracy
Annenberg School for Communication
Christopher Yoo headshot

Christopher Yoo

John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science; Director, Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition

Steering Committee

Paulo Arratia

Paulo Arratia

Professor, and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs
Ariana Chao headshot

Ariana Chao

Assistant Professor of Nursing
George Demiris headshot

George Demiris

Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor
Mecky Pohlschroder headshot

Mecky Pohlschroder

Professor and Undergraduate Chair of the Biology Department
Sophie Roling
Student Representative

Sophie Roling

College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2022
Kelsey Stanton
Student Representative

Kelsey Stanton

College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2022
Lyle Ungar headshot

Lyle Ungar

Professor of Computer and Information Science

Participate in Year of Civic Engagement.

The Year of Civic Engagement (YoCE) will continue to help students develop their civic identities and integrate it into their personal and professional lives in meaningful and fulfilling ways. This active, on-going exploration will include a wide range of opportunities such as the Penn Reading Project; involvement in university-community partnership and service; and much more.

Visit the YoCE Website