Harvard – 2014 Summer Internship Program – Now Accepting Applications

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 certain opportunities for law students who receive summer public interest funds (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 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.

Select Expected Summer 2014 Opportunities

Chilling Effects
Summer interns working for Chilling Effects will work on a range of assignments, including: writing blog posts, updating news and research resources for on-site publication; helping with managing and curating the database, including coding metadata and working with source partners to facilitate the ingestion and processing of notices; working on domestic and international collaboration initiatives; event planning and management; and working on research and writing projects centered on the database corpus, either internally or in collaboration with external researchers.   Applicants with coding skills in Ruby and Postgres will have opportunities to work with the new Chilling Effects site. Some thoughts from 2013 Chilling Effects summer interns about their experience can be found here and here.  More information about Chilling Effects is at http://www.chillingeffects.org/.

CopyrightX is a networked course—not a true MOOC—that the Berkman Center has helped to produce during each of the past two years. The course, offered under the auspices of Harvard Law School, HarvardX, and Berkman, explores the current law of copyright and the ongoing debates concerning how that law should be reformed. Through a combination of pre-recorded lectures, weekly seminars, live webcasts, and online discussions, participants in the course examine and assess the ways in which law seeks to stimulate and regulate creative expression.  Many activities fall under the umbrella of “producing” CopyrightX, including refining the pedagogical model, analyzing course data, vetting and choosing the technology that supports the course (which extends to improving existing tools and creating new ones), and generally ensuring that the course team is up to date on the latest currents in digital learning, blended learning, and online higher education. Law students strongly interested in copyright law and/or pedagogy, who are also excited about delving into the mixed suite of activities mentioned above, are highly encouraged to apply. Several other kinds of talents and interests would be a good fits, too, including education research skills and web development (with an interest in or openness to edu-tech). Find more athttp://copyx.org.

Cyberlaw Clinic
The Cyberlaw Clinic provides high-quality, pro-bono legal services to individuals, start-ups, non-profit organizations, and government entities. Every summer, clinic interns contribute to a wide range of real-world projects related to the Internet and technology. Interns may help the Clinic team provide guidance on open access, digital copyright, and fair use issues; support advocacy efforts to protect online speech and anonymity; develop legal resources for citizen journalists and new media organizations; advise courts on innovative uses of technology to increase citizens’ access to justice; or draft reference documents and training materials for educators on children’s privacy and online safety. Interns in the Cyberlaw Clinic can expect direct hands-on experience working with clients under the supervision of the Clinic’s staff attorneys. More information about the Cyberlaw Clinic can be found at http://cyberlawclinic.berkman.harvard.edu.

Digital Media and Communications Squad
The intern with Berkman’s digital media and communications squad will have a chance to use a number of video and audio production resources to tell the world about the amazing Internet research and action coming out of Berkman. This intern will be chiefly responsible for helping to create the Radio Berkman audio podcast, but will also play a role in producing video (like these).  On any given day you could be interviewing a senior Berkman researcher or guest, helping to produce a dynamic video explainer on Internet censorship, or digging up astonished cat GIFs to accompany a blog post about the latest NSA-leak revelations. This intern should have: (1) experience with audio editing software (Logic, Soundtrack, Audacity, Soundbooth, or other); (2) excellent writing skills; and (3) enthusiasm and an open mind for creating and executing fun ideas. Useful but not mandatory: experience in video production/editing, Photoshop/Illustrator, animation, social media management, WordPress/Drupal platforms.

Digital Media Law Project
Summer interns at the Digital Media Law Project will work on a wide range of legal research and writing projects relating to media law, intellectual property, and the intersection of journalism and the internet. In past years, interns have updated the Legal Guide to media law topics, developed entries for the database of threats against online publishers, commented on current issues in law and media on theblog, and provided research and drafting assistance on amicus briefs. Interns may also be asked to assist with the operation and expansion of the Online Media Legal Network, an attorney referral service for digital publishers, and with other projects that the DMLP undertakes in conjunction with its partner organizations around the world. More information on can be found on the DMLP website athttp://www.dmlp.org/about/summer-internships.

