Summer Internship Program

Time Commitment | Payment | Commitment to Diversity | Eligibility | Select Expected Summer 2015 Opportunities | Selectivity / Opportunity | To Apply

The information below was for summer 2015.  We will open up our call for applications for summer 2016 in early 2016.

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 2015 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 Zachary 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 2015 program will run from June 1 through August 7.


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.
  • 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 2015 Opportunities

Academic Innovation
The Berkman Center, in conjunction with the Harvard Law School Library, has a number of projects focused on innovation in academic spaces.  Examples of these projects include H2O and H2O is a Web-based platform for creating, customizing, consuming, and sharing free and open course materials. is a citation archiver designed to prevent link rot in academic scholarship by saving copies of online resources cited in scholarly publications -- providing authors and editors with permanent URLs that will allow readers to access archived copies of the cited material. Summer interns will assist with the management and growth of these projects, working with the Berkman/Library team to conceptualize and realize the future of these technologies.  Individual contributions will depend on the skill set of each intern.  Find more at and

Anti-Hate Speech Initiative
“Hate speech” and related phenomena manifest and affect young people in many different ways. As part of a new initiative, the Berkman Center, in close collaboration with a Leadership Team and Advisory Committee, is in the early stages of leveraging its national and global networks to create a first-of-its-kind thematic network of experts, educators, practitioners, company representatives, and others to focus on this issue. The network will attempt to better understand the different kinds of youth-oriented hate speech online; develop, map, and evaluate effective counter strategies; and foster more resilient communities through partnerships with universities and other institutions in the U.S. and other countries. Specifically, the initiative will conduct activities in three analytically distinct but interacting tracks: Research, Curriculum Development, and Network Building. Summer interns’ responsibilities will support work in one or more of these tracks.

Chilling Effects
Chilling Effects is a website, database and research project studying cease and desist letters concerning online content.   Our goals are to conduct and facilitate research on the notices, to educate the public about the different kinds of cease and desist letters--both legitimate and questionable--that are being sent to Internet publishers, and to provide as much transparency as possible about the “ecology” of such notices, in terms of who is sending them and why, and to what effect.  All summer interns working for Chilling Effects will have the opportunity to 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. Chilling Effects is especially interested in candidates with coding skills to help Berkman developers work on and improve the project's website and database.  An ideal candidate for  will have experience with Ruby and/or Ruby On Rails or experience with other MVC frameworks, postgreSQL, and elasticsearch and/or Solr. Experience with large data sets, visualization libraries and/or continuous integration and test suites a plus.  Some thoughts from Chilling Effects summer interns about their experience can be found
here and here, and more information about Chilling Effects is at

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

The Cybersecurity Project is engaging in a clean-slate evaluation of the set of responsibilities related to foreign intelligence gathering, which has expanded to include the exploitation of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. In this project, we aim to identify concrete steps to clarify roles and boundaries for the intelligence community, the corporate sector, academics, non-profits, and individuals; to examine how the cybersecurity risks are conceptualized and assessed by governments and companies, particularly companies with global operations; and to rebuild legitimacy and public support for cross-sectoral cybersecurity policies and practices.  More information about the project can be found at

Digital Problem-Solving Initiative
he Digital Problem-Solving Initiative (DPSI) is a University-wide, highly-collaborative project, bringing together a diverse group of learners (students, faculty, fellows, and staff) to work on projects to address challenges and opportunities across the university. DPSI interns will support the Berkman team in assessing the 2014-2015 program and planning for the program’s future expansion. Work may include outreach across the University and schools, event planning, research briefs, and general creative thinking and brainstorming. Compelling candidates should 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, and collaboration. This position is an ideal opportunity for a Harvard undergraduate, with the possibility of being extended over the 2015-2016 academic year (part-time). More information can be found at

Digital Media and Communications Squad
The intern with Berkman’s digital media and communications squad will have a chance to help imagine, develop, produce, and promote a number of video and audio production resources aimed at telling 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 videos 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. The intern will also help out with other digital communications efforts such as creating and posting content to the Berkman website, social media channels, and our weekly email newsletter, as well as thinking through (and piloting) innovative ways to reach new audiences.  This intern should have experience with and access to audio editing software (Logic, Soundtrack, Audacity, Soundbooth, or other), excellent writing skills, enthusiasm and an open mind for creating and executing fun ideas, and interest in digital communications and podcasting. Useful but not mandatory: experience in video production/editing, Photoshop/Illustrator, animation, social media management, Wordpress/Drupal platforms.

