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.


Research Assistants – City Support, who will help mayors and senior leaders make progress on a range of organizational challenges by learning from practices instituted by other cities to address similar challenges. All research positions are currently filled.

Research Assistants – Initiative Support, who will work on various short-term projects to support the Initiative, including writing and communications, research and analysis, and impact assessment. All research positions are currently filled.

Research Assistants – Research, who will work with the Initiative’s research team to investigate approaches to leadership and problem solving, such as use of data and evidence.  All research positions are currently filled.

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.  All research assistants will be paid at $20/hr.

The application is now closed for 2019-2020 Research Assistant positions. However, we are always excited to hear from students who are committed to city leadership, and we invite you to email with your questions or to share information about yourself for future openings.