MarisaJurczyk

I'm an Operations Officer at Rethink Charity, where, in addition to day-to-day operations, I help with volunteer management, maintaining RC Forward's website, and supporting the EA Giving Tuesday project. I'm also a volunteer at ALLFED, where I help with their social research, and a co-organizer for the new EA Virtual Meetup group.

I recently completed a BA in Sociology and studied value drift in the EA movement for my senior thesis. I also previously volunteered for Rethink Charity's Students for High-Impact Charity project as a Student Leader Coordinator.

I'm also excited about Improving Institutional Decision-Making, integrating social science research into EA, influencing longtermist policies, and using data to power high-impact nonprofits.

Comments

List of EA-related organisations

This is a really helpful list! I noticed a couple of organizations that I consider EA aligned that should perhaps be on the list:

Things I Learned at the EA Student Summit

Love this post and would love to see more like it on the forum! Congrats on a successful EA Student Summit.

I especially want to emphasize this:

there are so many EAs who would genuinely like to talk to you.

In my experience, EAs are almost always super willing to provide advice to others within the EA movement, often because they're nice people, but also because they get to help you have an impact, which helps them have an impact, so everybody wins!

As a single data point, nothing makes my day more than getting emails from random EAs. :)

What is a book that genuinely changed your life for the better?

I think I've mentioned a few times on the Forum that Strangers Drowning and Doing Good Better have probably been the most influential parts of my EA journey, and I probably wouldn't have been involved in EA without them. Strangers Drowning seemed like a good priming for EA, while Doing Good Better was a pretty compelling intro.

Others, in no particular order:

Technology Non-Profits I could volunteer for?

Not an existing nonprofit, but you might also be interested in creating one of the Software Platforms in this post

When setting up a charity, should you employ a lawyer?

Great post! I know a little bit about the US side of things from both watching orgs I've worked with go through the process, and working at a start-up that helped charities get 501(c)(3) status, so I can offer some data points from that perspective.

  • The IRS estimates that the DIY method would take 100+ hours. It's also worth considering that this method is most likely to lead to mistakes, which can lead to having to re-submit the application and delays in processing time.
  • US charity lawyers cost around the same, although there are companies that'll do this for you at a cheaper rate. Harbor Compliance is the most popular I've seen, and most orgs I know who've used this service pay around $3k. There are also smaller companies that will do this for even less (the company I worked for offered it for ~$750 at the time, but lots of prospects told us they'd found even cheaper options), but these companies often have fewer resources and/or lower success rates.

Worth noting that, if you don't want to deal with the 501(c)(3) process off the bat, fiscal sponsorship is also a good option. (Shameless plug, Rethink Charity is offering this service for EA projects and organizations.)

Yale EA Virtual Fellowship Retrospective - Summer 2020

Great post! I think you're one of the first uni groups I've seen who's particularly selective with their fellowship - I wouldn't have initially agreed with that strategy, but you give convincing reasons for doing so and it sounds like it paid off. :) Congrats on a successful fellowship round!

Some thoughts on EA outreach to high schoolers
I think one of the best things about hearing about EA pre-college is it would let you set up your college plan (e.g., major, internships) in an EA-directed way

To me, this seems like the best case for engaging with high schoolers over college students. I seem to meet a lot of EAs who study something that doesn't correlate well with most high-impact careers and find themselves wishing they'd heard about EA sooner so they could have studied something more practical.

The major questions I have with this are 1) can you actually convince high schoolers to change their career plans, and 2) if so, will they actually apply EA ideas in a way that increases their impact? (or as opposed to just blindly following 80k recommendations and doing something they don't like or aren't good at.) I guess both are also risks associated with trying to get anyone to make an EA-related career change, but high schoolers seem more at risk to me, particularly with #2 since I think they have less self-awareness regarding their skills and interests.

Are there any other pro athlete aspiring EAs?

Matthew Dellavedova is on Momentum's board, and they're an EA-aligned org, so I suspect he might be EA-sympathetic (or at the very least familiar with it).

The community's conception of value drifting is sometimes too narrow

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I largely agree with you. I also think studying "pure" value drift (as opposed to "symptoms" of value drift, which is what a lot of the research in this area focuses on, including, to some extent, my own) comes with a few challenges. (Epistemic status: Pretty uncertain and writing this in haste. Feel free to tell me why I'm wrong.)

  • EA isn't (supposed to be) dogmatic, and hence doesn't have clearly defined values. We're "effective" and we're "altruistic," and those are more or less the only requirements to being EA. But what is altruism? Is it altruistic to invest in yourself so you can have more of an impact later on in life? Effectiveness, on the surface, seems more objective, since it mostly means relying on high-quality evidence and reasoning. But evidence and reason can get messy and biased, which can make defining effectiveness more difficult. For example, even if valuing effectiveness leads you to choose to believe in interventions that have the most robust evidence, it's possible that that robust evidence might come from p-hacking, publication bias, or studies with an over-representation of middle-class people from high-income countries. At some point effectiveness (from the EA point of view) also hinges on a valuing certainty vs. risk-taking, and probably a number of other sub-values as well.
  • Measuring raw values relies primarily on self-reporting, which is a notoriously unreliable social science method. People often say they value one thing and then act in a contradictory manner. Sometimes it's a signaling thing, but sometimes we just don't really understand ourselves that well. Classic example: a young college student says they don't care much about financial stability, until they actually enter the workforce, get a not-super-well-paid job, and realize that maybe they actually do care. I think this is a big reason why people have chosen to focus on behavior and community involvement. It's the closest thing to objective data we can get.

This isn't an argument against what you've written. I still think a lot of people err on assigning the label "value drift" to things like leaving the EA community that could be caused by a number of different scenarios in which it actually perfectly reflects your values to do that thing. I guess I don't know what the solution is here, but I do think it's worth digging into further.

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