Berkman 2014 Summer Internship Program

[The application deadline for all students for Summer 2014 is Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. ET.]

Each summer the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University swings open the doors of our vibrant yellow house to welcome a group of talented and curious students as full-time interns - Berkterns! - who are passionate about the promise of the Internet. Finding connected and complementary research inquiries among their diverse backgrounds, students represent all levels of study, are being trained in disciplines across the board, and come from universities all over the world to tackle issues related to the core of Berkman’s research agenda, including law, technology, innovation, and knowledge; the relationships between Internet and civic activity; and the intersection of technology, learning, and development. Summer interns jump head first into the swirl of the Berkman universe, where they are deeply and substantively involved in our research projects and efforts.

Becoming invaluable contributors to the Center’s operation and success, interns conduct collaborative and independent research under the guidance of Berkman staff, fellows, and faculty. Specific roles, tasks, and experiences vary depending on Center needs and interns’ skills; a select list of expected opportunities for Summer 2014 is below. Typically, the workload of each intern is primarily based under one project or suite of projects, with encouragement and flexibility to get involved in additional projects across the Center.

In addition to joining research teams, summer interns participate in special lectures with Berkman Center faculty and fellows, engage each other through community experiences like weekly interns discussion hours, and attend Center-wide events and gatherings with members of the wider Berkman community. As well, each year interns establish new channels for fun and learning, such as organizing topical debates; establishing reading groups and book clubs; producing podcasts and videos; and hosting potlucks, cook-offs, and BBQs (fortunately for us, people share).

The word “awesome” has been thrown around to describe our internships, but don’t take our word for it.  Interns Royze Adolfo and Hilda Barasa documented the summer 2012 internship experience here.  Former intern Zack McCune had this to say: “it has been an enchanting summer working at the berkman center for internet & society.  everyday, i get to hang out with some of the most brilliant people on the planet. we talk, we write (emails), we blog, we laugh, we play rock band. and when things need to get done, we stay late hyped on free coffee and leftover food. it is a distinct honor to be considered a peer among such excellent people. and i am not just talking about the fellows, staff, and faculty, though they are all outstanding. no, i mean my peers as in my fellow interns, who are almost definitely the ripening next generation of changemakers.”

Time Commitment:
Summer internships are full time positions (35 hours/week) for 10 weeks.  The Summer 2014 program will run from June 2 through August 8.

Interns are paid $11.50 an hour, with the exception of a number of opportunities for law students who are expected to receive some version of summer public interest funding (more about these specific cases at the link for law students below).

Please be forewarned that payment may not be sufficient to cover living expenses in the Boston area. No other benefits are provided, and interns must make their own housing, insurance and transportation arrangements.

Commitment to Diversity:
The work and well-being of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University are strengthened profoundly by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and much more. We actively seek and welcome applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community, and persons with disabilities, as well as applications from researchers and practitioners from across the spectrum of disciplines and methods.


  • Internships are open to students enrolled across the full spectrum of disciplines.
  • Internships are open to students at different levels of academic study including those in bachelor’s, master’s, law, and Ph.D programs (some flexibility with high school students is possible).
  • Summer interns do not need to be U.S. residents or in school in the U.S.; indeed, we encourage international students to apply.
  • Summer interns do not need an existing affiliation with Harvard University.

To Apply:
We know what you’re thinking. Yes please. I want that. That sounds magical.  Did I mention that I have incredible dance moves?  Here’s what you should do…

Law students: please find application instructions and important additional information here.

Students from disciplines other than law: please find more information and application instructions here.

Required application materials for all include:

  • A cover letter describing your skills and interests. When developing your cover letter, you may wish to consider the following questions: What has led you to pursue research with the Berkman Center and the issues we study? What would you like to gain from working with us this summer, and what will you contribute? How do you think the experience might influence your future efforts? Please feel welcome to address these and/or other topics you would like to share with us. Cover letters should be addressed to Nancy.
  • A current resume.
  • The contact information for two references (professional or academic).

Expected Youth and Media Related Summer 2014 Opportunities:

Youth and Media

During a summer at Youth and Media, summer interns will contribute to various research, advocacy, and development initiatives around youth and technology. By understanding young people‘s interactions with digital media such as the Internet, cell phones, and video games, this highly collaborative project aims to gain detailed insights into youth practices and digital fluencies, harness the associated opportunities, address challenges, and ultimately shape the evolving regulatory and educational framework in a way that advances the public interest.  For 2014, we are looking for candidates with strong academic training and experience in qualitative research methods to assist with designing, conducting, and analyzing focus group and one-on-one interviews around topics of privacy, information quality and health information, youth use of the Internet in developing countries, and new ways of learning. We would also consider candidates with expertise in these areas to conduct background research and write literature reviews.  Additionally, we are looking for summer interns who can help us create interesting and innovative ways to help conceptualize some of the data we have collected for our current research project around youth and privacy. An example of a previous report (and accompanying infographic) on information quality can be found here. Applicant must be professional, proactive, and have strong graphic design skills; please be prepared to submit a sample of your portfolio.  More information about Youth and Media can be found at:  See what past Youth and Media interns said about their time at Berkman here.

Digital Problem-Solving Initiative

The Digital Problem-Solving Initiative (DPSI) is a University-wide, highly-collaborative project that begun as a pilot in Spring 2013 to offer Harvard students the opportunity to strengthen their digital competencies by learning and working in small interdisciplinary teams of faculty, staff members, and students from across the University on practicable use cases of digital problem solving. The DPSI pilot has prototyped an open and collaborative model in which students work with mentors at the University, engage with real use cases in a range of areas, generate tangible and useful outputs, and inform the development of DPSI overall. Past use cases have concerned diverse topics like innovation spaces, museums/technology-enhanced curatorial practices, big data, institutional uses of social media, and online organizational identity-building. (See an example of innovation spaces here).   DPSI interns will support the Berkman team in assessing the 13-14 DPSI pilot and planning for the program’s future expansion. Work may include outreach across the University and schools, interaction with faculty, staff, and students, event planning, report writing, and general creative thinking and brainstorming. Compelling candidates could be interested in and/or excited about any of the topics mentioned above, as well as innovation at universities and within education, design, student entrepreneurship, team building and collaboration, interdisciplinarity and technology. Most importantly, candidates should be creative, independent thinkers, strong communicators, and team players.  For more information, visit

Student Privacy Initiative

The Berkman Center’s Student Privacy Initiative explores the opportunities and challenges that may arise as educational institutions consider adopting cloud computing technologies. As we conduct our research, we are engaging multiple stakeholders– from district officials to policymakers to industry members to teachers, parents, and students–to develop shared good practices that promote positive educational outcomes, harness technological and pedagogical innovations, and protect critical values. Summer interns will be asked to work across three overlapping clusters: Privacy Expectations & Attitudes, School Practices & Policies, and Law & Policy, interfacing internally with the Cyberlaw Clinic as well as the Youth and Media Project. In addition to ongoing research tasks, summer interns might help to draft research briefs, white papers, and website updates, as well as to coordinate with and engage external organizations working in the K-12 edtech innovation space. More information is available at

More information about the summer program, other non YaM related opportunities, eligibility, and links to the application procedures can be found below and at