Meet the Team: Claire DeSoi

Today we're meeting the face behind MEDSL's outreach.

Our staff profile today turns the spotlight on another core member behind the curtains: communications director Claire DeSoi.

As our designated comms and outreach person, Claire's somewhere behind most of our blog posts, reports, and social media. Here she is to share a little bit more about what that's like and how she got into the elections world:

How long have you been at the Lab? What do you do?

I joined the lab in March, 2018 — just as our website was about to launch! I take care of all of the communications and outreach for the Lab, from this blog and our social media to designing reports, fielding emails, and coordinating events. Essentially, my job is to make sure other people know what we're up to, and what we offer to researchers, election officials, or anyone else interested in election administration.

What were you working on before you joined MEDSL?

Before I landed at MEDSL, I was actually working in the world of international elections. My work there involved communications, but I was primarily focused on supporting women's leadership & participation, and working with election observers to detect and mitigate violence against women in elections (and politics more broadly).

How did you become interested in elections?

I've been interested in how the political sausage gets made for a long time (for reference: one of my childhood Halloween costumes was "Presidential Candidate"). I took an early professional detour into maternal health and health education — but when I had the chance to take my passion back into the elections world, I jumped for it.

What's your favorite fun fact?

I'm a birder, so I have to go with a fun bird fact. The bearded vulture is a really interesting creature for a number of reasons, including a few things that no other animal does: its diet is primarily bone (which is fully indigestible for almost anyone else), and it's the only animal that purposely dyes its feathers (with red soil). No word on whether that red soil works as well on hair as it does on feathers.

What MEDSL project are you most excited about?

I wrote this question and I still resent having to answer it; how do I pick just one? But if I must...

Right now, I'm looking forward to our release of the 2020 Elections Performance Index. Our team has been working really hard on it, and I'm excited for other folks to see the changes we've made and explore the data!

Claire DeSoi is the communications director for the MIT Election Data + Science Lab.

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