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 http://dpsipilot.tumblr.com/.

Freedom of Expression
The Berkman Center’s suite of freedom of expression-related projects, including Internet Monitor, Herdict, and others, is seeking a small team of interns to conduct research on Internet filtering, monitoring, and control efforts around the globe; engage in related data gathering efforts using online sources; contribute to report writing; blog regularly about issues concerning online freedom of expression; and manage various projects’ Twitter and Facebook accounts.  In the past, interns have also supported research on blogospheres and other online communities around the world, contributed to literature reviews, and hand coded online content.  Foreign language skills, particularly in Persian, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese, are useful.  More information about some of Berkman’s work on freedom of expression can be found at the following links: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/research/internetmonitor ; http://www.herdict.org/web/.

Geek Cave
Interns joining the Geek Cave may extend open source software, build scalable websites, or manage the mixed desktop network that keeps the Center moving. Our team works with ruby, perl, php, bash, jQuery, PostgreSQL, MySQL and a slew of other tools.  We have a small group of talented, devoted, fun, full-time developers on staff that can help hone your 1337 coding skillz as well provide fun projects to pair code or geek out on; two project managers to help you keep your work on track; and hardware and software support to help deploy your projects on Berkman infrastructure. More info about the projects that we work on can be found on our github organization page athttp://github.com/berkmancenter.

Internet Governance
The Berkman Center seeks a team of interns to do research and planning around multistakeholder models for Internet governance andrecent related events on the global landscape. On the heels of the announcement from Brazilian President Dilma Roussef and ICANN(Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) of a high-level commission charged with investigating different modes of Internet governance as well as a large conference to take place in São Paolo, Brazil, in April to explore different findings, Berkman — in collaboration with its international partners — plans to contribute to the academic debate with literature reviews, briefing documents, expert opinions, and workshops. Internet governance interns will work closely with Professor Urs Gasser and Research Director Rob Faris and should be adept researchers and communicators interested in international relations and Internet policy.  For more information on the unfolding debate around Internet governance, see “The Internet Governance Project,” articles in CircleID, and 1net.org, the public-facing website and discussion forum for the panel on the future of Internet governance.

Internet Robustness – Software Development
The intern for the Internet Robustness project will work to extend open source development for software that makes (you guessed it) the Internet more robust and resilient to attacks and disappearing content. Our Robustness software is written in Lua, with a little bit of php and C, but we’re interested in anyone who wants to help code our way to a better Web. The Internet Robustness software development intern will also work closely with the Berkman Center’s Geek Cave and have opportunities for paired development on other spiffy projects.  Read more about the project at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/research/internetrobustness.

Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP)
HOAP fosters open access (OA) to research within Harvard and beyond, undertakes research on OA, and provides OA to timely and accurate information about OA itself. HOAP interns may enlarge the Open Access Directory (OAD), a wiki-based encyclopedia of OA, help with ongoing OA research projects, or contribute to the Open Access Tracking Project (OATP), a social-tagging project organizing knowledge about OA. They might also help document and promote TagTeam, a HOAP-directed open-source tagging platform built at Berkman to support OATP. More information about HOAP can be found at: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/hoap/Main_Page.

