Are you interested in learning more about opportunities in government related work?
Many students are interested in pursuing work in government or at the intersection of government after graduating from MIT. It can be difficult to find these opportunities if you do not already have connections with a government agency. Please see our list of government or government-related opportunities below.
Racial, social, and economic justice are foundational values of the PKG Center. People of all identities have lived experiences that are valuable in public service and social and environmental change. This is especially important in government-related work where people with marginalized identities are underrepresented. Please see opportunities for students with marginalized identities below.
Opportunities for Marginalized Students:
If there is something that you have been involved in and want to share with our students, please fill out our New Fellowship/Internship Opportunities form. If you have questions about opportunities or how to get involved, we would be happy to answer them! Please reach out to Alison Hynd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in MIT-specific government opportunities? Check out these helpful resources:
The MIT Center for Career Development has some resources on government-related career interests such as Social Impact, Policy, and Law. This includes on-campus organizations that students can get involved with and government job board websites like PoliCorner, Idealist, Go Government, and USA Jobs. If you have any questions, please reach out to Tianna Ransom at email@example.com.
The MIT Science Policy Initiative, founded in 2007, is a group of postdocs, graduate, and undergraduate students who work closely with the MIT DC Office and other science policy advocates to foster discourse between the scientists of tomorrow and policy-makers of today. They have a wealth of resources for interested students such as on-campus events, Science Policy Bootcamp during IAP and the summer, and career resources. Please reach out to Hannah LeBlanc at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Looking for some inspiration? Check out the work our previous PKG Fellows have been involved in!
Austin Cole, Master of City Planning / Master of Business Administration ‘24, DUSP and Sloan
City of Boston, Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion
Austin is interested in racial equity and social justice and wants to work in a field that incorporates both community-based work and public service. He pursued academic research looking at social development and economics after his undergraduate degree. He also worked in the private sector and in nonprofit organizations. Austin became interested in how communities could control their own resources and use them to support themselves. He saw an opportunity in pursuing a degree at the intersection of government and community work because he can more deeply specialize and advocate for certain projects when working in an outside organization. Austin’s advice for others looking to get into government-related work is to get out and talk to people. He said it is important to understand what opportunities exist and the landscape of programs and initiatives that people are actually doing instead of reading a website description. He explained that there is value in just being in a government office and seeing how it works because it can help us understand why things are happening and what our role can be to address it.
His DUSP-PKG Fellowship consisted of collaborating with the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion. Austin worked closely with the Director of Policy to support community ownership and opportunities for green development without displacement to ensure affordability and accessibility in communities that have been historically marginalized.
Elyse Oliver, Master in City Planning ‘24, DUSP
The Greater Portland Council of Governments, Portland, Maine
Elyse is interested in urban design and transportation. She completed her undergraduate degree in International Studies and Sociology and wanted to learn more about data analysis and urban design. Elyse worked at the civic sector of a management consulting firm in New York where she supported nonprofits, government agencies, and philanthropy. She saw a misalignment between the communications skills she was honing through her work and their resonance among impacted communities. She sought to pursue a field that emphasized more visual communication skills that would be more inclusive for public participation, which led her to her current degree at MIT. Elyse’s advice for others looking to get into government-related work is to take the time to get to know a lot of different people in different departments. This is helpful to understand the kind of work people are doing and see if it aligns with your own goals. It is also useful for advancing the many cross-departmental initiatives core to progressive planning. She also suggests practicing skills such as facilitation, public speaking, collaboration, flexibility, and authenticity as these are important in government-related work. Finally, she suggests that consulting is a great way to test the waters and see what is out there, but public sector experience is essential to being successful in this line of work.
Her DUSP-PKG Fellowship consisted of working with the Greater Portland Council of Governments in their planning and transportation team. Elyse added capacity where it was helpful such as through transit stop inventory and creating a village center design in a small town north of Portland. The Fellowship provided Elyse with the opportunity to compare her prior consulting experience with government-related work in her home region.
Justin Brazier, Master of Architecture ‘24, Architecture
City of Boston, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics
Justin, a Haitian-American designer, began his career working on small projects with urban farmers in his Greater Boston hometown in Randolph, MA. During this time, he noticed a significant disconnect in the processes of design and policy implementation in the built environment. In particular, there was a narrative built around formal skills, credentials, and barriers to entry. Eager to challenge these conceptions and change who is involved and has a seat at the table, he became a summer fellow for the City of Boston to build better relationships between City Hall, neighborhoods of color, and the city-at-large.
