Hey, world! My name is Tristan Gutbezahl, and I am incredibly excited to start working with NDI’s DemTech team as a Temporary Project Assistant.
Technology has always fascinated me, especially as it increasingly applies to the promotion of democracy and human rights. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, I had the opportunity to conduct a research project evaluating the cyber resilience of my home state’s (Oregon!) electoral system. While Oregon’s vote-by-mail system prevented most cyber threats, I was still surprised by vulnerabilities at the central level, particularly regarding phishing. This project motivated me to pursue my interest in cybersecurity, with a focus on elections.
Prior to working for NDI, I interned with the State Department’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs. Here, I was able to conduct research on cybersecurity-related legislation and sit in on cyber policy meetings between diplomats and members of Congress. In addition to domestic legislation, my internship with the United Nations tasked me with writing policy reports on international cyber developments, such as multilateral digital agreements and think tank conferences. It was from these experiences that I learned safeguarding democracy in digital spaces requires effective, meaningful communication between governmental and private stakeholders, a skill that I would like to hone during my time with NDI.
In my free time, I enjoy reading, hiking, working out, and spending time with family and friends.