Fellow, Data + Digital
Sara Soka is an advocate for human-centered policy, implementation, and service design.
As a Public Benefits Research Fellow at the Beeck Center’s Digital Service Collaborative, she and Chad are mapping efforts across civic technology organizations to make it easier for eligible Americans to apply for basic housing, financial, and other types of assistance, support that can offer people an economic lifeline and help them seek sustainable employment. Sara and Chad facilitate a working group of the field’s leaders who inform this map and uncover opportunities to use technology, design, and data to make the public benefit application process less burdensome for more people.
Sara brings a background in applied qualitative research and network leadership spanning public health issues, plus substantial experience in community engagement and strategic communication. She managed Berkeley, California’s successful soda tax campaign, the first to pass in the US, with resident-led policymaking, locally resonant messaging, and participatory budgeting as guiding principles. As a consultant and a Vice President of Policy for a national public health nonprofit, she monitored iterations of this policy and its implementation, the related impacts, and implications for equity. Recently, she’s gained experience in UX research, and has consulted as a policy analyst for Code for America.