GSA FAS Focus

The U.S. Digital Corps

October 21, 2021 U.S. General Services Administration Season 1 Episode 13
GSA FAS Focus
The U.S. Digital Corps
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we talk with Chris Kuang, the U.S. Digital Corps co-founder, about the new two-year fellowship to recruit early-career technologists into government to work and contribute to high-impact efforts. Learn all about this unique opportunity and get the inside scoop on what's to come.

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>> Welcome to GSA Fast Focus, a look at what is happening in and around the  US General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith, and you may recall from our last episode that GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan said that one of her priorities was to build a pipeline of diverse talent to GSA and recruiting the next generation of public servants. Well, that wasn't just talk. Soon after our visit came the announcement of the new US Digital Corps, a two-year fellowship for early career technologists. To get a good bit more insight into this very exciting opportunity, we welcome Chris Kuang, the cofounder of the US Digital Corps to our podcast this week. Chris joined GSA in June of this year, and he's been moving mountains to get the Digital Corps up and running. I'm not going to steal his thunder by giving all the details of this opportunity, but I will let you know that Digital Corps fellows will be full-time federal employees. So, they'll have all the federal benefits and a competitive salary during their time in the program. Of course, as always, we will run down some of the webinars and CLP opportunities coming up in the next few weeks and put a few fascinating facts in FAS Focus. 


Welcome back to FAS Focus a look at what is happening throughout GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith and please, if you have not done so yet, click that button that says Subscribe. That way you will never miss an episode of FAS Focus. And yes, we are available on all of your favorite podcast sites, but subscribing makes it so simple.  No more hunting around for the latest episode. It's just right there. Coming up, I will be talking with Chris Kuang about the new US Digital Corps. It's a very exciting two-year federal government fellowship program for early career technologists. What a great way to get real-world training and make a difference. I'll let Chris get into all the details, but I will say the the US Digital Corps will recruit Americans with skill sets in software engineering, data science, design, cybersecurity, and other critical technology fields, and this is a great way to kickstart a career in public service, but first, our next Alliant 2 DPA training is coming up on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Attention federal contracting officers, program office officials, managers, and executive staff, you are invited to check out this webinar and learn how Alliant 2 can support your agency's IT project initiatives. By the way, warranted contracting officers must complete this training before requesting a Delegation of Procurement Authority, or DPA,  and if you are a CO, you know that a DPA is the golden ticket that authorizes you to issue orders against Alliant 2. So, sign up now. Visit GSA.gov and scroll down the page to the events calendar to register and find out more. Again, this Alliant 2 DPA training takes place on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. That is 10 a.m. Central Time, 9 a.m. for our friends in Mountain Time, and a bright and shiny 8 a.m. for our friends in Seattle. If you're listening to me today in Tokyo, well, things kick off at midnight. And one more important note for you, this webinar is not open to contractors. 



Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what is happening in and around GSA's federal acquisition service. I'm Joan Kornblith, and today, I'm joined by 
Chris Kuang, the cofounder of the US Digital Corps. Thanks so much for taking the time to sit down with us. It must really be a super-busy time for you, trying to get this new program off  the ground. 

>> It's really exciting time around the Digital Corps, and thank you for having me. 

>> Well, of course. Now before we dig deeper into the US Digital Corps and what the whole fellowship program is about, let's learn a little bit more about you. We need a real introduction. You're a Harvard grad, and while you were there, you found time not just to serve as the chair of the Harvard Political Union. You also put in your time as the sports photo editor of the Harvard yearbook, which was a perfect fit, because a little birdie told me that you are a huge Boston Sports fan. 

>> I really am. And it's been quite a last few weeks here in Boston. We've had a lot of exciting, exciting games. Some series with the Red Sox making it pretty deep into the playoffs, and so, I had a lot of fun during my time at Harvard. I think the sports editor position was really fantastic, giving me the opportunity to get out and see some of the really fantastic sports teams that we have and perhaps compared to other universities, didn't have as large of a focus. But I always found it just really tremendous to go out and take in what some of my, peers/classmates were doing out on the field. 

