Join the Team!

The Berkman Center’s Youth and Media team seeks a diversely-skilled pool of applicants to be full and part time research assistants for its various projects, including but not limited to Youth and MediaDigitally Connected, the Student Privacy Initiative, and Digital Problem-Solving Initiative.

The part and full time positions would be ideal for currently enrolled students and recent graduates (undergraduate or above), respectively.

Interested in working with Youth and Media (YaM), a forward-looking and fun student-driven research team? Hoping to gain cutting-edge research experience at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society? Looking for a fast-paced and exciting environment where you can put your researching, copy editing, event planning, networking, or writing skills to good use? Want to collaborate closely with top Harvard researchers and innovative partners in academia, government, and industry?

The Berkman Center seeks both full and part time research assistants for Youth and Media. Positions are available for individuals with skills and interest in writing and editing or events planning and organizing as well as those looking for a more typical research-based role. YaM brings together young people, leading researchers and developers from the Berkman Center, and mentors from the Center’s broader network to engage creatively with the core challenges and opportunities that youth face online, focusing on online privacy, information quality and learning, civic participation, news and journalism, online hate speech, and content creation.  More information about YaM, which has grown out of the research of John Palfrey, Urs Gasser, and collaborators across the world who have studied youth and digital technologies, can be found on our website (


1) Writing and Editing

Can you write passionately about a wide variety of issues? Do you take pride in crafting the perfect email, invite, or memo? Are you good with details and grammar and have a knack for editing the work of others? This is the position for you! Writing and Editing Assistants will work closely with Youth and Media leads and other team members to make sure that all work produced by the team is of the best possible quality.

2) Event Planning and Outreach

Do you love organizing workshops, symposiums, luncheons, and more? Do you excel at writing posts for social media, emails and invitations, and blog posts? Are you just as great with schedules as you are with people? Events Assistants will plan, organize, and execute a variety of events, academic and otherwise, and will have excellent opportunities to meet key players in industry, policy, and academia.

3) Research

Do you want to pursue a career in academia or simply gain more research skills? As you interested in or currently enrolled in a graduate program? The research assistant’s primary responsibility will be to support Youth and Media’s research track. Key tasks include conducting primary research (especially through focus group interviews), conducting literature reviews, and contributing to academic papers. The RA will also help Youth and Media’s scholarship reach broader academic and popular audiences by blogging and writing journalistic pieces.

Skills / Interests Helpful for These Positions (as applicable):

  • Knowledge of issues surrounding youth engagement with digital media
  • Advanced writing and editing skills, with the ability to quickly draft and contextualize written materials within the suite of the project outputs
  • Excellent critical reading comprehension, with the ability to absorb material quickly
  • Experience with copy editing as well as editing for flow and style
  • Enthusiasm for bringing people together efficiently and with a friendly and professional demeanor on and offline
  • Advanced research skills, such as transcript analysis, qualitative data coding, and study design
  • Persuasive academic writing with strong attention to detail
  • Expertise in fields such as education, media studies, library and information science, anthropology (ethnography), sociology, journalism, communications, law, or psychology
  • Media production, curriculum development, previous teaching experience, quantitative research (conducting surveys), qualitative research (conducting interviews or observational studies).

All Research Assistants Will Have the Opportunity to:

  • Boost their research credentials
  • Creatively bridge research and practice
  • Become key members of the Youth and Media team
  • Participate in the greater-Berkman Center community and ongoing dynamic conversations at the forefront of technology and society

Time Commitment & Payment:

Full Time - The time commitment for this position will cycle between two different periods: it will start with 90 days of full-time (35 hours/week) work, transition to 60 days of part-time (17.25 hours/week) work, and then continue this transition back and forth for the term of the position.

Part Time - The time commitment for this position will be approximately 17 hours/week.


Compensation is the standard Harvard RA rate of $11.50/hour. No other benefits are provided.

This position is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and remote participation is not possible for this opportunity.

The start date is September 1st, 2014, or as soon as possible.

To apply:

Please send your current CV or resume and a cover letter summarizing your interest and experience to the Youth and Media team ( with “Application for Youth and Media RA” in the subject line. Please include in your email which position(s) you are interested in and whether you prefer full or part time.

Participate Now!

Share your stories and shape a discussion!

We are creating a forum for youth to get their voices heard in the form of an e-book, which will include creative pieces (essays, drawings, paintings, collages, infographics, comics, poems, etc.) by youth about their experiences online.

We all know that the Internet, digital media, and social networks have changed the way we learn, interact, and create change. Now it’s time for youth to set the conversation and share their experiences.

The Youth and Media Team at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and UNICEF are receiving creative pieces until July 18, 2014, centered around the idea of the Internet and its impact on youth around the world. We are looking for art/digital media from youth to help tell our collective stories in an e-book that will be available online for free.

The creative pieces could include experiences online, interactions with online communities, favorite aspects of the Internet, and/or how the Internet has affected our lives and the lives of people around us. These themes can also be broader in nature, looking into positive changes the Internet and digital media have brought about in society, such as the availability of information, and the ability to communicate, learn, and make friends.

