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BKC Summer Institute teaches students about critical areas of Internet & society

BKC Summer Institute teaches students about critical areas of Internet & society

Four-week educational program to take deep dive into AI principles and practice

A cohort of 23 undergraduate and graduate students from around the world will embark on a four-week educational experience through the Berkman Klein Center’s new Summer Institute, a fully online program that focuses on AI Policy and Inclusion, Media and Content Moderation, and Information for Decision Makers.

Beginning on July 6, the student participants will virtually connect to learn, get hands-on experience, and explore areas of interest through activities including lectures, readings, individual activities, group discussions, and engagement with BKC scholars. The program is led by Lis Sylvan, the Managing Director of BKC, and Educational Programs Manager Lance Eaton, with support from BKC faculty, staff, and the broader community. 

The Summer Institute was conceptualized in fall 2019 as a new educational opportunity for students to learn about pressing, real-world topics from BKC experts and project teams. The unforeseen cancellation of BKC’s competitive Internship program due to COVID-19 proved an opportunity to create the scaffolding of the virtual Summer Institute, with BKC project teams providing ideas and content from which to scope the syllabus. The pilot came to fruition in just a few months’ time. 

“Since we had the Summer Institute model in mind already, we realized that accelerating its launch could provide students with a rich and meaningful experience this summer,” Sylvan said, “which felt particularly important given that the academic year ended so unexpectedly. In these tumultuous times, it’s as critical as ever to build bridges and community.”

BKC has a proven track record of designing, implementing, and scaling programs such as the Fellowship program and Assembly program, which convene interdisciplinary cohorts and open spaces for important discussions. These programs, and now the Summer Institute, are opportunities to bring new people into the far-reaching BKC network and equip participants with educational tools, resources, and new ideas that they can bring with them as they pursue their careers or academic degree programs. 

The Summer Institute participants this year, for instance, come from academic programs in computer science, law, journalism, media studies, communications, public administration, sociology, architecture and design, mathematics, philosophy, political science, history, and economics. They join the program from Australia, Brazil, Canada. France, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The topics covered in the Summer Institute will vary on an annual basis. This year, the topics—AI Policy and Inclusion, Media and Content Moderation, and Information for Decision Makers—stem from ongoing BKC research initiatives and will be facilitated by BKC project teams and community members. Topics will rotate on a weekly basis, and participants will have the opportunity to identify specific areas of interest for further exploration for a group final project under the guidance of members of the BKC community.

“Our aim with the Summer Institute pilot is to create a new way for students to learn about important issues and build an interdisciplinary network, while also connecting with members of the BKC community from around the world who can lend topical expertise but also mentorship and career guidance to these outstanding students,” said Eaton. “One of the many affordances of this virtual program is the ability to engage with people across the world, including the student participants and BKC community members involved in the program.” 

BKC is thrilled to welcome the following participants as the inaugural cohort for the Summer Institute:

  • Luísa Adib Dino, Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society 
  • Isabela Ines Bernardino de Souza, Silva Federal University of Pernambuco
  • Isha Bhallamudi, University of California Irvine
  • Jessica (Jess) Blumentha, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Colleen Chen, Australian National University
  • Dylan Doyle-Burke, University of Denver
  • Janna Huang, Stanford University
  • Raquel Esther Jorge Ricart, George Washington University
  • Martyna Kalvaityte, Sciences Po Paris
  • Trent Kannegieter, Yale College
  • Karen Kennedy, Harvard University
  • Jenny Lee, Georgetown University
  • Lily Liu, Stanford University
  • Erika Ly, University of Sydney
  • Suvradip Maitra, University of Queensland
  • Ashley Mehra, University of Cambridge
  • Bijal Mehta, Northwestern University
  • Chenab Navalkha, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ana Qarri, McGill University
  • Luca Righetti, University of Cambridge
  • Cierra Robson, Harvard University
  • Moe Sunami, Pomona College
  • Junnan Yu, University of Colorado Boulder

For more information about the Summer Institute, visit this page.