In order to highlight Austin Tech Alliance’s growing membership of individuals who support our mission to promote civic engagement in Austin’s tech sector, we regularly feature profiles of ATA members.

Up now: ATA’s intern, Kyler Wesp!

What got you interested in interning for Austin Tech Alliance?

As an international relations student at UT, I am taught to look at today’s systems, problems, and solutions on a broad, all-encompassing scale. With the introduction of Austin as the new “Silicon Hills”, it quickly became apparent through this broad outlook that the tech industry is creating a space for themselves within the world’s governmental structures/civic spaces and in order to gain that holistic perspective, I knew I had to become more knowledgeable about this intersection. Austin Tech is the best place to really dive into the intersection between tech and politics, so I knew interning there would grow this burgeoning passion. It will allow me to hone my ability for advocacy, research, and overall knowledge of the rapidly growing tech industry.

What’s one thing you want to accomplish during your time interning at ATA?

I want to bring the local civic arena to the general population, so therefore, that means this space needs to become more accessible and easier to navigate. Through a series of blog posts and work with ATA’s Informed.vote website, I will have the opportunity to introduce otherwise uninvolved populations to the benefits of increased civic participation. I am currently working on a summer blog series regarding the ins-and-outs of Trump’s new trade agreement, USMCA, it’s pros/cons, and its relation to the old NAFTA. This blog series, among others, will work to explain and investigate new tech-based policy for the benefit of the general Austin population. Working with Sarah Ortiz Shields and other professionals on improving informed.vote will help bring civic information to formerly misrepresented populations.

Why is civic engagement important to you?

Civic participation is the backbone of our governmental system and the foundation for every individual’s voice to be heard and taken seriously. In order to make that participation be representative of the entire population, total civic engagement is the tool to make that happen. Local elections have as much importance as state and national elections, but less turnout in terms of voter participation and media attention. Voter engagement in the processes of every political tier is vital to create a government that works for the people, representing every demographic’s wants and needs. Civic participation is said to be the great equalizer, but in order to keep voting, politics, and representatives accountable, civic engagement (such as voter turnout, lobbying, campaigning, etc) is crucial for every individual in Austin and around the country.

Learn more about Kyler on LinkedIn.