>> And not only at Harvard. I mean, you have got schools and schools and schools in a professional team after team after team to choose from in Boston.

>> We're really lucky. I definitely grew up in the Boston area and quite spoiled, but I will not let anyone else hear the end of it. I mean, I'm a big Boston sports fan, and that's been true since I've been a small child. 

>> Well, wait until you come down to Washington, because we have got every sport imaginable. I mean, granted, they're not the Boston teams, but any sport that you're looking for to see live, we've got it for you here.  

>> Okay. 

>> Well, aside from sports, somewhere along the way, you picked up a love for public service and helped found a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Coding it Forward, which at its heart, is all about empowering the next generation of technology leaders and creating a new pathway into civic technology. Tell us a little bit about Coding it Forward.



>> Yeah, my path to public service and to civic technology started in my first and second year of undergrad. I'd gone to school being really passionate about civic engagement and public policy but also technology and think I'd spent a little bit of time trying to find which path I wanted to take. There is just the sense that those two interests were mutually exclusive. And it wasn't until I took a course at the Harvard-Kennedy school called Technology and Innovation in Government. It was taught by Professor Nick Sinai. That really opened my eyes to say that really opened my eyes to say that there's an opportunity where I can do both, and I don't have to pick one or the other. And it was a field course where we were working with real government clients. I had the great pleasure of working with the local school system, and really, designing over the course of a 12-13-week semester designing prototyping, iterating, and testing a process that would allow families and parents to have kind of greater input and their children's educational process. And I think, for me, it was the first time that I had seen a technology and a design approach being applied to problems in the public sector, and it was really interesting. And so, I remember coming out of that class looking for internships and opportunities where I could continue putting that to good use and solving public problems. And, unfortunately, at the time, I just had a really hard time finding any, and I remember searching USAJobs, and you put in "tech internship," and the only thing that came back was an unpaid internship installing office software. And so, I think it really hit me then that if it's this hard to find an opportunity at the intersection, may be there might be an opportunity to help create some of our own, and luckily, the professor who taught that course had worked and government prior and had been instrumental in starting up the Presidential Innovation Fellows which is another program here at GSA. And one thing really led to another, and the idea for Coding it Forward and building this movement of students who are passionate about the intersection of technology and social impact came about. So, really, a tremendous opportunity for me and definitely, I think, launched a tremendous movement, in terms of bringing more early career students into public service with their technology skills.

>> Well, it's one thing to be interested in this when you're in school, when you're a student. But surveys show that public service is not always at the top of the list when recent grads and other young people are asked about their dream jobs. Before we go any further, what really attracted you to public service as a career? How did you get to GSA?

>> Really lucky to be here at GSA, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. And when I look back, I think, public service is something that a lot of people think about when they come in. People want to have impact in their work. They want their work to be meaningful. They want their work to be bigger than themselves, and we are so lucky to have all of those in government and here in public service, and I think part of the challenge in, perhaps, some of those surveys is a perception, or awareness, of what government is or what government can be, and I think what we're trying to accomplish at the US Digital Corp is showing them that public service doesn't have to be all that different than what you imagine a job in the private sector elsewhere might look like.  It's meaningful. You're developing personally and professionally. You have fantastic colleagues and create support systems, and so, one of the goals that I have with the US Digital Corps is changing the narrative of public service, because I fundamentally believe that so many folks who are coming into school or launching into their  career would have a really fantastic time here at GSA or at other agencies across government.



>> Well, we're going to find out a little bit more about this launch in just a second. I'm Joan Kornblith. You're listening to GSA FAS Focus. By the way, if you have not yet subscribed to our podcast, please do so. It is just a quick click, and it will make everybody working on this program very happy. If you've got questions about anything you're hearing today or someone you'd like to hear featured on the program, just send us a note. The email address is GSAFASFocus@GSA.gov. That is GSAFASFocus@GSA.gov. Today we're talking with Chris Kuang, the cofounder of the US Digital Corp. Let's start at the beginning of this whole project. Back in December 2020, you cowrote a paper stating that the US government should create a Digital Corps, what you saw as a two-year fellowship. It was a way of recruiting the country's top young technology talent to serve in the federal government. Now where did this idea come from, and what has it been like to see it come to life?

>> That's a great question, and definitely a through line from what we were just talking about with Coding it Forward. So, one of the flagship programs that I helped start and lead when I was helping run Coding it Forward was called the Civic Digital Fellowship. And that is a summer internship program that brings software engineers, data scientists, and other technologists who are still in school and to the federal government for a 10-week summer internship. It was really designed as a dip your toes in the water. See what public service is like. Maybe it'll surprise you. Maybe it's something that you never considered, but after 10 weeks, you'll see yourself thinking about government and thinking about your career in a completely different light, and in the four or five years before I left Coding it Forward to join the General Services Administration to start the US Digital Corps, we ended up placing about 350 fellows and a dozen federal agencies, a number of state and local government offices, as well, and it really showed us that students were looking for opportunities like this. We had tremendous demand and we heard time and again from our agency partners that these fellows, these interns, were really blowing them away, in terms of what they can accomplish in a period as short as 10 weeks. I think there were some perceptions, misconceptions that early career technologists couldn't be effective, because so many of the existing programs focused on mid-to-senior level talent, but what Coding it Forward was able to do was give a very visible proof point that wasn't necessarily true all around. And so, the idea for the Digital Corps really spun out of that, thinking, hey, if these folks can accomplish so much in a period as short as 10 weeks, imagine what they could do in two years early on in their career. And it was backed up by -- we had fellows coming to the end of the program who, obviously, a big part of it internship when you're in school, especially if you going in toward your senior year, towards graduation, might be maybe I can lock down a job for when I graduate, and if you had a really great experience, I would love to keep going. And we heard that time and again from folks at the Census Bureau, the National Institutes of Health, even here at GSA. I would love to stay. I did not know that I could do this work, and the challenges ended up being there weren't a lot of easy on ramps for agencies to bring on their fellows, even after having them for a 10 week program through Coding it Forward. And so, the Digital Corps ended up being, can we take this program that we brought from outside government and, not re-create it, but use it as a model for a new program that we create here at GSA and across government to bring folks who are coming out of school or otherwise launching their career into civic tech. And so, the Digital Corps, we wrote it down on a piece of paper, and sometimes, that's the magical step. You get something that you can send around people, and to see it come to life has been really tremendous. We've had incredible support and buy-in from all levels here at GSA. I want to definitely thank the Technology Transformation Services Tteam. Joshua Francis, who used to lead the present innovation fellows, really was our champion from day one and shared so many learnings from his experience running that program. Dave Zvenyach, the TTS Director, has really seen the importance of talent and understanding how we can deliver. And so, we're really lucky to have a home here at GSA to be able to build this program on behalf of all of our federal partners. 

>> It's had an amazingly quick birth for a federal program. Why don't you walk us through the reality of it? What's the Digital Corps going to look like? And what's the timeline for applicants? I know the website said interviews were going to start in January, but things start moving a lot faster than that. 

>> Things will be moving soon. We encourage you to apply early, just because we anticipate there being significant interest from folks and an opportunity like this, but that's what we've been hearing is that the Digital Corps been moving very quickly. Obviously, being there on the ground level, it feels like every day is -- comes with its own challenges. But definitely zooming out, I've been at GSA only since the beginning of June. And so, we were able to build a lot of momentum, work, and understand, what are some resources that we might be able to pull from, and we're really lucky to have gotten an initial investment from TTS through the American Rescue Plan package that the Congress passed recently. And that really set us up for some great success, having dozens and dozens of meetings with our partner agencies, first to understand would a program like this even be valuable? What were their needs when it comes to technology, talent, and understanding which aspects of the program component were the most important. 



