Rita Allen Foundation Social Impact Fellowship

Fellowship Description

The Rita Allen Foundation seeks a GradFUTURES Fellow to landscape international civic science career opportunities. Through this work, the Fellow would build on the momentum of the recently released Civic Science Career Roadmap and catalyze a boundary-spanning, international “network of networks” of early-career leaders to advance the well-being of humanity through civic science—a cross-cutting approach to accelerate learning, inclusion, and impact to ensure that science and evidence help to inform solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

The vision for civic science has been shaped in conversation with many thinkers and doers—captured in part through the Stanford Social Science Innovation Review articles “The Civic Science Imperative” and “How Science Philanthropy Can Build Equity,” co-authored by colleagues in this work, including Rita Allen GradFUTURES Fellow host Elizabeth Christopherson, Brooke Smith of the Kavli Foundation, and Dietram A. Scheufele of the University of Wisconsin.

Through this experience, the Social Impact Fellow will collaborate with a dynamic team and lean into the expertise of our robust network of practitioners, researchers, and professionals to develop a landscape analysis and accompanying thought piece to further develop the growing landscape of international civic science careers. The Fellow will contribute to cutting-edge literature on opportunities for international civic science networks, building on momentum from the Civic Science Career Roadmap.

Because much of the current civic science network is US-based, there exists a ripe opportunity to build international networks for civic science careers. The landscape analysis will fill a critical gap in the civic science career pipeline as the field continues to grow.

Fellowship Opportunities

Core to the ethos of civic science is valuing different ways of knowing and doing; we would appreciate the opportunity to work with a student of any academic background across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities who has an interest in the civic role of scientific expertise in solving societal problems. The Fellow should be a strong researcher and writer, able to summarize complex topics, work cohesively across varied and disparate topics, and collaborate with a team to understand this emerging field better.

The Social Impact Fellow will become part of a local team, with a significant opportunity to engage with this team in our office space, located within walking distance from Princeton University. Locally, the Fellow will also have opportunities to meet with Elizabeth Christopherson, President and CEO of the Rita Allen Foundation.

The broad team also extends into a large local, national, and international Civic Science Fellowship network, passionate about the connections between science and the future challenges our society will face. Thought leaders who the Fellow may have the opportunity interface with include Fanuel Muindi, founder and Chief Resident of the Sai Resident Collective and developer of Training Initiatives for Scientists in Public Engagement Dashboard and Joyce W. Yen, Director of the University of Washington’s ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change, who has developed peer circles as one of many tools she shares to build relationships for problem-solving to support individuals in their careers and create cultural change.


Key Questions

  • What might boundary-spanning look like across nations?
  • What international sectors, fields, and kinds of problems most need civic science professionals now and in the future?
  • Where is there already “demand” for civic science skills and expertise internationally?

Possible Deliverables

  • An appendix / section of the career roadmap
  • A landscape analysis of international civic science career opportunities
  • A database housed in Airtable of key international civic science career opportunities
  • An article/op-ed about the need/ opportunities for advancing and networking civic science careers on an international scale


Your Host

Rita Allen Foundation logo

Rita Allen Foundation invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. It enables early-career biomedical scholars to do pioneering research, seeds innovative approaches to fostering informed civic engagement, and develops knowledge and networks to build the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector. Throughout its work, the Foundation embraces collaboration, creativity, learning, and leadership. 

SIF Mentor

Elizabeth Christopherson
President and CEO, Rita Allen Foundation

Elizabeth Christopherson is President and CEO of the Rita Allen Foundation, an organization that invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. Elizabeth is guiding the Foundation through a period of rapid expansion fostering new partnerships, practices, and knowledge to enable inclusive democratic engagement with science and our shared civic life. Before joining Rita Allen in 2009, Elizabeth was the first female Executive Director of New Jersey’s public broadcasting network (NJN).

Current & Former SIF Fellows & Mentors

Jonathan Aguirre, GS, SPO
Vice President, User Experience Research Lead, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Participant, American Higher Ed & Ethics of AI Learning Cohorts & Professional Development Working Group Member
Clio Hall Award Recipient
Karina Alexanyan
Director of Strategy, All Tech is Human
Social Impact Fellowship Mentor
Genevieve Allotey-Pappoe, GS, MUS
University Administrative Fellow
Social Impact Fellow
Scott Alpizar
Director of Venture Commercialization, Foundation Venture Capital Group
Social Impact Fellowship Mentor
Megan Armknecht, GS, HIS
Summer Intern, Bureau of Bureau of Public Affairs/ Office of the Historian in Washington D.C
Pierre Azou, GS, FIT
Social Impact Fellow
Yuzhou Bai *23, EAS
Professional Development Associate 2019-21
Social Impact Fellow
Clio Hall Award Recipient
Rebecca Bengoechea
Senior International Rights Manager, Princeton University Press
Social Impact Fellowship Mentor