Technology and Democracy Fellowship

Meet the newly announced 2020-21 cohort of fellows

Check back in Spring 2021 for updates on the 2021-22 competition.

The Ash Center is a vibrant and values-driven community. We are committed to diversity and welcome people of varied backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and disciplines. We actively seek applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQIA+ community, persons with disabilities and underrepresented backgrounds.

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. Find upcoming 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. Fellows are encouraged to even further contribute to the broader technology and democracy discussion through the Ash Center's multimedia.

Fellow Spotlight

Sofia Gross"I've had the most amazing time engaging with the advisors, staff and students of Harvard Kennedy School through the support and guidance of the Ash Center. The team is always accessible, excited to collaborate and eager to learn about the expertise you bring to the larger Harvard community. I wish I could do it again!" 

—Sofia Gross, 2018-19 Technology and Democracy Fellow 

Location

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.

Eligibility

The Fellowship welcomes mid-career practitioners with an interest in leveraging technology to improve democratic governance. Each cohort of fellows includes practitioners with an interest or background in democratic politics and governance or public and civic leaders with technology expertise. Applicants with diverse backgrounds, experiences, abilities and perspectives are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply

Applications for the AY 2020-21 competition are now closed. Please direct questions to Teresa Acuña at teresa_acuna@hks.harvard.edu.

FAQ

- Are letters of recommendation requested as part of application?
        No, letters are not requested.

- I accidently submitted my application without completing it. Can you delete this application?
        If two submissions by the same individual are submitted, we use the latest version.

- Can I make changes to my application packet after I have submitted?
        No, we are unable to make changes to your application.

- What can I expect on the fellowship application?
        The application will ask about your connection to technology and democracy, project idea, workshop idea and the name of a Harvard faculty or affiliate you are interested in working with. Please note that application questions may vary year to year.

- What is the time commitment for the fellowship?
        The fellowship is nonresident. However, there are minimum time requirements including a one hour video conference with the cohort every month, in-person orientation and workshop in Cambridge. Attendance is mandatory. There are also a number of hours that you will need to dedicate to your project.

What types of projects have former fellows produced during the Technology and Democracy Fellowship?

Web platform designed to Explore Campaign Finance by Solomon Kahn, Technology and Democracy Fellow, 2015-2016

Election toolkit for local officials administering elections by Tiana Epps-Johnson, Technology and Democracy Fellow, 2015-2016

Report on modernizing Congress by Zach Grave, Technology and Democracy Fellow, 2018-2019.

Report on how companies can promote voter engagement by Sofia Gross, Technology and Democracy Fellow, 2018-2019.

Current Technology and Democracy Fellows

 

Academic Year 2019-2021

Nick Carter, Managing Director, 2020 Vision Ventures
Shomik Dutta, Co-founder and Partner, Higher Ground Labs
Daniel Marks, Digital Manager, Color of Change
Laura Miller, Director of Digital Strategy, When We All Vote
Eric Wilson, Chief Digital Officer, America Rising
 

Academic Year 2020-2021

Ashley Bryant, Principal, A/B Partners
Ernest Britt, Senior Campaign Manager, Color of Change
John Patrick Carroll, Deputy Director of Hispanic Media, Republican National Committee
Kevin Chan, Director of Public Policy, Canada, Facebook
Kate Gage, Founding Partner, The Movement Cooperative
Mariana Ruiz Firmat, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Kairos
Vignesh Ganapathy, Head of Government Relations, Postmates