And so, where we landed in designing the program, the Digital Corps, I think, as you mentioned, it's a two year program for folks who are early in their technology career. And so, a rough benchmark, that rule of thumb that we've been using. Maybe if you're 0 to 3, 0 to 5 years, perhaps, of full-time technology work experience, the Digital Corps might be a really great opportunity for you. As part of the program, you would come in here to the government and work on high-impact skills and one of -- high-impact projects, rather, in one of five skill tracts. And so, those are software engineering, data science, product management, design, and cybersecurity, and in addition to the high-impact work at agencies, we're lucky to have partners, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, CISA, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, all really committed to hosting fellows. But in addition to those great teams and projects that you'll working on, as part of a full-time opportunity, we're also going to be supporting fellows with learning and development, knowing that for many of them, it will be their first full-time work experience. It might be their first time working in the government. And so, being really intentional, while providing them with an infrastructure and support systems that will allow them to really hit the ground running and be as effective as possible in their work, and I think the last piece that we're so excited by and having seen so many other programs, how successful is the cohort in the community, coming in not just by yourself and getting placed in a large government bureaucracy, but coming in with a group of folks with similar skills, who are similarly mission driven, and being a part of a cohort, being a part of a community, and moving through these challenges together? Having a peer network to celebrate the wins and commiserate some of the frustrations that inevitably come up along the way. We're really excited for that, as well. And so, we're going to move through the hiring, and the selection process will look very similar to folks who have applied to private-sector opportunities, a resume review, a take-home assignment, interviews, and those will start in January, as you mentioned, Joan, and we're looking forward to having fellows start in 2022. And so, I think time has been flying every day, and it will continue to, and really looking forward to having our fellows in the door very soon.



>> And I want to point out that you were very careful to mention that for some people, it might be their first job. It's not necessarily somebody's first job, and in the application, in the website, you mention, you list, that, you know, it is an early technologist position, but people could have had a career doing something else previously. And you list that, you know, somebody may just have gotten a certificate in technology, a master's degree in technology, a college degree in technology, or a PhD. They could have been working in another field. So, it's not just for someone who is right out of college. 

>> A hundred percent, and I think having folks with different backgrounds and perspectives is so key to what we're trying to build with the Digital Corps branding beyond a traditional conception that you have to have a four-year degree and have studied computer science to be successful. We're trying to broaden that eligibility is much as we can.



And so, to your point, really, we're recruiting intentionally and welcoming folks who are coming from different backgrounds, whether they have reskilled from having had a prior career. They're reentering the workforce after serving in the military are taking some time away to be with their family. We're really looking for folks who are looking to start a technology career in the federal government, regardless of what you did beforehand. And I think that's part of a broader focus that we have around diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. One of our core values is inclusion, and when we talk about building a Digital Corps, there such a commitment to recruiting a cohort that represents the people that we serve, and when that's the entirety of the American people, there's a huge onus on us to make sure that our cohort is representative. And I think there are important implications for what that means in the products and services that we build as technologists, because of when you have more perspectives  at the table, it's proven that those products and services are more equitable. Those products and services serve more corners of society than it would if everyone at the table looked like me or you. And I think that's one of the pieces that we're really excited about.

>> So a fellow gets the call. What's this fellowship experience going to be like, and what types of work will a member of the US Digital Corps be doing? I know we talked about some of the agencies they might be doing it at? 

>> It will really vary, I think, depending on the agency. One of our priorities, again, is for fellows to be  working on high-impact projects. And so, there's a lot of trust with the agency and understanding. They understand a lot better than us here at GSA what they need and what technology skills are going to be key. And so, as part of the process before a candidate gets that call that you're referring to is there's going to be a two-sided matching process where they have an opportunity to learn about some of the projects and some of the opportunities, and the agencies will, likewise, be able to see the candidates' information to say, hey, those skill sets line up a lot better with what we're trying to accomplish than, you know, perhaps another candidate. And so, it really will be dependent on the individual and where the projects go, and, obviously, it's only October here now, and the fellows will start for a number of months. So, there's a lot still up in the air, but we're really optimistic and confident that our fellows will have tremendous work experiences and a lot of work has gone into identifying those host agencies.



