Student Opportunities

Developing Future Generations of City Leaders

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative inspires and invests in future generations of city leaders.

Since the Initiative’s founding, more than 200 students have engaged in fellowships in city halls, research opportunities with the Initiative, and experiential learning opportunities through field coursework and thesis work for city government clients.

“In working with the Initiative, I’ve learned how much potential city governments have to affect change, and how cities are excited to share ideas, learn from each other, and test new approaches. This experience has solidified my desire to work in local government after I graduate.”
Charlotte McEwen, Harvard Kennedy School Student
Developing Future Generations of City Leaders

Student Opportunities

Field Lab Courses

Field Lab Courses

HKS classes (such as Budgeting and Decision Science) with project-based learning in partnership with Bloomberg Harvard cities

Policy Analysis Exercises

Policy Analysis Exercises

Yearlong Master's thesis projects with Bloomberg Harvard cities (for HKS Master of Public Policy 2nd year students)

Research Assistants

Research Assistants

Yearlong positions to explore research and analysis questions for the Initiative and for Bloomberg Harvard cities

Student Fellowship

Find out more information about Student Fellowships and read about the experiences of past Student Fellows.

Student Stories

A map of a holistic picture of the affordable housing landscape and needs in Rochester

Andrea Ringer, MPP 2021 & Adam Staveski, MPP 2021

Andrea Ringer, HKS MPP 2021, and co-fellow Adam Staveski, HKS MPP 2021, worked to address the affordable housing gap in Rochester, New York – a key priority for Mayor Lovely Warren. Using available data and frameworks published by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, Andrea and Adam created a holistic picture of the affordable housing landscape and needs in Rochester. “Although learning on the job was difficult at first, I was continually supported by the city employees in Rochester and by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. Because of them, I was able to complete an incredibly complex data task in just six weeks,” Adam said. He found that the housing supply could be reworked to better accommodate the population in need of affordable housing by increasing the stock of 1-bedroom apartments. Their findings gave city officials valuable insights as they began to rewrite the city’s zoning code, and it was recently cited by Mayor Warren in her State of the City address.

Mock website of a mayor's dashboard

Lauren Lombardo, MPP 2021

Lauren Lombardo, HKS MPP 2021, worked closely with the mayor’s office in the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, to improve the city’s use of data and performance evaluation in policymaking. Lauren found that the city’s existing system, LNKStat, was outdated and had been abandoned by the intended users. After 20 interviews with stakeholders, Lauren developed a new metrics toolkit to be used alongside policymaking that will provide a guide for identifying key performance indicators and monitoring metrics during policy development. Her solution ensures a flexible system that can adapt more readily than static metrics. In addition, Lauren scoped and tested a data dashboard for city officials that would make data more accessible to the public and promote data-driven governance. Lauren said of her experience, “During a time of pandemic and social unrest, my summer fellowship with Lincoln came with unexpected challenges and unanticipated rewards. I learned the importance of making data accessible and flexible and saw first-hand how to impact organizational change within governing institutions.”

Protest in Chicago in the wake of the murder of George Floyd

Zoe Bulger, MPP 2021

Zoe Bulger, HKS MPP 2021, started her fellowship in the Chicago Mayor’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice days after protests had erupted across the city in response to the murder of George Floyd and legacy of police brutality, state violence, and racism. “While my work for the summer was focused broadly on racial equity in response to COVID-19, it was clear that Chicago needed a way forward through the trauma caused by systemic racism and the pandemic – it needed to heal,” she said. Working closely with Chicago’s Chief Equity Officer, Zoe engaged a range of stakeholders to explore strategies for healing and identify work already underway in the city. She also examined cases of reconciliation in other cities in the US and abroad. At the end of the fellowship, she submitted a proposal for how Chicago can launch a city-wide healing journey and drive transformation for racial equity.

A crowd gathers for peaceful protest held in Oklahoma City

Andrew Loh, MPP 2022, MBA 2022

Andrew Loh, HKS MPP 2022 and Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA 2022, worked with the Oklahoma City Mayor’s Office to analyze the impacts of COVID-19 in the city and strengthen civilian oversight of the police force. Joining a special task force to address these connected issues, Andrew conducted a comparative analysis of responses from other US cities in order to support employing a mask mandate. Andrew’s team also examined a variety of police oversight systems, and he presented to Mayor David Holt the legal and policy reforms that would be necessary to make civilian oversight of the police department more effective. His proposal serves as a key resource as policymakers take up police reform in Oklahoma City.

