Summer Internships at HKS: Dukakis Fellowship

Summer Internships at HKS: Dukakis Fellowship


One of the summer internship options available to Harvard Kennedy School students is the Michael S. Dukakis Governors’ Summer Fellowship Program. The Dukakis Fellowship allows HKS students to serve in U.S. governors’ offices for 10 weeks between the first and second years of their master’s degree program.

Through the fellowship, HKS students get an up-close look at

the challenges and opportunities at the highest levels of state government.

Fellows apply their leadership and analytic skills to tackle

critical state-level policy issues in health care, education, economic

development, public safety, budgeting, and beyond.

Since it began in 2007, 140 fellows, 38 U.S. states, and 55

different governors have participated in the Dukakis Summer Fellowship Program.

Learn more about past participants’ experiences.

Naintara (Tara) Rajan MPA 2022/Stanford GSB MBA 2021: Governor’s

Office of Connecticut

What did you work on?
This summer, I worked primarily on two initiatives: First,

ensuring that adult-use cannabis (legalized in the early days of my summer!) is

rolled out in an equitable and safe manner by supporting the newly created

Social Equity Council, and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction

Services. Second, I worked with the Department of Education on the Free

Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Challenge, aiming to increase FAFSA

completion rates—a key predictor of post-secondary education attendance—in

Connecticut high schools.

Austin Batson MPP 2022: Governor’s

Office of Utah

What did you work on?
My work this summer touched on so many different facets of

Utah public education. My three main projects involved mapping Utah’s education

data landscape, identifying strategies to increase educator diversity, and

evaluating the strengths of weaknesses of state-level school governance. In

addition to those projects, I worked with a cross-governmental team on

demystifying Utah’s school funding formulas and potential strategies for

property tax equalization. As a member of the governor’s team, I often served

as a coordinator between agencies with statutory authority.

In pursuit of these goals, I attended statewide

superintendent conferences, visited Utah institutes of higher education, hosted

small stakeholder meetings with the governor and lieutenant governor, planned

how to use federal COVID-19 relief funding, worked with state legislators and

fiscal analysts, and so much more.

Amanda Jaffe MPP 2022: Governor’s Office of Missouri

What did you work on?
I worked on the creation of the state’s new Office of

Childhood. Previously, programs for children in Missouri were operated under

three different agencies but will now be overseen by a single department. Enhancing

early childhood education is a priority of the governor, and this

reorganization will help streamline services and improve outcomes.