EA Internship & Research Opportunities for Undergraduates

post by emmawilliamson, sabrinac (sabrinachwalek) · 2021-12-06T02:18:44.125Z · EA · GW · 16 comments


  Overview of Project
  Why this may be valuable: 

TLDR: We're building a high-impact internship board aimed at helping undergraduate EAs build skills in relevant fields. We’re using internship here as a catchall term to include anything that might occur over the summer (aimed at undergraduates). This can include bootcamps, fellowships, research programs, volunteer roles, or other similar opportunities. 

Please submit any relevant internships or opportunities for undergraduates (both at EA and non-EA orgs) here

Emma Williamson and Sabrina Chwalek are the main organizers for this project. Please reach out to both of us if you have questions or suggestions for how to improve this project. Email us at emma123@stanford.edu and sabrina_chwalek@brown.edu.

[Note: We expect our website to be up in two weeks.]

Overview of Project

Why this may be valuable: 


Thanks to Michel Justen, Lenni Justen, Emma Dolan, Adam Krivka, Patricio Ortiz, Sanat Singhal, Danya Adib, and Mason Zhang for their help with this project. 


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Zach Stein-Perlman (zsp) · 2021-12-06T03:24:39.636Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

This sounds good; thanks for doing it. A comment:

Please submit any relevant internships or opportunities for undergraduates (both at EA and non-EA orgs) here.

It seems odd that you're crowdsourcing submissions and that you don't share which opportunities you're already aware of — many people filling out your form could waste time by submitting information on the same role or a role you're already aware of. In particular, I don't currently expect that it would be worthwhile for me to share roles through the form, since there's very likely no counterfactual effect. And you should be

  • checking/emailing most EA and related organizations, and
  • checking all of the existing EA internship boards you can find

anyway to get information on whatever summer programs they'll have, so any submissions on roles you'd have found anyway would be wasted. So I urge you to search exhaustively for roles and share a list of roles you're aware of before asking for submissions.

(Additionally, you could reduce time wasted by overlapping submissions and increase people's willingness to contribute by allowing people to just submit a few links rather than so many details.)

Replies from: sabrinachwalek, michaelchen
comment by sabrinac (sabrinachwalek) · 2021-12-07T01:05:21.426Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hi Zach, 

Thanks for the comments! I agree that we should minimize time wasted on submitting overlapping submissions. We're going to publish our website within a week or two so then it'll be clear what opportunities we have listed and which ones would be valuable to submit. (We've been reaching out to organizations and scraping through any databases/existing resources/websites.)  Otherwise, you can view our airtable so it's clear what we've already found. 

And I removed most of the fields in the form per your feedback :)

Replies from: zsp
comment by Zach Stein-Perlman (zsp) · 2021-12-07T01:11:36.708Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Cool. I'm excited about what you've found, I'll submit any roles for undergraduates I know of that aren't yet on your airtable, and I look forward to sharing your website with my college group when it's ready!

comment by mic (michaelchen) · 2021-12-06T23:14:00.949Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

(Additionally, you could reduce time wasted by overlapping submissions and increase people's willingness to contribute by allowing people to just submit a few links rather than so many details.)

The fields in the form are all optional (or at least now they are), so you could just submit a link.

comment by MichaelA · 2021-12-06T13:58:08.720Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

One resource you might find helpful is my List of EA-aligned research training programs.

I'd also be very happy for you to either "own" that spreadsheet (i.e. be responsible for keeping it up to date and making any structural changes you think would be useful) or create something that supersedes it. I continue to update it when I stumble upon relevant things, but I don't make active efforts, and I'm in general happy for other people to take ownership of collections I originally made (since there are many of them spanning many topics). 

comment by Tessa (tessa) · 2021-12-06T03:37:39.084Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I messed around making an Airtable of biosecurity-related early-career opportunities earlier this year, more or less for my own reference.

Here's a link, which might be of interest both from a data design perspective and because you might not have all of the internships listed there (though note that it lists a bunch of non-internship things as well): https://airtable.com/shr1WyRk3o9PdbbIl

Replies from: sabrinachwalek
comment by sabrinac (sabrinachwalek) · 2021-12-07T02:26:14.468Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you so much! We'll make sure to add those. 

comment by Tessa (tessa) · 2021-12-06T03:34:10.372Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

One thing that's a bit unclear to me from the form: is this more of a job board, or more of a list of regularly-occurring internships?

(If job board, some Boreal-summer internships I'd think to link will not be posted yet; if list of orgs / programs that regularly host internships, then the "Application Deadline" would be a time of year rather than a specific date.)

Replies from: sabrinachwalek
comment by sabrinac (sabrinachwalek) · 2021-12-07T02:25:34.291Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

It's more of a job board since we're only publishing active opportunities, but if you submit any reoccurring opportunities that'll be offered later in the year we'll make sure to add those once they're active! 

comment by kirstenangeles · 2021-12-07T06:13:19.278Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Great that you’re doing this!

comment by Lakin (ChrisLakin) · 2021-12-08T21:23:14.555Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

The 'Education status' part of the form linked seems vague to me. E.g. Does "Who is this opportunity open to?: Undergraduate" mean in undergrad or to hold a bachelors? Moreover, what does "Recent Grad" mean? 

Replies from: tessa
comment by Tessa (tessa) · 2021-12-09T07:00:18.280Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

+1, distinguishing between "No degree requirement", "Bachelors", "Masters" all would be helpful. You could borrow from the 80k board and separate out the "Academic Degree" requirements from the "Relevant Experience" requirements (e.g. "< 1 Year", "1-2 years", "2 or more years")

comment by Coleman@21stTalks · 2021-12-09T18:25:01.514Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hi! This is a super interesting idea and I am incredibly grateful you're doing it!


I am a science communicator for existential risk and effective altruism and my audience is made up mostly of undergraduates who are interested in EA and X-Risk. I would absolutely love to let my audience know about your internship board once it is live or work and help you all out in any way I can to get information out there on it! 

Furthermore, I would be super happy to have the heads of your project on the podcast for a brief chat about the obstacles young people face to getting into the field for upcoming videos on the topic! 

Replies from: casebash
comment by Chris Leong (casebash) · 2021-12-20T16:03:32.599Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

In what venue are you doing this science communication? Is it online or in person?

comment by Lakin (ChrisLakin) · 2021-12-08T21:25:33.802Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

On the form linked it might be nice to ask for some kind of rough expiration date. I.e. how long is this opportunity relevant-- a few days, a few months, indefinitely? This way hopefully you can automate the upkeep a bit.

Also would be great to turn this into a newsletter

comment by Harrison Durland (Harrison D) · 2021-12-08T14:52:59.907Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I had a few potential suggestions, but I was unsure of whether they fit the board’s scope, since they aren’t EA. The thing is, I have often thought (and told some people) that I wish I could have given advice to my younger self regarding: 1) having a portfolio of competitiveness (e.g., deliberately including more lower-tier/less-competitive positions even if they aren’t really what I’d love to do) rather than mainly focusing on applying to positions I’d really like to get (but which happened to also be very competitive, and none of which I got my first year); 2) Building a portfolio of specific types of work skills/experiences that I can tailor to later applications (e.g., data collection/analysis, editing, independent research, daily summaries, administrative work).

All of that is to say: if you aren’t already planning to, I would recommend going beyond simply providing a list of high-impact, high-competition positions that people like younger me probably would have looked at and said “I’ll focus on applying for these positions,” only to end up being systemically under-qualified/competitive. For example, I think that also providing advice about application portfolios and skill/experience portfolios would be quite helpful to people who are in a similar situation as I was.