Welcome to my personal website! I’m currently in the middle of a redesign and relaunch, so some things might be missing or look out of place. All my old articles can be found in the archive and under section headers for the time being. For my older work and links to my writing pre-Microsoft (1998-2009), please refer to the tabs at the top of the page. Thank you for your patience!
BIOGRAPHY OF DR. MARK D. DRAPEAU
Connect with him on LinkedIn, here.
Education years (1993-2003) – Rochester, NY and Irvine, CA
During college and graduate school, Dr. Drapeau’s scientific interests were primarily in two areas: the evolution of animal behavior differentiation between species, and the genetic control of such behaviors during animal development.
While earning bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Rochester and the University of California – Irvine, respectively, Drapeau probed large, complex questions through the eyes of a behaviorist. His undergraduate research with Prof. Jack Werren involved understanding the behavioral cues underlying species recognition during the elaborate courtship behaviors that animals, specifically, Nasonia species of parasitoid wasps, perform. That work led to an interest in speciation and more generally the evolution and ecology of behavior.
Drapeau’s graduate work was more diverse. Initially he studied the evolution of aging, publishing numerous papers with Profs. Lawrence Mueller and Michael Rose. His later work, and eventually his doctoral dissertation with Prof. Anthony Long, primarily involved the neurogenetics of animal instincts; specifically he studied the development and evolution of Drosophila melanogaster courtship behavior and especially the roles of the yellow and fruitless genes. His laboratory research resulted in many peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.
Academic and government years (2003-2009) - New York, NY and Washington, DC
As a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at New York University, Drapeau adapted cutting-edge techniques in genomics and cell biology to probe the mysteries of the brain. Specifically, he sought to better understand the neural circuits underlying the sleep-wake cycles of animals, and associated cyclic or sleep-related behaviors. Combining genomic techniques with neuro-genetic manipulations and controlled behavior studies, he was able to paint a better picture of the genes and proteins underlying these critical processes than ever before. This research is pending publication in a number of peer-reviewed scientific journals. During his time at New York University, Drapeau was also asked to participate in the International Honeybee Genome Consortium, where he studied and published research about a family of proteins likely to underlie the complex social behavior that bees exhibit in their hive colonies.
Following his passion to apply his technical knowledge and rigid thought process to larger societal issues, Drapeau accepted a prestigious fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and moved to Washington, DC. While researching the interface between science and technology and strategic defense policy at the U.S. Department of Defense, he worked on issues ranging from the applications of biological metaphors to counterinsurgency warfare, to the problem of how to operate military forces in the middle of a pandemic influenza incident. The poster he designed on the latter topic is especially pertinent during the current H1N1 flu spread, and it can be found hanging in the offices of military bases, embassies, and large companies around the world.
Among his publications through the Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP), a think tank within the National Defense University that directly reports to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Drapeau co-authored a chapter about future ‘trends and shocks’ in the life sciences for the book Fighting Chance: Global Trends and Shocks in the National Security Environment. He is also the co-editor of a volume about the diverse applications of the natural sciences to national security, Bio-inspired Innovation and National Security. Additionally, he published pieces on biological science and national security for a more general audience in the New York Times, the Washington Times, and numerous other outlets.
Returning to his scientific roots in animal behavior, Drapeau turned his interests at CTNSP to the human behavioral dynamics underlying social networking as it applies to the government, and specifically the national security and intelligence communities. Leveraging extensive contacts in the science and technology community outside Washington, DC and in the government and business sectors in Washington, he quickly became a thought leader on the many ways in which social software was affecting how the government operates – something now affectionally called Government 2.0 – on the way, coining the term “goverati” to describe tech-savvy people passionate about more transparent, collaborative, and participatory government. His co-authored research paper Social Software and National Security: An Initial Net Assessment continues to be influential throughout government as agencies adopt the Obama Administration’s initiatives in open government.
In 2009, Drapeau served as Adjunct Faculty in the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where he offered an elective class about sustainable journalism in a digital age.
