CISS and WID Launch Social Science Summer Writing Internship Program (SWIP)

This article was written by Rayea Jain (COM’26), the social science writing intern at the CAS Communications Office.

The Center for Innovation in Social Science (CISS) has launched a pilot Social Science Summer Writing Internship Program (SWIP) in collaboration with the Writing in the Disciplines (WID) program. This program, funded by the Psalm 103 Foundation and College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Advisory Board member Jennifer Simpson (CAS’00), provides hands-on writing experience and a weekly seminar for undergraduates eager to hone their skills in social science writing. Students also earn a stipend for their participation.

For a nine-week period spanning June through August 2024, five undergraduate students in the inaugural cohort – Mika Yao (CAS’ 25), Nathaniel Clizbe (CAS’25), Anne Joseph (CAS’25), Devin Rauscher (CAS’26), and Rayea Jain (COM’26) –  will be placed at one of four research institutes on campus: the Center for Innovation in Social Science, the Center on Forced Displacement, the Center for Mind & Culture, and the College of Arts and Sciences Communications Office. 

Deborah Carr, CISS Director and A&S Distinguished Professor of Sociology, stated that SWIP will “provide outstanding BU undergraduates with hands-on writing experience while at the same time helping disseminate the fascinating research being carried out by our faculty, postdocs, graduate student and undergraduate researchers in the social sciences.” 

David Shawn, SWIP Program Director and WIP Associate Director, expressed that SWIP was designed to help students learn and “understand how social science research is communicated in popular formats, like TedTalks, podcasts, social media, and op-eds.” 

Throughout the summer, each intern will produce and publish multimedia content on their site’s research and outreach activities. Depending on their site’s needs, students will be assigned BU undergraduate, graduate, post-doctorate, and faculty research to report on. Each intern will also be supervised by one of the site’s administrators – Deborah Carr and Shannon Landis (center administrator) at CISS, Carrie Preston (Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)  at CFD, Rachel Bacon (Postdoctoral Fellow) at CMC, and Sydney Gross (Assistant Dean for Communications) at CAS. These faculty will work with the students on-site to guide their reporting and oversee their publications. 

The internship is the centerpiece of the program, which Shawn envisioned as “expand[ing social science] work beyond the traditional classroom experience.”  

Aside from on-site social science reporting and writing, the interns will attend weekly 90-minute writing workshops led by Dr. Stephen Hodin, SWIP Coordinator and Writing Program Senior Lecturer. 

Modeled after BU graduate programs, the weekly workshop will evaluate successful social science publications and help students polish their independent writing projects. These workshops aim to encourage collaboration and build professional portfolios. 

“We want our interns to see that making a difference in the world requires being able to tell important stories using the wide range of genres that are familiar to the diverse audiences we aim to reach,” explained Shawn.