Some prompts could include:

  1. What excites you most about the Internet?
  2. How has the Internet changed your life?
  3. What is the most influential online story you have come across?
  4. Who on the Internet has influenced you most?
  5. How does the internet make you feel connected? Have you ever felt like a part of an internet community? If so, what was that like?
  6. What positive changes have you witnessed in your community and/or country because of the internet?
  7. What role do web based mobile technologies play in your daily life?
  8. If you could add or take away one component of the Internet as it exists now, what would it be?
  9. What do you think is the greatest benefit the Internet grants to its users? How have you experienced this?
  10. If you could draw the Internet, what would it look like?

Again, a written piece could be in the form of a personal essay, a short narrative, and/or a poem. These should ideally be in English and should be between 500 and 1000 words. The visual art piece could be a drawing, a painting, collage, infographic, comic, video, etc.

Find out what we’re looking for and how to submit at:

Whatever it is you submit, we’d love to see it!

This open call is related to our previous “Digitally Connected” symposium. Find out more about the symposium here. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at

Social Media in the Classroom: A Conversation with YaM Mentor Rey Junco

Rey Junco’s favorite color is purple. He also mixes beats on his laptop. Electro beats, to be exact. And he’s got an energetic, friendly voice and enthusiasm for online platforms that make him a particularly good candidate for studying social media. Rey, a Berkman Center faculty associate and Youth and Media Lab Mentor, looks at how Twitter and other social networking platforms can be used by instructors to enhance student academic success. In this podcast, Luisa Beck talks with Rey about how these platforms can increase student engagement, what ‘engagement’ in different contexts may mean, and about some of the research questions he’s currently pursuing.

Rey outlines his 2012 study “Putting twitter to the test: Assessing outcomes for student collaboration, engagement and success”, in which he finds that the use of Twitter in educationally relevant ways can increase student engagement and even lead to better grades. He explains that students get a lot more excited about using social media for class discussions than learning management systems like Moodle, Blackboard, or Desire2Learn. In his research, Rey also found that the quality of discussions about class material is better on social networking sites than on learning management systems.

This year, Rey wants to study how online anonymity may allow introverted students to feel more comfortable being creative, voicing their opinions and experimenting in online spaces. Scholars refers to this as the “online disinhibition effect” which, as Rey explains, would be when normally shy students who wouldn’t risk saying something “dumb” in the physical classroom, may feel less anxious about sharing anonymously or pseudonymously online. Rather than focusing on the incivility (such as cyberbullying and name calling) that media often associate with online anonymity, Rey’s goal is to focus on such positive opportunities. He hypothesizes that when otherwise inhibited students receive responses to the thoughts they share or questions they ask online, it will give them validation. In turn, this may encourage them to share their thoughts and ask questions in the classroom and other physical spaces.


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Games for Civic Engagement: A Conversation with Berkman Fellow Eric Gordon

Thomas Jefferson once hailed town hall meetings the “wisest invention ever devised by the wit of man for the perfect exercise of self-government.” But in many 21st century towns and cities, town hall meetings are barely even attended. And if they are, it’s often the same people showing up, from the same demographic groups. But Eric Gordon, Berkman fellow and founder of the Engagement Game Lab wants to change that. With games like Hub2, Participatory Chinatown and Community PlanIt, he wants to increase civic  participation by gamifying planning processes. In this podcast, Youth and Media Research Assistant Luisa Beck had the chance to talk with Eric about his interest in games, civic engagement and how his lab has managed to combine the two.

Luisa learned that Eric became interested in games for civic engagement through his interest in the connection between media and urbanism. In his scholarly work, he was studying how people navigate urban spaces and how media frames those spaces, both historically and in the present. He started thinking about that theoretical and historical work in an interventionist way.

The first project Eric worked on, Hub 2, used the online platform Second Life as a tool to help people navigate and make decisions about the development of a park in Allston. During the game’s design and implementation process, Eric explored the affordances of how mixed reality could augment deliberation. Entering a virtual space gave people a baseline understanding of how designed spaces might look in the future and how they might navigate them.

Eric’s second project was called Participatory Chinatown. It was an extension of the Hub2 idea, but instead of using Second Life, his team decided to partner with the Asian Community Development Cooperation and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to build a game around the Chinatown master planning process. To develop the game’s content, youth from an organization called “A-VOYCE” photographed Chinatown neighborhoods. These photographs became the skins for 3D models of Chinatown. The youth also created composite characters for the game based on real-life interviews they did with people in their communities.

The Engagement Game Lab’s most recent game is called Community Plan It. Its challenges are designed so that players generate comments about the planning process, while also learning something about their city. Those comments are then collected, shared with city planners and officials, and made publicly available online. When the game is over, players can pledge the coins they earn during the game to a local cause they care about. It has had many successes in cities such as Boston, Detroit and Philadelphia. But Eric explains that there are still quite a few challenges: CPI is great at generating data, but what Eric wants to find now are ways of empowering people to deliver their own data to city officials in ways that are so compelling that they can’t be ignored.

For more information about the Engagement Game Lab, you can go to or read Eric’s blog at

Hanging Out At The Lab

The Youth and Media Lab welcomes local youth to visit the Lab to learn more about us and our work.  We invite youth who are interested in video and graphic design or in teaching and outreach to join us and support our work with your talents. We have many opportunities for youth to get involved in content creation and workshops.

Send an email to:  [at] cyber [dot] law [dot] harvard [dot] edu


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The Vision of the Lab

The Lab’s vision is described in an inspiring video created by young members of the Lab in collaboration with close collaborators and friends:


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