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Blazing Cloud Founder Named Presidential Innovation Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution

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Sarah Allen joins two others Presidential Innovation Fellows to work on initiatives to strengthen the Institution’s digital enterprise.

By Jasmine France (Contributing Writer, Women 2.0)

In a nod to the importance of technological innovation, the White House welcomed Blazing Cloud Founder Sarah Allen as one of 43 new Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIFs). Her focus will be digital initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution, which is one of several agencies sponsoring PIFs in support of “Open Data” projects. The Open Data Policy aims to make information generated and stored by the Federal Government more open and accessible, with the goals of increasing government transparency and efficiency as well as fueling entrepreneurship and economic growth.

Allen is a serial innovator with a history of developing leading-edge products and communication tools. In addition to founding Blazing Cloud, she actively works to diversify the tech community with RailsBridge, which puts on awesome free events for women and their friends. Now, she’s on hiatus from Blazing Cloud and has set aside her day-to-day life to start the six-month appointment at the Smithsonian. She’ll be in good company. The latest fellows are an impressive bunch of innovators, including other groundbreaking female technologists like DMV.org founder Vidya Spandana and Dr. Beverly Park Woolf who develops software tutors at the University of Massachusetts.

While in the nation’s capital, Allen will help develop the Institution’s program to provide public access to its massive collections in science, history, art, and culture. She joins two others to work on initiatives such as improving the tools the Smithsonian offers the public to search and use its digital content, building a crowdsourcing platform to enlist volunteers to digitize and research content, and identifying possible new technologies to speed up the collections digitization process.

The White House created the Presidential Innovation Fellows program in 2012 to tackle five inaugural projects that focus on making a part of the Federal Government work more effectively. PIF pairs top innovators from the private sector, non-profits, and academia with top innovators in government to work together to develop solutions that save lives and fuel job creation, all while saving taxpayers money. You can stay up to date with all of the progress by following the blogs of MyUSA (formerly known as MyGov), RFP-EZ, Blue Button, Better Than Cash, and Open Data Initiatives Fellows.

Jasmine France headshotAbout the blogger: Jasmine France is a travel-addicted, food-obsessed Bay Area writer with a decade of experience covering consumer electronics, digital music, mobile apps and cloud computing. Follow her on Twitter @WeirdEaredJas.