Kristen Nixon

Tech and Changemaking Resources: Careers for Social Impact

Based on my experience with engineering in the first three years of my undergrad, I assumed that there was not much overlap between social impact and engineering and planned to be done with engineering as soon as I finished my undergrad. Luckily, I was wrong! Here is a small sample of companies finding ways to harness the power of STEM to make the world a better place. For recent grads, students planning their career paths, and STEM professionals looking to bring more purpose into their work, there are options for a highly impactful career in tech! The purpose economy is steadily growing, and we are the change we’ve been waiting for.

  • Livox:  intelligent alternative communication software for people living with disabilities.
  • Lanzatech is turning our global carbon crisis into a feedstock opportunity. By recycling carbon from industrial off-gases, LanzaTech can reduce emissions and make new products for a circular carbon economy.
  • The Excess Materials Exchange is a digital facilitated marketplace where your company can exchange any excess materials and products. We function like a dating site: We actively match supply and demand and materials with their highest-value reuse opportunity.
  • Data for Black Lives:  Data for Black Lives is a group of activists, organizers, and mathematicians committed to the mission of using data science to create concrete and measurable change in the lives of Black people.
  • Learn Education:  Learn Education’s mission is to create innovative learning platforms by leveraging technology to provide quality education. Our platform helps teachers to equip students with the knowledge, skills and abilities to become self-learners and responsible critical thinkers.
  • Democracy Works:  a team of software developers, public policy wonks, and civic organizers building the tools needed to upgrade the infrastructure of our democracy.
  • BanQu:  As the world’s first and only non-cryptocurrency blockchain platform—we help lift people out of extreme poverty by connecting them to the global supply chains they participate in and the brands, organizations, and governments that power them.
  • Science Feedback is a worldwide network of scientists sorting fact from fiction in science based media coverage. Our goal is to help readers know which news to trust.
  • SciCo‘s aim is to communicate scientific issues to the public via innovative and entertaining means
  • Doing Global Science: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in the Global Research Enterprise
  • Soscience:  We are creating the conditions for the world of Science, Innovation and Technology and the world of social and environmental impact to intersect and collaborate. We provide you with the guidance, connections and tools you need to spearhead new technologies to solve social and environmental issues.
  • Science Practice is a design and research company in London. They collaborate with scientists to help put their research into practice.
  • Good Tech Lab is a research and innovation firm focused on the moonshots of the 21st century — reversing climate change while ensuring people and nature thrive.
    • The Frontiers of Impact Tech:  We explored the frontiers of technology and system entrepreneurship that can help reverse climate change while ensuring people and nature thrive — the ultimate moonshot of the 21st century.
  • Data & Society:  an independent nonprofit research institute that advances public understanding of the social implications of data-centric technologies and automation.
  • Institute for Computational Sustainability:  Computer scientists can — and should — play a key role in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the way we manage and allocate our natural resources, while enriching and transforming Computer Science.

Other Career Opportunities/Resources


Is there something you would like to add to the list? Email Beeta Ansari, Ashoka U COO, at

Kristen Nixon is a rising senior at Johns Hopkins University where she is studying engineering. She served as an Ashoka U summer intern from June – August 2019. Read more about her experiences in this blog