Meet the team

For media inquires contact Jason Rhode

For partnering with PGP, or for rapid-response legal/policy analysis, contact Adam Podowitz-Thomas

Samuel Wang

Professor of Neuroscience

sswang@princeton.edu

Sam Wang has been a member of the Princeton faculty since 2000. He holds a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (1986) and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Stanford University School of Medicine (1993). A central feature of his laboratory research is the use and development of statistical tools for dealing with large, complex data sets, especially in regard to individual variation. In 2015, he was appointed by Governor Chris Christie to the New Jersey Governor's Council on Medical Research and Treatment of Autism.

Sam has a long-standing interest in elections. He pioneered statistical methods for analyzing U.S. presidential elections in 2004, when he developed tools for the aggregation of state polls. These tools led to the establishment of the Princeton Election Consortium. In 2012 he recognized new, systematic distortions in representation in the U.S. House. Understanding the causes of these distortions launched his interest in voting rights and led to the creation of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.

Sam Wang's laboratory research focuses on learning from birth to adulthood, at levels ranging from single synapses to the whole brain. He is particularly curious about novel roles for the cerebellum in cognition, social thought processes, and autism. He studies these brain functions using optical neural imaging and big-data approaches to analyzing behavior. Sam is also the author of two popular books about the brain: Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys But Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life (2008) and Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College (2011). Both books are available in over 20 languages.

Adam Podowitz-Thomas

Senior Legal Strategist

podowitz-thomas@princeton.edu

Adam Podowitz-Thomas is the Senior Legal Strategist for the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and the Princeton Electoral Innovation Lab. In this position, Adam helps dictate the team's role in redistricting and election policy nationwide. He works closely to build relationships with reform organizations and craft legal/policy strategy, focusing on the team's priority states. In short, Adam translates the team's data expertise into useful legal and policy analysis and helps community partners understand how best the project can assist them.

Before joining the team at Princeton, Adam was an environmental litigator in Pennsylvania and California, clerked for Judge James Wynn of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Judge Magdeline Coleman of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and worked in-house for the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Adam holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School and undergraduate degrees in history and geography from the University of Georgia.

Jason Rhode

National Coordinator

jrhode@princeton.edu

Jason Rhode serves as National Coordinator for the Princeton Gerrymandering Project. His principal tasks include facilitating partnerships, coordinating communications, and spreading the tools generated by PGP. His goal is to empower communities and the general public by sharing Project innovations.

Before joining PGP, Jason worked as a journalist on several platforms, most notably Salon Magazine. In 2018, he served as a Field Director for Lucy McBath's successful Congressional campaign. He was Communication Director for Emily Leslie's campaign for the Georgia House. He has also worked in the startup space.

Jason holds a B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from Texas Tech, and an M.S. in information science from the University of North Texas.

Jonathan Cervas

Research Associate

cervas@cmu.edu

Jonathan Cervas serves as Research Associate for the Princeton Gerrymandering Project. His projects include writing academic articles on communities of interest, overseeing the Initiative’s mapping project, and creating demonstrative redistricting plans for legislatures and commissions. Jonathan will also be co-teaching a class with Professor Wang on redistricting and gerrymandering for Spring 2021.

Jonathan has served as assistant to the special master in three federal court cases, including Bethune-Hill vs. VA Board of Election, where he, along with Bernard Grofman, redrew 25% of the Virginia state legislature. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and a masters and PhD from the University of California Irvine. Jonathan specializes in American politics and has published in numerous scholarly journals on the Electoral College and Redistricting.

Jason Fierman

Communications Associate

jf8964@princeton.edu

Jay serves as a communications associate for the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and the Electoral Innovation Lab. He currently focuses on outreach, development, and network-building for the organization. Jay is also heavily involved in digital strategy and communications. He specializes in engaging the public on complex topics and growing new audiences and communities. As an associate, Jay is well-versed on state-by-state redistricting processes and the national landscape. 

Prior to working at the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, Jay worked at the Redistrict Network, an interdisciplinary organization which works to advance redistricting reform across the country. He has ample experience in both the private and public sector, particularly through his work at Promontory Financial Group and the Department of Justice. Jay graduated in 2015 with an MPA in applied politics from George Mason University. 

Rick Ober

Legal Analyst

rober@princeton.edu

Rick analyzes existing state laws and proposed state-level reforms for their ability to prevent gerrymandering.

Rick previously worked as E.V.P. & General Counsel of United Jersey Banks/Summit Bancorp (1975-2001) and General Counsel of TerraCycle, Inc. and Isles, Inc. His long-term interest in politics is reflected in previous roles as Research Director for the New Jersey campaign staffs of Dick Zimmer for U.S. Senate and DeForest "Buster" Soaries for U.S. House of Representatives, and over 30 years as a County Committeeman, Fire Commissioner, and intern at the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Improvements in Judicial Machinery.

