Technology and Democracy Fellowship

The Technology and Democracy Fellowship is part of an Ash Center initiative to explore technology’s role in improving democratic governance—with a focus on connecting to practice and on helping Harvard Kennedy School students develop crucial technology skills.

Over the course of the fellowship, participants design, develop, or refine a substantive project that is salient to their field. This project could entail research, writing, and developing strategy relating to each fellow’s work, or could take the form of a new platform, service, app, or idea.

Technology and Democracy Fellows form a virtual community through which they share ideas and resources, pose questions, offer feedback, and help one another with solving challenges in their projects or other work. The Kennedy School serves as a unique space for these technologists to take a step back from the day-to-day minutia working in the world of practice to discuss, research, and write about the bigger questions their work addresses.  

Fellows also help students, staff, faculty, and other members of the HKS community to develop their understanding of major concepts and to build skills related to technology and governance. This knowledge sharing is primarily delivered through a hands-on, skill-building workshop that each fellow designs and leads once during the year on a topic of interest to the fellow (see past workshops here).  Fellows can also develop personal relationships with faculty, staff, and fellows at HKS in the form of consultation and mentoring, event/speaking opportunities, and more.

The Technology and Democracy Fellowship is an unpaid, non-resident fellowship, so Fellows are not expected to reside or work locally. We invite Technology and Democracy Fellows to Cambridge at least twice during the course of the fellowship year (at the Ash Center’s expense) to give workshops, present their work, and meet with members of the HKS community.

The Fellowship welcomes mid-career practitioners with an interest in leveraging technology to improve democratic governance. Each cohort of fellows includes technologists with an interest or background in democratic politics and governance or public and civic leaders with technology expertise.

How to Apply
Please fill out the online application by 11:59 PM on March 31st, 2017. To learn more about the fellowship program or with questions, please contact Will Pfeffer at


Current Technology and Democracy Fellows
The 2016-17 Technology and Democracy Fellows are below.


Leah Bannon, Organizer, Tech Lady Hackathons, and Product Lead, 18F

Trevor Davis, CTO, National People’s Action, and CEO/Founder, ToSomeone

Noel Hidalgo, Executive Director, BetaNYC

Harlo Holmes, Director of Newsroom Digital Security, Freedom of the Press Foundation

Hila Mehr, Senior Analyst, Market Developments and Insights, IBM

Dhrumil Mehta, Database Journalist, FiveThirtyEight

Hollie Russon Gilman, Civic Innovation Fellow, New America Foundation and Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs