Ben Sibelman

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Hi, I'm Ben Sibelman, an activist, science-fiction writer, and student in the Human-Centered Design and Engineering Master's program at the University of Washington. This is me with one of my most favorite posters (despite its slight astronomical inaccuracies), which nicely sums up my desire for large-scale, long-term perspective, and one of my favorite T-shirts, which represents my belief in the power of grassroots movements and communities to change the world. (To hear and read Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot speech shown illegibly in the photo, go here.)


Currently, I'm working on a science fiction novel called Flight in a Cage and coauthoring an online political superhero literary serial, Trump in Prison or Auditioning Evil, that I think of as an art-based form of pro-democracy activism. I've also written a number of short stories and shared them at the annual SolSeed Spring Equinox Storytelling and Sushi Feasts.

My primary purpose at UW is to learn how to create tools that will help people live their values and make a difference in the world. Two of the projects I've done along those lines are a redesign of the Streaks self-motivation app and a video prototype of an online tool for activists. I've also worked as a design intern at Ocean Rescue Alliance, where I created visualizations of artificial reefs and worked on transitioning their website to Wordpress.

Before starting at UW, I worked as a software engineer for over a decade, starting with two years at the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), which is a bit of a misnomer these days: they sell mapmaking and geographic analysis software to corporations, governments, and other organizations. Some of this software is used for ecology and conservation work, but I ended up on the team that makes nautical charting software. But ESRI's CEO, Jack Dangermond, is a fervent environmentalist. As he is fond of saying, the geographic perspective is a global one, ideal for managing and sustaining the planet we call home. And that's my perspective, too: I think best on the general, large-scale, long-term level.

My goals are very ambitious: I'm hoping to help shape the SolSeed Movement into what Harvey Mudd Professor Paul Steinberg calls a Thousand-Year Institution, one that could help maintain some of the core principles needed for a truly sustainable civilization.

If you're interested in hiring me for a graphic or UX design project, check out my online portfolio!

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