And we're actually, right now, in the middle process of collecting all of the agency interests and understanding what those projects will look like. So, when we have those details, they'll definitely be on our website, and would encourage folks to visit us there, and you'll see a link to subscribe to our mailing list. Follow us on social media. All of those are really fantastic channels to hear about as the new program develops. And as we've mentioned, the Digital Corps is fairly new, and so, we're moving very quickly. A lot is liable to change, and I think GSA has been a fantastic incubator for this work and moving with us and supporting us as the pieces continue to shift and evolve. But going to that fellow experience, I think the cohort is so important. Mentorship is another element that I don't think I mentioned but will feature prominently in a fellow's experience. And so, we've had interest from within the technology transformation services, organizations like the Presidential Innovation Fellows 18F have all said we would've loved to have a Digital Corps when I was coming to school and I was trying to break in. And so, they're really looking to pay it forward and serve as mentors for those who are coming to show, hey, these are the experiences that I had. These are the learnings, and here. Maybe you can stand on the shoulders of my experiences, and some sense. And so, I think that mentorship component, connecting with folks who might be just a couple of years ahead of you in their career trajectory will be valuable. I know I've been lucky to have tremendous mentors who helped to open doors and open my eyes, and I think that will be true for our Digital Corps fellows, as well. 

>> Well, we're just about out of time, but we've gotten to one of my favorite parts of the program, and I'm going to reach over and grab my kind of cloudy crystal ball right now. And I will get this cleaned up one of these days, but when I do clean that crystal ball up, I wouldn'tbe able to ask you this question any longer, because I'd be able to see the answer for myself. But we're going to look ahead two or three years. I want you to put your thinking cap on. What are your out-there goals for the US Digital Corps and for the fellows? And by that I mean, is there something you'd like to look at and say, "GSA made that happen." Or point to and say, "GSA made doing that easier for the American people." Or, "I love that this program made that possible"? 

>> That's a fantastic question and I might have to borrow that crystal ball at some point in the future, because there's a lot of us that -- 

>> Don't drop it.

>> I won't. I promise. A lot that we are looking forward to, and so, obviously, the Digital Corps being a two-year program. I think one of the elements that we haven't discussed but is really core to the program design is that at the end of the two years, unlike the Coding it Forward experience that I helped stand up, if you had, as a fellow, a great experience at your agency, say, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and you wanted to stay. You would have fraternity and a pathway to convert into a full-time career position. And so, in two years, or in three years, I think there will be one or two cohorts worth of fellows who will have gotten to that two-year mark, and we'd love to see them continue to have impact, continue to serve at their host agencies. And so, I think that's really going to be one of the metrics, because that will show us that not only did the fellow have a really great first two years in public service, but they wanted to continue. But also, that the agency was seeing tremendous value in what GSA and what the Digital Corps was able to provide to them. And so, I think you capture so many elements of what we're trying to accomplish and seeing if those fellows stay on at their agency in two years. And we're starting with a fairly small cohort here in 2022, with about 30 fellows, but I think, three years down the road, we're looking to expand, because we know that the scale of the need here in the federal government, when it comes to our information technology workforce is significant, and we're going to need programs like the Digital Corps to reach an order of magnitude, if not to larger, in terms of who we're bringing. So, I'm not saying that we'll be able to accomplish all of that in two or three years, but it's definitely what we're looking forward to in terms of scaling the program and architecting this program to support significant numbers of fellows. And I think, fundamentally, my personal vision for what I think a program like the Digital Corps could mean, going back to the surveys that you reference, going back to my time as a student on campus, is making public service and civic technology aspirational for folks who are thinking about what they want to apply the their skills to. And I've always felt in analog with students who might be studying law, and many of them think that the best thing that they can do, the most prestigious thing that they can do, the most successful thing, is if they clerked for a Justice on the Supreme Court, or they apply their skills in a public service manner. And I think that can be true for technologies. I think we can make it so that we have students coming into school. We have people who are entering the workforce who instead of wanting to spend their time simply selling advertisements or doing something, changing the colors of buttons on apps, but really delivering products and services, making government work for the American people, making it equitable, effective, and I think there's a lot of power to that. And I think in three years, I hope that will have changed the narrative a little bit, and when people say, well, look at Chris five years ago. He didn't have an opportunity to do that. He had to almost help create some of his own, but now the Digital Corps is right there and is a click away, and people can apply it. So, in three years, it would be really great to look back at this episode, and hopefully, all of that comes true. But that's really what keeps me going every day is building that future where people with technology skills don't have to pick. They can do both, and they can come here and serve the American people. 

