2015 Rising Star Awards
IT specialist, Environmental Protection Agency
- By Amanda Ziadeh
- Nov 23, 2015
Andrew Yuen got his start in government in 2007 while still an undergraduate, and he has applied his background in environmental science, policy and web design at the Environmental Protection Agency ever since.
In 2013, he joined the web division of EPA's Office of Environmental Information as an IT specialist, with the main task of migrating EPA's web pages to a Drupal web content management system so that all the agency's content could be better organized and easily searchable.
Yuen designed a mobile-friendly template that has searching and browsing options, created an archive for older EPA material and developed an email notification system to remind employees to update web content. Now the entire agency is using the new system.
"We wanted to make sure that folks could find information faster," Yuen said, adding that "we redeveloped our websites to address specific key audiences."
His most recent project is the redesign of the Developer Central website, a one-stop shop for external developers to find information on the EPA's resources, application programming interfaces and datasets. Yuen facilitated cross-agency collaboration to incorporate additional developer toolkits, and he continues to provide extensive outreach to research communities by attending hackathons; partnering with universities and local and state environmental groups and agencies; and promoting outside APIs and datasets.
Before his current role, Yuen was the project manager for the Office of Pesticide Programs' Chemical Search Web Utility, an application that opened the EPA's pesticide data to the public.
One of his latest challenges is serving as leader of the EPA's Mobile Access Review Committee, where he spearheads efforts to revamp mobile application development strategies for the entire agency. He is also involved in the redesign of the EPA's Envirofacts data warehouse, where his goals include creating an advanced query builder interface, a data explorer tool and an API management platform so that developers and scientists can more easily access and download the warehouse's APIs.
"I enjoy the intersection between technology and environmental science," Yuen said, "and I think that's really necessary to understand why we're doing some of the IT projects we're doing."
Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.