This fall, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society launched its third annual Assembly Student Fellowship cohort, bringing together 19 exceptional undergraduate and graduate students from across Harvard to explore the complex challenges of disinformation. The student fellowship program is part of Assembly, a multidisciplinary learning and teaching initiative that gathers people both inside and outside Harvard around quickly-emerging issues in technology policy. This year’s fully-virtual program tackles disinformation on online platforms, looking at a diverse range of problem areas, including election security, health misinformation, and racialized influence campaigns.
This year’s student cohort draws from ten Harvard schools, including Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, whose students are immersed in law, policy, medicine, engineering, public health, media, public diplomacy, and religious studies. Based at the Berkman Klein Center, the Student Fellowship is supported by a diverse network of Harvard faculty and staff from across the University, including faculty and staff from the HBS Digital Initiative and the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy.
In this year’s program, students connect virtually through a year-long tailored seminar series, led by experts from academia, journalism, government, and industry. Following each expert seminar, small groups of student fellows design and lead cohort-wide discussion activities to process, discuss, and connect the talk to their disciplines. This fall, students are learning from experts and practitioners from the Berkman Klein Center, First Draft News, the Brennan Center for Justice, and Buzzfeed News.
Previous students have described the program as “one of the highlights” of their year, noting in particular that guest speakers share a wealth of insights and knowledge, and that the fellowship creates a community of extraordinary students with shared intellectual interests from across the University.
In addition to the student fellowship, the Assembly program, led by Professor Jonathan Zittrain, charters a cohort of professional fellows, as well as the Assembly Forum, an expert discussion group. The student fellowship is designed and organized by Hilary Ross, Sarah Newman, and Zenzele Best, with support from the Assembly staff team and BKC faculty, staff, and the broader community.
“As we see the impacts of a fractured media and information ecosystem, it is heartening to convene and learn with an amazing group of students keen to understand and contribute to solving disinformation problems in the public interest,” says Hilary Ross, who manages Assembly. “I am so thrilled to welcome this amazing group of students to the program and to the Berkman Klein Center.”
The Berkman Klein Center welcomes the following students as part of the 2020-2021 Assembly Student Fellowship:
Nicholas Anway, Harvard Kennedy School & Harvard Law School
Isabella Berkley, Harvard Law School
Leonie Bolte, Harvard Kennedy School
Teresa Datta, Harvard John A. Paulsen School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Yong Li (Emily) Dich, Harvard College
Samuel Doernberg, Harvard Medical School
Rachel Gibian, Harvard Divinity School
Olivia Graham, Harvard College
Mark Haidar, Harvard Kennedy School & Harvard Law School
Katherine Lou, Harvard College
Jin Park, Harvard Medical School
Abtsam Saleh, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Arushi Saxena, Harvard Graduate School of Design
David Stansbury, Harvard Kennedy School
Randle Steinbeck, Harvard College
Paul Tembo, Harvard John A. Paulsen School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Valentina Vargas, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health