News Release

UC San Diego Bioengineering and IEM Programmer Named 2013 Presidential Innovation Fellow

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Justin Grevich

San Diego, CA, September 04, 2013 -- Justin Grevich, a former web developer and systems administrator in the department of bioengineering and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM) at UC San Diego, has been named a 2013 Presidential Innovation Fellow. He will be working on the MyUSA project at the General Services Administration.

“I am specifically tasked with the goal of eradicating paper forms and providing a citizen centric experience for government interaction with the MyUSA platform,” Justin wrote in an email.

According to Grevich’s bio on the White House website, “his interest in information systems started with extended bulletin board systems where he gained sponsorship from US Robotics (now 3Com) while in middle school.

At UC San Diego, he led a team that developed and open-sourced REUManager, an online application system that streamlines the application process for the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates program. He is a vocal proponent of open-source software and actively creates new projects as well as contributing to existing ones.”

“The fellowship is an incredible honor and a great chance to start taking action to some of my complaints about our government,” said Grevich in an email. “I would like to thank UC San Diego and the staff system that helped me build the skill set I use day-to-day in this fellowship.”

Grevich gave a special thanks to Gabrielle Lawrence, former Director of IT Security at UC San Diego, for being an inspiration and mentor through the campus mentorship program.

The most beneficial aspect of working in the bioengineering department at the Jacobs School of Engineering, and at the IEM, was the ability to freely choose the best tools for the job, Grevich explained.

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Justin Grevich and his wife Sri Grevich, a graduate from UC San Diego's medical school.

Allowing me to “play” with the Ruby on Rails framework and build sites that leverage technologies that made many of my sites into APIs or “platforms” is something that caught the eye of the people behind this fellowship, Grevich wrote.

For most Rails applications, Grevich was able to provide two apps in one. “One traditional browser facing web app that most of us are used to, and an API that allows other campus services (or his other web applications) to easily share data in a standardized way. For instance, any campus web group that wants to grab abstract or event data from the 2013 Bioengineering conference ( can simply make a JSON request to the server and get all the data in a standardized (JSON) and machine readable format.”

Through the fellowship program, Grevich and the MyUSA team have worked with Tim O'Reilly who’s talk, “Government as a Platform”, helped to inspire them to build MyUSA as a platform for other government agencies, businesses, and citizens.

“We shouldn’t dictate how the data looks and what to do with it, we should provide the basic data in a machine readable format and allow others to build applications on top of it.  Similarly, government shouldn't provide the web site for weather using its satellite data, it should provide the raw data so others can develop services using that data; similarly this is done with GPS and all the applications that stem from those systems,” Grevich wrote.

Media Contacts

Daniel Kane
Jacobs School of Engineering