Interview with Drew Pizzolato, NTEN’s Digital Inclusion Campaign Manager

Drew Pizzolato is our newest team member. As NTEN’s Digital Inclusion Campaign Manager, Drew will be organizing and supporting a network of individuals and organizations across the US and beyond, focused on developing or expanding digital inclusion programs. Learn about Drew’s inspiration for working in digital inclusion and more!

1Drew with apples. Describe yourself in three words.

Collaborative, inquisitive, thoughtful.

2. How did you first become involved with the NTEN Community?

I became interested in NTEN’s work a year and a half ago when I first learned there were plans to launch some kind of digital inclusion project. As I learned more about the history and work of NTEN, I started making a lot of connections with this new project and became excited about the impact NTEN was going to have in this area. I’ve been participating and checking out NTEN events ever since. This year will be the first year I’ve been able to attend NTC. I’m looking forward to meeting more people in the Community and seeing what people are excited about right now. Please come say “Hi” when you see me there!

3. What are some of the lessons you learned from your work at Portland State University?

I was lucky to work on several challenging projects with exceptional, hard working people at PSU, so I learned a ton. The Literacy, Language and Technology Research group created and continues to develop a learning management system; I became a part of the team that managed the software. I enjoyed talking features and development with engineers and the technology director, and I learned a lot about that process. I also learned a good bit about supporting and training our partners and licensees.

The lessons that will resonate most for me are rooted in the collaboration and direct service projects. I learned that the rich life experiences adult learners bring to programs enhance the learning and the learning environment overall. They also have unique needs in terms of program structure and support. When we collaborate to overcome the challenges and make the most of what learners bring to the table, the pay-off is huge.

4. What are you most excited about as you transition into your new role on staff?

There is so much going on at NTEN that I’m excited about, but the Digital Inclusion Fellowship program is dear to me. I am so excited to join this team! I’ve been following the work that the current Fellows have been doing, and I am impressed with what they’ve accomplished. It’s clear that the Fellows are going to have a lasting and widespread impact. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join in supporting this extraordinary program.

5. Why do you care about digital inclusion?

I care about digital inclusion because I care about opportunities and access in education, in literacy, in health care, in the workforce, in civic engagement, and in almost every other area you can think about that affects the quality of all of our lives. Being able to use technology to navigate and engage in all of these venues is critical. For a variety of reasons, not everyone gets the same opportunities to learn. I think more and more people, particularly those who serve their communities, are recognizing this need. We must create more opportunities to bring people who can benefit from using technology online.

6. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation. How great would that be? I would be careful not to always use it, of course.

7. Who would you want to create the soundtrack of the movie about your life?

Vince Gauraldi. He did wonders for Charlie Brown.

His email address is Feel free and encouraged to drop him a note of welcome!

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