Rick holds a J.D. from Yale Law School (1968) and an A.B. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University (1965).

Zachariah Sippy

Outreach Associate

zsippy@princeton.edu

Zachariah Sippy works as an associate on the outreach team for the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and is an analyst at the Princeton Election Consortium. A few of his recent projects include analysis of the Arizona Redistricting Commission, a guide to the 2020 election, and research on proposed changes to the electoral college in various states. He is also tasked with media outreach, preparing op-eds and press releases, and writing blog posts on a variety of topics related to electoral politics and reform. Zach is currently an undergraduate student at Princeton University, studying history.

Sandra Chen

Policy and Legal Researcher

sandrajc@princeton.edu

Sandra Chen serves as a policy and legal researcher for the Princeton Gerrymandering Project. Her tasks include compiling information on the redistricting processes in all 50 states, writing legal scholarship on key areas like communities of interest, and assessing the timeline for redistricting in 2021. She also works with partners and coalitions to identify different paths forward for reform on a state-by-state basis. Sandra is an undergraduate student at Princeton University in the Class of 2024.

Amanda Kmetz

Data Engineer

akmetz@princeton.edu

Amanda is the Data Engineer for the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, where she works primarily to collect, process and validate data for OpenPrecincts. She also develops analytical tools and geographic visualizations. She is interested in the impact of geography on social systems, and enjoys finding ways to make better spatial decisions.

Before PGP, Amanda worked as an GIS intern for Philadelphia’s Share Food Program. She also served as a Graduate Student Assistant for the Department of Geography and Urban Studies at Temple University, where she tutored students in GIS and geospatial programming. Amanda holds a B.A. from Boston University in Linguistics, and a P.S.M. from Temple University in Geographic Information Systems.

Ari Goldbloom-Helzner

Computational Research Analyst

ari.goldbloom-helzner@princeton.edu

Ari serves as the Computational Research Analyst for the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and the Electoral Innovation Lab. He develops statistical analyses of redistricting maps and works with partner organizations to provide technical assistance in advocating for fair redistricting. He also helps with the OpenPrecincts project. He aims to use math and data to empower communities in securing fair representation.

Before PGP, Ari worked with the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group at their summer Voting Rights Data Institute at Tufts/MIT. Along with other fellows and faculty members, he developed an MCMC algorithmic approach to find redistricting plans that bolster political representation for minority communities and created a graphical measure of racial and political segregation. Outside of gerrymandering and redistricting work, he has researched the spread of Lyme disease and has worked in local government to assist in a COVID Rent Relief Program.

Ari holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and a B.A. in Music from Brown University.

Hannah Wheelen

Project Manager and Data Coordinator

hwheelen@princeton.edu

Hannah coordinates the collection and curation of voting precinct data with the goal of producing a complete, open-source set of all 50 states plus DC and Puerto Rico in OpenPrecincts.org and supports the development of intuitive and accessible tools for the public to use the data to do their own redistricting. She also coordinates team projects and works with Amanda, Ari, and Adam to make use of this data in reports and briefs.

Before coming to Princeton, Hannah worked with the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group at their summer Voting Rights Data Institute at Tufts/MIT on redistricting and gerrymandering. Her projects included examining the compactness of districts, the spatial clustering of voters, and MCMC algorithms, as well as collecting precinct data for the state of Ohio.

Hannah holds a B.A. in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley (2018).

Indraneel Purohit

Product Manager/Software Engineer

ipurohit@princeton.edu

Indraneel likes to work on software where it intersects with maps, music, and government. He is the product manager and software engineer for the Princeton Gerrymandering Project. He works on the Project's various web properties, including OpenPrecincts and the site you're looking at right now. Before PGP, he worked as a software engineer at SharedStreets and at AppNexus. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Rutgers University.

Alumni, Contributors and Acknowledgements

Brian Remlinger was the first full-time staff member of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project. Brian did the first wave of analysis, co-wrote scholarly and popular articles, and played a key role in launching our current activities.

Rob Whitaker designed an earlier verison of our website, including the geographic test explorer.

Madeleine Parker bolstered our GIS capabilities.

Aimee Otsu helped improve the user interface of the website.

Sung Chang did early work on the map visualizer.

Tim Mack compiled and cleaned our election data.

John O'Neill assisted with our data collection process and drew some political maps.

Laura Williamson strengthened our efforts at outreach and partnership with reformers.

Will Adler conducted statistical analyses, maintained datasets and software tools, and worked with state-level partners.

Ben Williams conducted legal analyses, drafted statutes, drew maps, and maintained strategic partnerships.

Lafayette College designed our bug logo.

Steve Birnbaum

Baxter Demers

Aaron Barden

Hope Johnson