>> Well, let's not wait three years. Let's get together some time next spring when your first cohort comes in and talk to some of those first fellows about what they are so excited about and what some of their projects are going to be and find out how this shakes out. And then, check back periodically. 



>> I think the fellows themselves are the best storytellers. They can talk to their motivations. They can talk to their experiences a lot better than I can. So, I would look forward to that.

>> Well, it sounds good. We have been talking with Chris Kuang, the cofounder of the new US Digital Corps. I really appreciate you giving us so much time today, because I know how busy you are getting this thing off the ground. Once again, though, what is the Digital Corps website, so people can go check out the program?

>> Yes, we're at DigitalCorps.GSA.gov, and you can also find us on Twitter and LinkedIn @USDigitalCorps. And so, looking forward to connecting with everyone.



>> And thank you so much, Chris, and don't forget, you can also reach out to us with questions. The address is GSA FASFocus@GSA.gov, and please, I hope you have clicked the subscribe to this podcast already. If you haven't, do it now, because we will wait. I'm Joan Kornblith, and you are listening to GSA FAS Focus.



Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what is happening throughout GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith, and I am excited to introduce a new segment to our show called Success Shorts. This is our opportunity to do a bit of bragging and highlight a particular program at GSA or shine our spotlight on a team doing something extraordinary. Joining me now is our producer, Max Tempora. Hello, Max Stempora. Hello, Max. 

>> Hey, Joan.

>> Let's kick off this segment by spotlighting our STR Program, the Short-Term Rental Program that's operated by GSA Fleet, and Max, I know that you work closely with Fleet. So, tell us what's happening with STR? 

>> I certainly do. So, the STR has certainly been in the thick of things recently. As you said, STR is the Short-Term Rental Program. Yes, federal agencies can procure cars, buses, and minivans from the STR, but they also have specialty vehicles like forklifts, backhoes, and refrigerated trucks and trailers, the kind of equipment that agencies require when there's an emergency or disaster. Throughout FY 21, the STR team coordinated with commercial rental partners for several emergency and disaster support missions, including COVID-19 vaccination sites, Capitol security, the unaccompanied minors at the Southwest border, as well as Hurricane Ida. 

>> And the success story that we're highlighting today is how the STR Program assisted with the Afghan refugee resettlement. agencies, including Army, FEMA, the Marine Corps, and the Air Force needed vehicles to transport a great number of passengers and move supplies on very short notice. STR came through for them with more than 180 rental vans, box trucks, and buses. They provided them to bases across the country when they were needed on very short notice. If you want more information about the STR Program, please visit www.GSA.gov/STR. I'm Joan Kornblith. Coming up on FAS Focus, we have got a few fascinating FAS facts. 



Welcome back to GSA FAS Focus. I am Joan Kornblith, and we are almost out of time for today, but I did want to leave you with a few fascinating FAS facts. Max, are you ready?