Mockups of a waste management app

Oluwatosin Alliyu, MDE 2021

Oluwatosin Alliyu, HGSD MDE 2021, spent the summer working with the public and private sector stakeholders of Accra’s waste management system in order to develop a data strategy to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa. Oluwatosin conducted research on data strategy and waste management, as well as the intricacies of public-private partnership in Accra, mapping the relevant stakeholders in order to uncover areas for improvement. Oluwatosin developed three prototypes and an implementation guide in order to address issues with cross-sector collaboration, data collection, and service delivery to remote citizens. On her Harvard faculty and client support system, Oluwatosin said, “The support of my two Harvard faculty advisers and feedback from stakeholders in Accra were instrumental in the development of both the prototypes and implementation guide. While the keen guidance from my Harvard faculty advisers provided much needed insights and encouragement when I felt stuck, the feedback and continued engagement with those in Accra kept me grounded.”

Adam Hawksbee

Adam Hawksbee, MPP 2019

While pursuing his graduate degree, Adam Hawksbee, HKS MPP 2019, worked closely with the city region of West Midlands on inclusive economic development, first during a summer internship, then during his Policy Analysis Exercise, and finally as a research fellow with the Initiative. Just months after being hired as the Policy Director for the city, he was thrust into supporting its response to COVID-19. “I moved from a strategic, forward-looking role to a day-to-day crisis management and emergency response role,” he said. “As we turn towards recovery and reimagining what the region looks like, I’ve been able to bring in what I learned at Bloomberg Harvard to push us to thinking ambitiously and imaginatively about what comes next.”

Nneka Edwards-Jackson

Nneka Edwards-Jackson, MPK 2022

As a COVID-19 Response and Recovery fellow, Dr. Edwards-Jackson, Harvard Chan MPH 2020, who is a pediatrician by training, is developing community-based solutions at the intersection of public safety and mental health. Her analysis of peer city approaches and policy recommendations will inform the overall strategy of the new community-based public safety task force, formed in the wake of the Black Lives Matter and Indigenous Lives Matter movements. Edwards-Jackson’s project is a continuation of the city’s work within the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative’s Collaboration Track on community-driven mental health and addiction strategy.

Allison O’Shea

Allison O’Shea, MBA 2021

Allison O’Shea, HBS MBA 2021, is working on research on city innovations to advance the status of women and girls. Her work aims to identify promising approaches, common issues of focus across cities, partnership models, and how cities measure success. “I was drawn to this research project because the challenges facing women and girls are extremely complex and intersectional in nature. In other words, the most pressing challenges facing women and girls vary across age, race, class, and geography, and the solutions can rarely be developed and executed by a single department or agency within city hall."

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Allison O’Shea

Allison O’Shea, MBA 2021

Allison O’Shea, HBS MBA 2021, is working on research on city innovations to advance the status of women and girls. Her work aims to identify promising approaches, common issues of focus across cities, partnership models, and how cities measure success. “I was drawn to this research project because the challenges facing women and girls are extremely complex and intersectional in nature. In other words, the most pressing challenges facing women and girls vary across age, race, class, and geography, and the solutions can rarely be developed and executed by a single department or agency within city hall."

Nneka Edwards-Jackson

Nneka Edwards-Jackson, MPK 2022

As a COVID-19 Response and Recovery fellow, Dr. Edwards-Jackson, Harvard Chan MPH 2020, who is a pediatrician by training, is developing community-based solutions at the intersection of public safety and mental health. Her analysis of peer city approaches and policy recommendations will inform the overall strategy of the new community-based public safety task force, formed in the wake of the Black Lives Matter and Indigenous Lives Matter movements. Edwards-Jackson’s project is a continuation of the city’s work within the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative’s Collaboration Track on community-driven mental health and addiction strategy.

Adam Hawksbee

Adam Hawksbee, MPP 2019

While pursuing his graduate degree, Adam Hawksbee, HKS MPP 2019, worked closely with the city region of West Midlands on inclusive economic development, first during a summer internship, then during his Policy Analysis Exercise, and finally as a research fellow with the Initiative. Just months after being hired as the Policy Director for the city, he was thrust into supporting its response to COVID-19. “I moved from a strategic, forward-looking role to a day-to-day crisis management and emergency response role,” he said. “As we turn towards recovery and reimagining what the region looks like, I’ve been able to bring in what I learned at Bloomberg Harvard to push us to thinking ambitiously and imaginatively about what comes next.”