Kevin Frazier
Apr 9 · 4 min read

Our field scan of PIT-related activity revealed 17 potential entry points for students eager to take their first foray into PIT. These opportunities take place across the University and range from undergraduate and graduate courses to programs comprised of members of nearly every Harvard school.

This list is not exhaustive.

One path to PIT. Courtesy of Wiki Commons.

There’s no linear pursuit to PIT. That’s why we encourage students to check out several of these options over their time at Harvard rather than feel like they have to select the perfect PIT path.

When available, we’ve hyperlinked each course and program to their homepages so that students can do further research into what PIT opportunities most align with their interests and technical background.

Please let us know if you have any questions about the opportunities listed below. Please also feel free to tell us about other PIT entry points that we have missed.

Beyond engaging in formal PIT opportunities, we’d also encourage Harvard community members to actively seek out friends and colleagues on the opposite side of the tech-centricity axis.

For example, if you’re an expert programmer, consider introducing yourself to a group of students engaged in advocacy, and vice versa. When the diversity of perspectives inherent to PIT becomes personal that’s a sign of true interdisciplinary thinking. As you get to know folks on the “other side of the line” reach out to us with anecdotes of how your perspective shifts and interests change.

COURSES:

Data Science to Save the World

  • Latanya Sweeney, GOV 2430, FAS
  • The course uses a policy perspective and fosters an understanding of data science for policy and social solutions.
  • No technical prerequisites but does impart basic data science skills.

Transforming Education Through Emerging Technologies

  • Chris Dede, EDU T561, GSE
  • Prioritizes an educational perspective to investigate using new technology in the classroom.
  • No technical prerequisites but targeted at HUGSE students.

Digital Government, Technology, Policy, and Public Service Innovation

  • David Eaves, DPI-662, HKS
  • Analyzes the integration of technology into government using a policy perspective.
  • No technical prerequisites.

Critical Thinking in Data Science

  • Jim Waldo, APCOMP 221, SEAS
  • Through a data science perspective the course develops an understanding of ethical issues in data science.
  • Prerequisite CS109A or an introductory data science course.

Internet and Society: The Technologies and Politics of Control

  • Jonathan Zittrain and Jordi Weinstock, COMPSCI 90nbr, HLS, FAS, HKS
  • With a mix of legal/policy/ethics perspectives the course looks at the Internet and its implications for society.
  • No technical prerequisites.

Public Health in Action: Strategies for Policy, Advocacy, and Communication

  • Mary Jean Brown, SBS 211, Chan
  • Starting from a public health perspective this course aims to help students understand health care policy.
  • No technical prerequisites.

Health Law, Policy, and Bioethics

  • Aaron Kesselheim and Brendan Abel, BETH 705, HMS
  • Starting from a medical perspective to deepen students’ knowledge of ethical and policy frameworks.
  • No technical prerequisites but intended for medical students.

Practical Solutions For Technology’s Public Dilemmas

  • Ash Carter, IGA 505, HKS
  • Students use a policy perspective. The course aims to develop an understanding of the governance of technology.
  • No technical prerequisites.

Intelligent Systems: Design and Ethical Challenges

  • Barbara Grosz, CS108, SEAS
  • Comes from a computer science perspective and focuses on ethics of AI.
  • Assumes basic programming ability.

Data and Democracy

  • Alma Steingart, HISTSCI 188V, FAS
  • Incorporates a history of science perspective to explore the use of data in democracies.
  • No technical prerequisites.

PROGRAMS/EVENTS:

TechTopia

  • Techtopia is a multidisciplinary research and teaching initiative that brings together Harvard students and faculty around the biggest issues in tech today.

Harvard Data Science Review

  • The Harvard Data Science Review is a journal edited by the Harvard Data Science Initiative. Consider collaborating with a colleague to publish research in this exciting new publication.

Public Interest Technology Summit

  • An annual summit hosted by digital HKS that is open to anyone who cares about digital tech and the public interest as it relates to services, ethics, equity, data, and more.

Assembly program at the Berkman Klein Center & MIT Media Lab

  • A program that gathers developers, managers, and tech industry professionals for a rigorous spring term course on internet policy and a twelve-week collaborative development period to explore hard problems with running code.

HBS Future Assembly

  • Future Assembly provides a topic agnostic space for academic and practitioners to exchange ideas around new or emerging technologies. The uniting factor? A commitment to spotting the future.

Bench-to-Business Bootcamp

  • The Bench-to-Business Boot Camp, hosted by Harvard’s Office of Technology Development, is a two-day workshop on February 1 and 2 for Harvard PhD students and postdocs, designed to teach you the skills to recognize and convey the value of scientific and technological innovations to the world of industry, business, and entrepreneurship.

Harvard i-lab
The Harvard i-lab is a resource available to all current students from any Harvard school who is looking to explore innovation and entrepreneurship at any stage.

  • The Harvard i-lab is a resource available to all current students from any Harvard school who is looking to explore innovation and entrepreneurship at any stage.
  • The i-lab provides all the physical and intellectual resources current Harvard students need to develop and grow, including one-to-one advising, office hours with industry experts, workshops, an incubator program, and a competition.

(@hks_digital @daeaves @kevintfrazier #PublicInterestTech)

digital HKS

digital HKS; exploring the relationship between digital technology and governance as they relate to digital government services

Kevin Frazier

Written by

Student at the Harvard Kennedy School and UC Berkeley School of Law. Apolitical Contributing Author.

digital HKS

digital HKS; exploring the relationship between digital technology and governance as they relate to digital government services

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