Frequently Asked Questions
How can I learn more about the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program?
There are three ways to learn more about the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program:
- Attend an information session at your campus this fall. We are currently working to have at least one informational session at the following campuses this fall. More details will be released as they are confirmed this fall. Please check the Rappaport Institute website for updates and information.
- Contact Polly O'Brien at 617-495-5091 with any questions you might have.
- Explore the Public Policy Summer Fellowship pages for more detailed information. If you still have questions, please attend one of our information sessions or contact Polly O'Brien at 617-495-5091.
How do I know if I am eligible for Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program?
Graduate-level students who will continue with their studies in the 2021-22 academic year at local universities, such as Harvard University, MIT, Boston University, Suffolk University, Northeastern University, UMass Boston, Brandeis, Boston College, and Tufts University, who are studying in programs with public-policy implications for the Greater Boston metropolitan area or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are eligible for our program.
Students can come from a wide range of fields, including: architecture and design, business administration, economics, education, ethnic studies, divinity, engineering, environmental studies, geography, medicine, nursing, political science, public health, psychology, public policy, sociology, social work, urban policy and planning, and women's studies. Students from other disciplines are welcome to apply for internships as well, as long as their study somehow relates to public policy issues in Greater Boston. Law students are not eligible for the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program. But the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service runs a separate Rappaport program for law students at Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, New England School of Law, Northeastern, and Suffolk University. For more information, contact Lissy Medvedow, Executive Director, Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School.
What kind of projects can I work on in government as a Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow?
In the past students have worked on high profile and important public policy issues such as:
- creating a Pay-As-You-Throw program for the City of Somerville;
- working on drafting segments of legislative bills for the House and Senate on education, health care coverage, economic stimulus initiatives and mental health issues;
- working with the Office for Commonwealth Development to create an infrastructure and housing support program to support Transit Oriented Development;
- creating a Main Streets program for Union Square, Somerville and implementing a Farmers' Market for the area which began in 2005;
- writing a white paper on the Boston Public School's redistricting process;
- craft recommendations for a long-term plan concerning how the Department of Public Health and specifically the Violence and Injury Prevention Division address youth violence, as well as create plain language, publicly available resources concerning youth violence; and
- begin implementing the CitiStat accountability model in Somerville City Hall.
If you are still stuck on what options are available to you, you can either attend an information session this fall or contact Polly O'Brien at 617-495-5091 with specific questions.
Do I have to know what type of project I want to work on this summer?
No, you do not have to have a specific project in mind while applying to the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellows Program. We do ask for some general indication of the types of agencies, such as the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the City of Somerville's Mayors Office, or the Department of Social Services, and the types of projects you are interested in, such as transit-oriented development, environmental justice in urban areas, economic development. If you are still stuck on what options are available to you, you can either attend an information session this fall or contact Polly O'Brien at 617-495-5091 with specific questions.
When is the application for the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program due?
Applications are due at the Rappaport Institute offices by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 15, 2021. Applications may be mailed, faxed to 617-496-1722 or hand-delivered to the Rappaport Institute offices in Room 312 on the 3rd floor of the Taubman Building, Kennedy School of Government. The Taubman Building is located at 15 Eliot Street in Harvard Square next to the Charles Hotel. We do not accept emailed applications. If you will be out of the country or out of the Boston area, please make sure you finish you application before you leave or fax it to 617-496-1722.
What information do I have to submit in my application for the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program?
Applications should include
- A cover letter, addressed to Ms. Polly O'Brien, Associate Director of the Rappaport Institute, that includes a list of issues and public agencies that interest you;
- A resume;
- A statement of two to three pages that describes an public policy issue or issues that you would be interested in working on, why the issue interests you and some preliminary thoughts on a project for the summer; and
- A writing sample, three to five pages in length, from any work that represents your ability to explore complex policy issues.
Please submit your application on single-sided paper with a paper clip (PLEASE DO NOT STAPLE OR PUT IN A FOLDER) and a footer in the lower right corner of each page that states your name and “Fellowship Program.”
Applications should be sent to:
Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston
Kennedy School of Government
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Applications are due by January 15, 2021.
How many people apply each year for the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program?
Roughly 100 students apply each year for the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellows Program. Thirty-four applications continue are chosen by Rappaport Institute staff and submitted to a review committee of local academics, Rappaport Institute Advisory Board members and others. The review committee meets in February and selects up to twenty finalists and four alternates for the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellows Program. Finalists are given two weeks to confirm their participation in the program. If a finalist needs to depart the program, alternates will be added to the final group.
How many people are accepted to the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program each summer?
Up to twenty students are accepted to the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program each summer. Four alternates are also chosen by our review committee in case one or more students needs to depart the program. Generally, 100 students apply for the program each year.
When does the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program start and end?
The start and end dates of the Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program are flexible. Most of our students begin in June and work ten-weeks until mid-August. The actual start and end date are agreed upon by the student and their employer. During the summer, the Rappaport Institute will host eight seminars, which fellows are expected to attend. The Rappaport Institute begins their summer sessions in June and holds eight meetings. Our final dinner is generally in late July or early August. However, Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellows can wrap up their work before the sessions end in July.
Can I work at a non-profit agency as a Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow?
No, Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellows are not allowed to work at non-profit agencies. Only government agencies are eligible to host Rappaport Public Policy Fellows.
Can I work at a federal agency as a Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program?
Yes, Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellows can work at federal agencies AS LONG AS the work they are doing directly applies to public policy issues in the Greater Boston area.
Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to be a Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow Program?
No, you do not have to be a U.S. citizen to be a Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow. However, you must hold a valid student Visa.
Do you have to meet the residency requirements for the city or town you are working in?
No. Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellows do not have to reside in the city of Boston or meet residency requirements of other municipalities.
Who are some of the other Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellows?
In previous years, past fellows have worked on a diverse range of projects that include: school reform plans, environmental risk assessment, public-private partnerships, community development projects, performance-management systems, racial bias in the juvenile justice system, health coverage for foster children, and reduction plans for greenhouse gases. You may also take a look at our list of Current Fellows.
How much money will I receive as a Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow?
Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellows receive a stipend of $7000 for the summer. Fellows work 10-weeks at a state or local agency, participate in a weekly seminar series with leading practitioners and scholars, and are required to produce briefing documents for their host agency, complete a survey for the Rappaport Institute, and submit a one paragraph description for the Institute's website.
What are my responsibilities as a Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellow?
The fellowships offer up to twenty graduate students paid, 10-week summer internships in key state and local agencies in the Greater Boston area. Fellows also participate in a weekly seminar series with leading practitioners and scholars and are required to produce briefing documents for their host agency, complete a survey for the Rappaport Institute, and submit a one paragraph description for the Institute's website. Fellows receive a $7000 stipend.
For more information
For more information, please contact Polly O'Brien at 617-495-5091.