Private sector (2010-present) – Washington, DC
Dr. Drapeau’s research into social media and audience engagement for the government led to a wider interest in these topics. Joining in January 2010 as the first Director of Innovative Engagement for Microsoft’s public sector business, he designs creative ways to engage audiences. Specifically, he is interested in telling stories about Microsoft’s involvement in the public sector and in civic innovation which are little known, and targeting those stories to niche audiences who care about them in order to build brand engagement and generally spread knowledge. In his first two years he has launched a number of initiatives for Microsoft. In one, he branded and launched their new public sector innovation team as the Microsoft Office of Civic Innovation, and is building the team’s marketing and engagement plan.
In June 2011, he launched Publicyte, Microsoft’s digital magazine about all aspects of science, technology, and innovation in the public and civic sectors. He currently serves as its editor-in-chief and publisher, responsible for all aspects of content and design. Dr. Drapeau also conceived of and launched Microsoft’s Geek 2 Chic events (three so far, done in partnership with Bloomingdale’s), which transform tech leaders into models for one night to raise funds for causes related to the public and civic sectors. Between events he evangelizes the brand and runs social media and publicity around the photos from the events. The last event in Washington, DC was featured internationally on BBC News, in the Style section of the Washington Post, and in many other outlets.
Most recently, in November 2011 he beta-launched the National Piggy Bank, built in partnership with Synteractive, a digital platform where a community of businesspeople, policy makers, and citizens can engage and collaborate on technological issues related to innovation in the public and civic sectors. The beta launch Summit was featured in a Fast Company article.
Community outreach and general interest
Drapeau’s broad interests and talents in the areas of creative storytelling and innovative social engagement have him involved in an interesting range of current activities in business, academia, and the technology and philanthropic communities.
In service to the technology community, Drapeau co-founded Government 2.0 Club, an international umbrella for organizing events at the intersection of social technologies and the government. To varying degrees, he has been involved in planning numerous events including Government 2.0 Camp (which was subsequently duplicated and improvised upon across the U.S. and in numerous foreign countries), the ACT/IAC Executive Leadership Conference, the Computers Freedom and Privacy Conference, and the Gov 2.0 Summit and Gov 2.0 Expo. Currently, he is on the planning committee for WhereCON 2012 for the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, a conference about a geographically-empowered public sector using maps and map-related tools in new ways.
In Washington, DC, Drapeau serves on the board of directors of the Legal Rights Institute, the board of advisors of Strategic Social, the advisory board of Fashion 4 Paws (Washington Humane Society), and on the host committees for a range of philanthropic events including Pink Rocks the Runway (breast cancer), the Jete Society (Washington ballet), and Walk this Way (domestic abuse). Through his aforementioned Geek 2 Chic events, he has raised thousands of dollars for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, an organization teaching underprivileged youth the skills they need to start their own businesses.
A broadly influential thought leader, Drapeau’s ideas carry weight in front of numerous audiences. He is a sought-after speaker for events whose topics encompass everything from local and state government operations, to science and technology advancements, to public relations and marketing innovation, to federal government, international relations, and military issues. He also has spoken at numerous private events, and additionally co-hosted or co-organized small events across the country.
Dr. Drapeau’s online writing about social technology and engagement design first reached popularity while he was a regular blogger for Mashable.com in 2008. He has been a regular feature writer for Washington Life magazine and a regular print columnist for Federal Computer Week, and he occasionally blogs at the popular sites O’Reilly Radar and BrianSolis.com and syndicates some of his writing at Huffington Post, Mediaite, GovLoop, and other venues. He also occasionally publishes op-eds, the most notable one being about cholera in the New York Times. A full list of his publications from 1998-2009 is available here.
Recently, Drapeau was named to a list of the most creative people working in the field of new media in Washington, DC. He has also been named to Washington Life magazine’s The Young and the Guest List of the most influential people under 40 living in the Washington, DC region for the last two years.