Education, Technology, and Privacy
A summer intern will work on several projects relating to education, technology, and privacy, particularly the
Student Privacy Initiative and “Coding for All.” The Berkman Center’s Student Privacy Initiative explores the opportunities and challenges that may arise as connected learning becomes more of a norm in education. 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. In addition to ongoing research tasks (such as contributing to “This Week in Student Privacy”), a summer intern might help draft research briefs, white papers, and website updates, as well as coordinate with and engage external organizations working in the K-12 ed tech innovation space. More information is available at

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: ;

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 at

Global Access in Action
Maximizing the potential of technology to help the global poor requires fresh thinking.  The legal and policy frameworks that govern innovation and commercialization can either constrain or facilitate the development and application of innovative technologies to tackle poverty, disease, hunger, and ignorance.  Global Access in Action (GAiA) seeks to contribute to the improvement of those frameworks. Guided by six principles, we conduct action-oriented research into access to lifesaving medicines, and alternative incentives for the development of medical treatments for underserved populations. During Summer 2015, GAiA’s intern(s) will conduct research and writing concerning new and underused strategies for increasing access to medicines and designing alternative mechanisms to incentivize pharmaceutical research, respectively. Support with event planning and coordination may also be involved. More information is at

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

Media Cloud
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. The interns will contribute to the technical development of the Media Cloud platform and will help to extend and improve the project's features, including 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. We are looking for developers interested in online media research, big data, and natural language processing.  More information about Media Cloud is at

metaLAB is a research and teaching unit dedicated to exploring and expanding the frontiers of networked culture in the arts and humanities. In summer 2015, up to three interns will help us to produce a workshop in digital art history involving scholars, developers, and designers from across the country, to take place in early July at the Harvard Art Museums. In the balance of the summer, the interns’ time will be split between Curarium, a platform to document, annotate, and remix collections in libraries, museums and other institutions; a suite of short films to be incorporated into an interactive documentary; and an ongoing 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. More about metaLAB is available at

Municipal Fiber Initiative
The Municipal Fiber Initiative at Berkman is documenting alternative models of Internet provisioning by cities and towns in the United States. An intern with this project will assist with
documenting specific municipal efforts—detailing chronologies, lessons, costs, and benefits of municipal Internet projects—or in organizing workshops to disseminate research findings.  This work will build off of the research conducted by Berkman Director Susan Crawford and teams; previous publications may be found at and

Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data
The Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data project brings together expertise in computer science, statistics, law, policy, and social science across four research centers at Harvard. It seeks to develop privacy-preserving methods, tools, and policies to further the tremendous research potential of data containing information about individuals. The legal team, led by Prof. Urs Gasser at the Berkman Center, explores cross-disciplinary approaches to data privacy and devises new privacy frameworks, legal instruments, and policy recommendations that complement advanced tools for private data analysis being developed in the project. To support this work, the Berkman team is looking for rising second and third-year law students to conduct research and analysis on topics related to privacy law and policy. Summer interns will write legal memoranda on selected topics in law, draft data sharing agreements, survey recent privacy-related publications in academic journals, aid in the development of new conceptual models for privacy and data sharing, and attend lectures and events with privacy experts from a wide range of disciplines. More information about the project can be found on the Privacy Tools project website at

Special Projects - Urs Gasser
A summer intern will work on a variety of projects undertaken by Berkman's Executive Director Urs Gasser (e.g. work on privacy, globalization of law, cyber-liability, interoperability, internet governance). Tasks include research for presentations and events, op-eds, a book, and articles. 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. This position is an ideal opportunity for individuals interested in pursuing graduate or legal studies in the future, as well as those individuals currently enrolled in graduate or law school. Knowledge in German or an Asian language is a plus. More information about Urs’ research can be found at

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. As well, this position may be extended into the 2015-2016 academic year; if you would be interested and available to continue working from Cambridge, MA in this capacity beyond the summer, please indicate so in your cover letter.  More information about JZ’s research can be found at and at

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

The application deadline for all students for Summer 2015 was Monday February 16, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. ET.  We are no longer accepting new applications for Summer 2015 internships.


Please start with our Summer Internship Program FAQ

Have questions not covered in the FAQ? Email Rebecca Tabasky at


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Last updated

October 14, 2015