U.S. CITIZEN AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES
DIGITAL SERVICES DIVISION
The Digital Services Division is responsible for all aspects of the USCIS website, from providing information to creating self-help tools that allow applicants to manage their online account and online filing. The public contacts USCIS to find out how to get a Green Card, become a U.S. citizen, apply for benefits, and find humanitarian relief. The DSD makes all this possible online. Courtney Winship leads this division. USCIS’ website is the busiest within DHS by far and is regularly one of the top 20 across the federal government, and the Case Status Online page is one of the busiest individual pages in the government. Ms. Winship regularly emphasizes to her team the importance of the applicant experience, backing that up with budget choices, program prioritization and advocacy to agency leadership.
Ms. Winship carries out the agency’s extensive human-centered design efforts, researching applicant needs throughout the development of new tools. Development starts with listening to what potential users need and want, paying special attention to what bothers them or would make them reluctant to use an online tool. In addition to conducting focus groups and online surveys, research teams visit field office waiting rooms to invite applicants to voluntarily answer questions. Results play directly into the first iterations of a new tool. Research continues throughout the development cycle and post-launch, constantly enhancing systems to reflect real-world perspectives.
Ms. Winship also reflects this dedication in her collaboration across the agency, particularly with the USCIS Office of Information Technology. She serves as the advocate for the applicants’ experience, meeting their needs while also supporting the agency’s mission. While less directly visible, Ms. Winship also uses her other contacts across the agency to connect people, bringing diverse perspectives together to take action. Every organization needs people who are willing to step out of their defined lane and nudge things forward, and Ms. Winship is one of the best.
SERVICE TO THE CITIZEN AWARD WINNER
LEAD OF THE DIGITAL SERVICES DIVISION
OFFICE OF CITIZENSHIP & APPLICANT INFORMATION SERVICES
Ms. Winship’s most direct impact is the 700,000 forms that people filed online in 2019 instead of on paper, greatly reducing days lost to mail delivery and assuring people that their forms have arrived securely. In addition, more than 1.8 million people created online accounts in 2019 to submit forms and manage their cases, and more than 300,000 people check their case status online daily.
In 2019, Ms. Winship was a primary driver of a new effort to modernize our system for changing addresses, which will provide the same online experience as people expect from credit card companies and online shopping. Ms. Winship’s leadership also resulted in four new forms going online, a more unified website experience, and new services such as allowing asylum applicants to get case updates online. Finally, under Ms. Winship, USCIS used email and texts to invite tens of thousands of Green Card holders to file online, saving them stress and time. Ms. Winship’s dedication to serving the public is recognized often in DHS and USCIS through awards granted to efforts under her leadership.
Ms. Winship also shares her knowledge and commitment to citizen service freely with the federal IT community, speaking at events and meeting with individual agencies to help them take the same approach.