Justin’s passion for democratizing design and impact was further supported at MIT, where he is currently pursuing his Master of Architecture as an inaugural Morningside Academy of Design Fellow. He works towards sustainable architecture, food security, and cultural spaces for historically underrepresented and underserved communities. Justin believes that we can empower people to develop their own environments and put their fingerprints on their own neighborhood – even without formal training. Currently, Justin is a part of a design collective that champions how local wisdom and lived experience informs projects, strengthens designs, and supports visions for change across different mediums and scales.
During his PKG Fellowship, Justin and the team built pop-up kitchens to support Boston farmers as a part of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics’s Public Space Initiative. The project, Cooking Together: Pop-Up Community Kitchens, encourages community participation in new kinds of public spaces within Boston’s existing Garden Network. They partnered with local leaders, gardeners, chefs, artists, and students at the Woolson Street Community Garden to ensure that the project does not end with the delivery of the kitchens – instead, they hope for it to be a catalyst for learning opportunities, vibrant cultural spaces, and stronger communities.
Patricia Garcia, Master of City Planning ’24, DUSP
California Partnership for Safe Communities, Oakland California
Patricia is interested in the collaboration between community, organizations, academics, research, and citizens. There are many moving parts surrounding government entities and Patricia wants to help cities find solutions for their problems in an interdisciplinary way. Patricia completed her undergraduate degree in international affairs, but noticed the classes mostly focused on diplomacy instead of domestic issues. Patricia began working in NGOs after her graduation and thought about pursuing a graduate degree in public policy. However, she wanted an interdisciplinary, flexible degree with a research focus. Patricia’s advice for others looking to get into government-related work is to step outside your box and get a taste of reality. She said that it is important to look into ways to collaborate with government entities locally or federally and to explore different roles in government because you need to see how the work is carried out in real life.
Her PKG Fellowship consisted of identifying the key capacities in local and state governments across the United States to create and implement violence prevention and reduction strategies. Patricia comes from northern Mexico and was always curious about the significant wave of violence that threatened her community. She stressed the difficulty of finding opportunities in Mexico because of how politics and political parties have a strong influence on government related-work and many times, it is all about who you know. Patricia’s Fellowship allowed her to pursue government-related research to apply in her own community.
Please see the work that students have done at the MIT Washington D.C. Summer Program!
The MIT Washington Program has been placing undergraduates from across the Institute in summer internships in Washington DC since 1995. Housing and a stipend are provided, and clerical work is minimized, so students can apply their research, analysis, and writing skills for their internship sponsors, which include many of the country’s most influential offices and organizations. The program includes on-campus classes before and after the internships, and requires a spring break trip to Washington. Participants come from every part of MIT, and apply their experience in a wide range of careers, from research to management to scientific policymaking. Check out some intern profiles below!
Gabriel Barrett, Urban Studies and Planning with Computer Science Major, ‘24
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
This past summer I worked with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) in their office of Transit Performance Management (PERF). The purpose of PERF is to monitor the performance of all of WMATA’s operations including the trains, buses, and internal departments. My main project was developing a tool that is able to automatically determine the estimated trip time between all pairs of rail stations. Previously, if any adjustment to the rail network was made, be it changes to headways (times between trains), station closures, or line rerouting, the PERF team would have to manually update the trip times between all the stations. The tool that I developed in R is able to represent the metro system as a graph and run shortest path algorithms to determine baseline expected travel times. Already, the tool has been used to benchmark rail trips to get a more accurate sense of train on-time performance.
This summer gave me a great sense of the ways that data science and algorithms can be applied to the field of planning. Getting to see this intersection of fields in a context outside of my normal academic work has helped reaffirm my appreciation for my major in course 11-6, and I am grateful to have gotten this opportunity.
Max Williamson, Dana Mead Intern, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, ‘22
Senator Chris Coons’ Office
As a member of Senator Coons’ foreign policy team, I had the opportunity to assist the Senator in his work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as the Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds foreign assistance. Throughout the summer, I tackled efforts to ensure global cobalt supply chain resiliency, combat the targeting of Chinese American academics in espionage cases, and increase USAID funding for neglected surgical conditions abroad. I was also frequently tasked with conducting research and writing memos for the Senator, as well as attending meetings with advocacy groups, ambassadors, and administration officials. At the same time, I was able to observe the unique relationship Congress shares with the Executive branch in shaping American foreign policy. While Members of Congress can seldom unilaterally drive foreign policy, our team was able to make substantive progress on key international issues through Senator Coons’ strong working relationship with the Biden administration.