the initiative

Student Opportunities

The Initiative seeks Harvard graduate students to work with staff and faculty on projects that support participating cities, research, and curriculum development. The Initiative’s work with cities creates an opportunity to inspire a future generation of city leaders. Harvard graduate students will have the opportunity to gain experience in city government by working on real-world city issues. In so doing, students can provide immediate value to participating cities and contribute to emerging research.




20 Harvard graduate students were competitively selected for Bloomberg Harvard summer fellowships — 10-week summer fellowships in domestic and international city governments on issues of salience to mayor’s agendas. Fellows are supported by the Initiative’s dedicated staff during their engagement.

Click here to view the project descriptions for this year’s fellowships. To learn more about the work done in cities by last year’s summer fellows, read the 2018 Summer Fellows Blog.

Please contact Program Manager Glendean Hamilton with questions about summer fellowships.


In Laredo, Texas - a border city through which more than $214 billion worth of trade moves each year - 2018 Summer Fellow Santiago Mota helped officials understand why a third of households remain in poverty for generations.




Students perform research to help mayors and senior leaders make progress on a range of organizational challenges by learning from practices instituted by other cities and the innovative ways they addressed similar challenges.


Students work with the Initiative’s content team on projects to support the development of curriculum and cases.


Students work on various short-term projects to support the Initiative and its cities on an as-needed basis.

These research assistant opportunities are paid positions, for varying lengths of time, depending on the project. Ideal candidates for research assistant positions demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills, possess an entrepreneurial spirit and comfort with ambiguity, have a proven ability to collaborate on teams, and possess strong analytical, data analysis, and creative problem solving skills. Prior experience in consulting or research is a plus.

For questions about student research opportunities or general questions about the program, please feel free to contact us here or email