Daniel Zhao

Daniel Zhao

I’m a junior at Yale studying data science and global affairs. I'm passionate about tech policy, modernizing government, smart cities, and the future of mobility.

I'm a technologist at heart, but I care immensely about how policies impact real people. I want to help cities and governments leverage innovation to more efficiently deliver services, make more informed policy decisions, and equitably improve the quality of life for all members of society.

What I've done

Check out my Work page to explore what I've worked on for internships, during classes, and in my own spare time. For a more detailed look at my work experience, check out my LinkedIn.

A little about how I think

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a quantitative, numbers-driven person. I made spreadsheets for things that didn’t need spreadsheets, and when it came time to send my wishlist to Santa, I’d always rank what I wanted based on a combination of ratings that I had created. Then, in high school, I realized that there’s a lot more to how the world works than just code and formulas. That's when I took up an interest in politics and public policy, particularly around the 2016 elections. Interning at Louisville's Offic of Civic Innovation and then participating in the Civic Digital Fellowship helped me to find the burgeoning interof tech policy and digital governance, and that’s the path I now hope to pursue.

I always carry my camera around, because I never know when a good moment will strike; my photos have appeared in the New York Times and in The Atlantic. The reason I always stay up so late is because I’m too deep in the Wikipedia rabbit-hole, looking at public transit systems or airports; my go-to fun fact is that I can draw the entire New York City subway map by heart.

Skills and coursework

Selected coursework

Selected skills

A few of my favorite things


  • New York Times
  • Yale Daily News
  • FiveThirtyEight
  • The Verge
  • CityLab


  • Inception
  • Boyhood
  • Ex Machina
  • The Martian
  • The Blind Side


  • Notion
  • iA Writer
  • Transit
  • Instapaper
  • Day One


  • Sparkling water
  • Starbucks
  • Pineapple on pizza
  • Beijing duck
  • Unlimited sushi


  • Strange Stones: Dispatches from East and West by Peter Hessler
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — But Some Don't by Nate Silver
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance
  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow



This site is coded by hand with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and lots of love. It's hosted for free on GitHub Pages, which means you can fork the GitHub repo to make your own personal site!

Check out Ronak Shah's guide to setting up your own website on GitHub Pages.


I fell in love with the IBM Plex font family ever since I first came across it. I now use Plex Sans across my website and resume, and Plex Serif and Plex Mono variants where appropriate. On my website, the fonts are served via Google Web Fonts.

Primary accent colors are #0083ff and #ff5470.


I've been using my trusty Canon Rebel T5i for over six years now. I started with the kit lens, but I now mostly use the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art. On some occasions I'll fall back to the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8.

I edit my photos with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC — I'll switch to the cloud version when it reaches feature parity and once storage gets cheaper.


I'm an all-Windows guy: my primary workhorse is the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, and I recently picked up a cheap Microsoft Surface Go to work on-the-go.

I organize nearly my entire digital life in Notion. I describe it as a mix of Simplenote, Evernote, and Trello, and I'm a huge fan. Use my referral link for two free months of Notion Premium!