>> I really am. What are we talking about today, Joan? 

>> Well, you know, we just wrapped up our chat with Chris Kuang. So, I think that this would be a great time to share some fascinating FAS facts about technology. In particular, some neat stuff about the Search.gov tool that is run out of the Technology Transformation Service at GSA. 

>> That sounds good. I think I'm ready today. 

>> All right, have you ever spent much time nosing around on Search.gov? I mean, it is just full of FAS facts. You may, or you may not, have spent much time on that site. Have you? 

>> No, no, this will be a new one for me. 

>> All right, will somebody has. Actually, a lot of people have. Would you like to take a guess on how many searches there were on Search.gov during 2020?

>> Oh, okay. Give me a sense of scale. Are we talking a small number or -- 

>> Oh, no. I mean, this is the primo search site.

>> Okay.

>> Yeah, people use it all the time.

>> If memory serves Search.gov is connected across a ton of different government websites. So, it's the search engine for everything. 

>> It's the search engine of the search engines. 

>> Yeah, okay. So, let's say 200 million. 

>> You're close but not that close.

>> Okay.

>> 320,581,805, at least. 

>> That's a staggering number.

>> I know, in the majority, over 10%, of those searches, or more than 33 million of those searches, were about the subject loans. Most of the search traffic for loans was about student loans.


People typed in, you know, student loans into the search box via StudentAid.gov. Other searches about loans were mortgages or home loans or small business loans or construction loans. So, the majority of all the searches on Search.gov were about the subject of loans.  The second-most popular search topic, want to try to guess what it was?

>> So, I'm thinking for --

>> Yeah, what would people ask government about?

>> So, I would think like maybe the benefits that people might get.?

>> Yes, absolutely. Yes, yes. That was the second-most topic. A very broad topic, benefits. The third most popular search topic on Search.gov during 2020. Okay, I'm going to give you a hint it's something I know that you're interested in, and it's something many, many, many people are interested in.



>> Oh, I feel that like that's a good hand, because you and I have talked about this a lot in the past. So, you know I'm interested a lot in space. So, is space it?

>> Yes, yes, yes. More than 17 million searches on the topic of space. It's good to know that we're still all excited about space and NASA, and I think that one of the reasons, and I wish I'd known about this. One of the reasons was that in 2020, NASA offered people the opportunity to receive a birthday card from them showing an image that the Hubble space telescope took on their special date, on the date of their birthday, not the year, obviously, because Hubble was not up in space on the day I was born. But the date itself, not the year and date but the date. The public's excitement about birthday cards from space generated an incredible 1.9 million hits in March and April of 2020 alone.

>> Wow.

>> Wouldn't that have been cool to get a birthday card from NASA with a picture of whatever Hubble was taking a picture of on your birthday. 

>> Absolutely.

>> I know. Other topics in the search.gov Top 10 include immigration, forms, census, health, COVID 19, obviously, jobs, and weather and climate. And if you have lost a card of some sort, don't feel bad, because the 18th most popular search on Search.gov is lost card. As an how do I replace my Social Security card or other ID card? So, many other people have lost of their Social Security card or ID card of some sort. And if we move down to the top 25, not just the top 20, there are also plenty of searches about global entry and and NEXUS renewal status, because, I confess, that more than just a few of those came from me, wondering about my NEXUS card renewal. I'm very sorry about that, but I think I definitely was one of the reasons that that was in the top 20. Anyway, don't forget, if there's anything else related to FAS or GSA that you would like to learn about or someone that you would like to hear featured on FAS focus, let us know. Send a not to GSAFASFocus@GSA.gov. That is G-S-A-F-A-S  focus@GSA.gov. I'm Joan Kornblith. I put the words together. Max Stempora is our producer. [inaudible] handles our social media. Thank you to Chris Kuang for joining us during a very busy week for him. FAS Focus is a production of the US General Services Administration's Office of Strategic Communication.