Media Cloud – Research and Technical Development
Media Cloud, a joint project of the Berkman Center and the MIT Center for Civic Media, seeks summer interns to contribute to our team’s effort to build new tools and methods that allow us to study and better analyze the shape and dynamics of the networked public sphere.Research interns with Media Cloud will contribute to the research, data collection, and synthesis of case studies developed as part of the Controversy Mapping tool, which allows researchers to use the Media Cloud platform’s data collection and network visualization tools to map the evolution of a particular public affair, debate, or policy conversation (such as controversies related to the SOPA/PIPA debate,Trayvon Martin, NSA, and more).  Technical development interns with Media Cloud will help to extend and improve the project’s features.  We are looking for developers interested in online media research, big data, and natural language processing.  More information about Media Cloud is available at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/research/mediacloud and you can see the project in action athttp://www.mediacloud.org.

metaLAB is a research and teaching unit dedicated to exploring and expanding the frontiers of networked culture in the arts and humanities. In summer 2014, an intern will help us to produce a workshop in digital art history involving scholars, developers, and designers from across the country, which takes place at the end of June. In the balance of the summer, the intern’s time will be split between Teaching with Things, an initiative to explore the use of multimedia to document, annotate, and remix objects in Harvard’s libraries and museums for teaching; and a project documenting urban ecology. These projects will call upon writing, media, and design skills, and will furnish opportunities for learning across such varied domains as ethnography, editing, and software development. Some time will be spent outdoors in summer weather, likely in forested urban settings.  More about metaLAB is available athttp://metalab.harvard.edu/.

Online Intermediaries
The Berkman Center, in conjunction with the Network of Interdisciplinary Research Centers for Internet & Society, is taking the lead on a multi-year research project intended to produce several policy-oriented studies of online intermediaries in a range of international contexts. The overarching focus will be areas of convergence and disagreement regarding the liability and responsibility of online intermediaries, and the ways in which the liability to which they are subject influences their ultimate success or failure.  Summer interns working on this effort may be asked to help curate and expand a shared repository of materials for the projects research groups, research and edit country case studies and use cases, create a synthesizing white paper, and coordinate efforts with partners and colleagues.

Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data
The Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data project is a collaboration between three Harvard institutions – the Center for Research on Computation & Society (CRCS) at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS), and the Berkman Center.  The project seeks to develop computational and legal methods, tools, and policies to further the tremendous value that can come from collecting, analyzing, and sharing data while more fully protecting the privacy of individuals whose information resides within large data sets. The Berkman Center’s role in this collaboration is to identify shortcomings in legislation and policy, and to create legal instruments that complement the new technical approaches to privacy being developed by our collaborators in the project.   The Berkman team is looking for rising second and third-year law students to help with research and analysis on privacy law and policy issues.  Summer interns may conduct research and write memoranda on selected topics in law, draft data sharing agreements, aid in the development of new conceptual models for privacy legislation, summarize recent publications in professional journals, and attend lectures and events with the larger project team.  Other opportunities to participate in project activities may arise during the summer.  More information about the project can be found on the Privacy Tools project website at http://privacytools.seas.harvard.edu/.

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 http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/research/studentprivacy.

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 foundhere. 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: www.youthandmedia.org.  See what past Youth and Media interns said about their time at Berkman here.

Special Projects – Jonathan Zittrain
Summer interns will work on a variety of projects undertaken by Professor Jonathan Zittrain, assisting in a variety of research areas (e.g. human computing, linkrot and internet robustness, platforms, and Internet filtering). Summer contributions include research for conferences and presentations; brainstorming article outlines; fact-checking materials; and reviewing original article or paper drafts. This position requires the ability to find, absorb, critically analyze, and debate large amounts of written and other media materials from sources including scholarly articles, news articles and blogs, and interviews with public policymakers. This intern position is ideally suited for students or others who would like to get a deeper understanding of academic research and the broader world of Internet law.  More information about JZ’s research can be found at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/jzittrain and at http://www.jz.org/.

Selectivity / Opportunity

We are fortunate to receive a large number of excellent applications each year and go through a dynamic and highly selective process in which we try to find the best match for individual interns and portfolio needs, but limited slots inevitably mean passing on amazing candidates. We are steadfast, however, in our eagerness for you to work in this space and encourage you to explore other related summer opportunities, including these.

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.

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


Please start with our Summer Internship Program FAQ.

Have questions not covered in the FAQ? Email Rebecca Tabasky at rtabasky@cyber.law.harvard.edu.

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