How to find jobs and internships with social impact

If you’re looking for a mission-driven opportunity with social impact, your MIT community is ready to help. In this article, we’ll break down several ways to find social impact work, provide resources, and showcase student experiences.

Whether you’re an undergrad, grad student, or recent alum, consider this your jumping-off-point for resources, no matter your career interests.

Engaging in meaningful work while developing yourself 

As you make a difference through a social impact opportunity, you discover more about yourself and your career goals. Plus, if you choose to pursue an undergraduate- or graduate-level internship, you’ll get to translate your work in the classroom into real-world experience. 

The PKG Public Service Center has years of experience connecting students to internships, fellowships, and projects that promote social or environmental change. We’ll share more about their programs in the next section, but here’s what several of their students have gained personally through their Social Impact Internships:

Career Clarity 

“My time at [the NAACP Legal Defense Fund] solidified my hopes and dreams of becoming a lawyer one day. I really cherished looking at people who were working for civil rights every day. Nevertheless, watching the lawyers at LDF make significant moves in racial equality helped me see how powerful the law is.” – Obiageli “Oby” Nwodoh ‘21, Physics with a minor in Political Science

Expanded Perspective 

“This experience has expanded my perspective on how I would like to work with people, and it has shaped how I will be considering the social impacts of my contributions in the future.” – Julian Zulueta ‘23, Biological Engineering

Workplace Community 

“I really enjoyed my half year at MassHealth! I felt part of the team since Day One and did some of the most meaningful work of my life!” – Suki Zhang ‘22, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Professional Development 

“From this experience, I learned not only new skills in UI/UX, but also how to create technologies that are focused on user-centered design – i.e., the idea of designing with the target users’ specific behavior and psychology in mind.” – Katherine He ’24, Computer Science and Management

Read more stories on the PKG blog.

Undergrads: Find PKG Center opportunities 

What is the Social Impact Internship Program? 

The PKG Center’s Social Impact Internship Program connects MIT undergraduate students with paid internships that build students’ skills and support career exploration while working to address social or environmental change.

How do I find a PKG Center Social Impact Internship? 

There are still internships opportunities available for summer 2021, which you can find posted on Handshake. Watch this quick clip to learn how to find Social Impact Internships.

Employers are screening and interviewing students on a rolling basis, so apply now!

What kinds of internships are available? 

Social Impact Interns advance public interest work across the PKG Center’s thematic areas of health, climate change, and tech for social good with a focus on historically underrepresented communities. 

Some recent projects include:

The internship opportunities span a wide variety of industries, but here are a few examples:

  • Commodity Technology and Methodology Research Analyst at World Wildlife Fund
  • AI & Data Analytics Intern at Hope for Youth, Inc.
  • Equitable Entrepreneurship Summer Intern at Msaada Partners
  • Data Visualization Associate for Racial Justice at Liberty Hill Foundation
  • GIS Mapping Intern at Boston Preservation Alliance
  • Health Care Policy Intern at MassHealth
  • Coastal Resilience Program Intern at City of Miami Beach
  • Machine Learning Engineer Intern at Reboot Rx
  • Mechanical/Electrical Engineering Analyst at Build Health International

If you have any questions about the Social Impact Internship Program, you can learn more on the program webpage or reach out to the team at studentworker@mit.edu.

Grads, Undergrads, & Alumni: More opportunities and resources 

Though the PKG Center’s summer Social Impact Internships are for undergraduate students, there are a number of resources to help you find other social impact opportunities and full-time employment: 

In addition to the PKG Center, there are several MIT offices that also offer social impact opportunities:

You can find an interactive document of MIT offices and programs that touch on social impact HERE.

Be sure to check Handshake, MIT’s primary recruiting platform, as you will find opportunities that can be classified as service-learning submitted by nonprofit organizations. This includes a small number of unpaid opportunities that are approved because of nature of the organization and service-learning component. 

Lastly, we encourage students to also connect with student groups for community service opportunities within their interest areas including. Visit the MIT student organization directory to find the following sample of organizations and more. 

  • Code for Good 
  • Women’s Technology Program
  • SHINE for Girls 
  • Donor to Diner
  • Effective Altruism
  • MIT Divest

Have questions? Looking for support? 

If you have questions or want support for your job search, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! You can set up an appointment through Handshake with one of CAPD’s career advisors.

By Brian Hanna
Brian Hanna Employer Relations Coordinator Brian Hanna