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.

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.

MarisaJurczyk's Comments

How should we run the EA Forum Prize?

I'll offer a data point: I'm not particularly motivated to post on the Forum by a monetary prize. It hasn't led me to post on the Forum more than I ordinarily would. I am somewhat interested in social rewards, but the karma feature seems to do that better than the Forum Prize.

Also, as someone who doesn't read every single post on the Forum, I also find the Prize useful for highlighting what content is actually worth reading, but again, I think highlighting posts based on karma instead (with or without a monetary prize) would work just as well.

If the Forum Prize does continue, I do think there should be separate categories for professional researchers and "amateurs."

Advice for getting the most out of one-on-ones

I've found a couple of other useful resources since first posting this:

What are the leading critiques of "longtermism" and related concepts

Not academic or outside of EA, but this Forum comment and this Facebook post may be good starting points if you haven't seen them already.

Finding an egg cell donor in the EA community

I have seen a few EAs discuss selling eggs as a way of earning-to-give. If you're not willing to compensate at market rates, getting a donation may be a bit more difficult, but I don't expect it to be impossible.

If I were to look for an egg cell donor, I would probably make some sort of a post or Google Doc outlining exactly the type of person you're looking for, what you'd expect from them, and what you're willing to compensate. Then sharing it on some EA platforms - I imagine you could generate some leads from Bountied Rationality, LessWrong, some EA Facebook groups (e.g. EA Hangout), maybe local EA groups, and perhaps the Forum.

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Developing my inner self vs. doing external actions

I don't have much to add aside from what the other two responses have said except that I think it's possible to have opportunities that both develop the inner self and benefit others. I probably wouldn't endorse spending all your time on these activities, but looking out for them and prioritizing them seems like a good decision to me.

I don't think there's a One Right Answer or a one-size-fits-all approach, but I do think that using the comparative advantage framework may be helpful here.

What are some historical examples of people and organizations who've influenced people to do more good?

You're probably right - mostly wondering if someone had more rigorous evidence on this (or ideas on how to get it) or examples beyond the mainstream ones.

Advice for getting the most out of one-on-ones

First: before you schedule any one-on-ones at EAG (or wherever you are), think about what you want to get out of them/the conference in general. This post includes some sample goals to consider. What your goals are will pretty much dictate what one-on-ones will be most valuable for you.

I'm coming at this as someone whose primary goal for EAGs has generally been to clarify my career plans, and secondary goal has been to make more EA friends, so my advice will likely be skewed towards that.

Who should I meet with?

I usually find myself scheduling three types of one-on-ones

1. People who have a clear connection with my interests or projects (~70%)

2. Peers who share similar personal interests, hobbies, etc. (~20%)

3. People working in areas I don't know much about but would like to learn more about and could plausibly see as changing my mind about a particular cause area / career option / etc. (~10%)

You can also get more people to schedule one-on-ones with you by filling out your conference app profile in full and including a couple things you're interested in talking with people about. Also, if you're using the Grip app, indicate "Interested" on other attendees' profiles. The more you do this, the more meeting requests you'll likely get!

What's the best way to score a meeting with someone I want to talk to? (especially if I don't have any immediately useful skills or knowledge to share)

First, speaking from experience, I find that EAs are more likely than average to hold a meeting with you even if you don't have anything tangible to offer them. When you think about it, by helping you have more of an impact, they're also increasing they're own impact, which is motivating for most EAs. Don't let not having anything to offer immediately keep you from reaching out to someone you think you could have a valuable conversation with!

That said, when you ask someone to meet, it helps if you add a sentence or two about what you'd like to talk about / why you think they'd be useful to talk to. This helps them prepare for the call better and (from anecdotal evidence) makes you more likely to get a response since they know exactly how the call will be useful for you/them.

What if someone I really want to talk to doesn't respond? Should I follow up?

IMO, it depends, and it helps if you can read some non-obvious social cues here (or can get advice from someone who can).

Some things that have worked for me and others:

  • Offering to meet (perhaps virtually) later in the week / the following week, in case the person has a full schedule during the conference weekend
  • Meeting during their office hours (another thing first-timers are sometimes intimidated by but is actually really useful!)

What do I say? What sorts of questions should I ask?

This varies quite a bit based on what you want to know. Whatever that is, you'll want to spend some time thinking about this before.

If you're totally new to one-on-ones, a quick Google search on sample informational interview questions will help get you started.

If you're the type of person who gets anxious about one-on-ones, I find it helpful to run through the conversation in my head mentally ahead of time, jotting down points I want to talk about / questions I want to ask. My conversations don't usually follow the script in actuality, but it soothes my nerves a bit to have something to fall back on in case the conversation lulls.

Also helps to have a few pocket small-talk questions handy, particularly EA-specific ones. Things like "how did you get involved in EA?" and "what cause areas are you most excited about?"

What should I do after the conference? Should I follow up? How often/in what way?

EAG is a bit more informal than most conferences, so I find that the rules are a little more relaxed. It's pretty typical to friend EAs on Facebook after the conference to keep in touch. It's also nice to send a quick thank you email/message after the conference, especially to people more senior than you, and let them know down the line how you've used their advice.

One last thing: If one-on-ones are nerve-wracking for you, you're not alone! As someone who had my first in-person interactions at EAG a year ago, I wasn't sure what to expect meeting with EAs for the first time, but I've found EAs to be incredibly helpful and friendly. And, if for whatever reason, if you find your experience to be anything less than that, CEA has an awesome community health team available to help you out. :)

Utilizing global attention during crises for EA causes

I've been thinking about this also so I'm glad to see this post!

Anecdote: I've been talking to friends and family about COVID-19 since late January/February, and started my first attempts at social distancing towards the beginning of March. In these first few days, a lot of my (non-EA) friends seemed to think this response was an overreaction. Later on, a lot of them came around to say, "wow, you were right," which I've tried to use to point some more credibility towards EA.

Some not-fully-formed ideas I have about this:

  • I think there's an opportunity, once this begins to resolve, to hopefully get some media attention and say something along the lines of "there's a community of people who were thinking about this before it happened, and who are thinking of other possible threats. Here's how you can help."
  • I also think that we might see an influx of young not-currently-EAs interested in helping address future pandemics, but I suspect a lot of them will be drawn to becoming doctors and nurses. So perhaps some publicity for these careers and/or a talent pipeline for biosecurity careers might be useful.
What are some 1:1 meetings you'd like to arrange, and how can people find you?

Who are you?

I'm Marisa :) I'm a recent grad currently working in operations at Rethink Charity and volunteering with social research at ALLFED.

What are some things people can talk to you about? (e.g. your areas of experience/expertise)

  • I talk to a lot of people about EA ops and getting a job at an EA org, but I generally see myself as a starting point for these conversations and will usually try to connect you with someone else who works more closely in the area you're interested in or has more experience.
  • My coursework and experience with nonprofit boards and nonprofit communications
  • Value drift in EA
  • Social science research techniques
  • My (awesome) recent experience at CFAR
  • Also love talking to other college students / recent grads, particularly those making big career decisions!

What are things you'd like to talk to other people about? (e.g. things you want to learn)

  • Potentially impactful research topics in moral psychology, especially those that support moral and philanthropic education.
  • US and international public policy - particularly what kinds of roles are impactful and what determines personal fit for those roles.
  • Other applications for the social sciences in EA that I haven't considered yet
  • Advice on starting a local or uni group from scratch

How can people get in touch with you?

Email me at marisajurczyk[at]gmail[dot]com or schedule a time on Calendly!

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