Undergraduate Research Internship Program

How to Apply

To apply for CESTA's 2023 URI program, you will need to upload the following documents to our application portal:

  • A completed application form (download form)

  • A statement of interest

  • A resume

More detailed instructions are provided on our application portal.

Go to application portal

Note: If you have previously interned at CESTA and would like to intern with us again, please submit a new application. The application form will ask about your previous experience with CESTA.

CESTA's Undergraduate Research Internship program empowers students to apply technologies across the Humanities and Social Sciences in ways that enhance our understanding of the world.

As Stanford's digital humanities center, CESTA cultivates research at the intersection of computing, design, and the humanities. The Center utilizes digital and computational methods to investigate cultural records, objects, and historical phenomena through space and time. CESTA projects explore the history of technologies, preserve and explain the written and artistic records of peoples across the world, and bring new life to the stories of individuals who helped build America.

The Undergraduate Research Internship provides opportunities for undergraduates to work on these projects throughout the academic year. Through structured research training, experimentation with cutting-edge technologies, and faculty mentorship, students develop valuable academic and professional skill sets. Work on lab projects allows students to apply their developing expertise in data science, GIS, and web development in tandem with humanities skills in critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and ethical decision-making.

You can read about the experiences of recent interns in CESTA's 2022 Research Anthology.

Fundamentals of the Program

In the 2022-23 academic year, students will have the option of two program terms: Winter and Spring (a two-quarter part-time internship) or Summer (a one-quarter full-time internship). All CESTA internships are in-person. Applicants may apply to one or both of these programs. Applications for both program terms will open in early November 2022.

The deadline for Summer applications is Friday, March 24, 2023 11:59 pm Pacific Time. Offer letters will be distributed before the end of April 2023. 

Summer 2023

  • June 26 through September 1, 2023 (10 weeks)
  • Full-time commitment (40 hours per week)
  • Participate for academic credit or a stipend ($7500)
  • Regular in-person program sessions at CESTA (meetings with the full cohort of research interns)
  • Full-time interns will work in-person in the CESTA space, and there will be a program of social events and activities

All research interns are compensated for their participation in the program. Compensation can take the form of academic credit, stipend, or hourly pay. Interns will receive information about their specific arrangement in their offer letters. Students who qualify for Federal Work-Study awards in 2022-23 should let us know about their eligibility at the time that they apply. Students offered positions supported by VPUE stipends are required to complete a Student Contract prior to participating in our program.

For more information, check out our frequently asked questions!

Research Projects Available for 2022-23

The Church of Baghdad

How does our understanding of Christianity shift when we recognize that for over half its history Christianity’s geographic center was not Rome, nor even Constantinople, but rather Baghdad? My work explores this question through an examination of the pre-modern world’s most expansive church, the Church of the East (often known as the Nestorian or the Assyrian Church). Stretching from Turkey, throughout the Middle East, across Afghanistan, down to India, up to Tibet, and into China, the Church of the East provides one of the richest examples of early globalism and Christian-Muslim encounters. Its adherents, however, usually wrote in a dialect of Aramaic called Syriac which only a handful of modern scholars can read. As a result, the Church of the East appears only rarely in modern scholarship. My current book project, The Church of Baghdad, challenges modern perceptions of pre-modern religion by asking two interrelated questions: What changes if global Christianity actually began centuries earlier than commonly imagined?  What must we change if our understanding of the increasingly popular phrase “the global middle ages” simply isn’t big enough to accommodate first millennium Christianity?  To explore these issues, the project centers on a corpus of recently published letters from Timothy I, the person who—quite literally—brought the Church of the East to Baghdad.

After his predecessor’s poisoning in 780, Timothy was one of four competing candidates to head the Church of the East. Allegedly bribing fellow-clergy but later not paying-up, Timothy’s election led to a two-year schism. Despite such an unpropitious start, by the time of his death in 823, Timothy had become his church’s most successful patriarch. Timothy forged ties with five successive Muslim caliphs, wrote about the discovery of ancient Hebrew biblical texts near Jericho that sound surprisingly like the Dead Sea Scrolls, accompanied a Muslim military campaign against Byzantine Christians, composed the longest surviving early Christian-Muslim dialog, and expanded the Church of the East to the greatest size in its history. But of all his activities, perhaps the most significant was Timothy’s decision to move the patriarchate to the newly constructed city of Baghdad. In Baghdad, Timothy became a regular attendee of the caliph’s court, received state funds to refurbish monasteries, was a key figure in the Abbasid translation movement, and used the caliphate to suppress his Christian detractors. And, from Baghdad, Timothy sent hundreds of letters to Christians throughout the Middle East, Central Asia, and India. Fifty-nine of Timothy’s letters—currently hidden for safe keeping around Baghdad—survive providing access to the day-to-day workings of the most extensive church the pre-modern world had ever seen.

The project uses Timothy’s 400 pages of epistles to argue that, far from being an early modern phenomenon, global Christianity was well underway by the eighth century. The Church of Baghdad also employs Timothy’s expansive church to make a methodological argument about expanding how one explores the past. It combines traditional humanistic approaches with digital tools such as social network analysis, geographic information systems, and visual analytics to explore how close- and distant-reading strategies can complement each other.

A central part of this work is combing the traditional way historians write—that is using argumentative prose—with visual based arguments. That is, the final book will contain dozens of data visualizations. This summer I am seeking an intern who will help finalize the data visualizations for two chapters. This will require the use of GIS (in this case primarily QGIS), social network analysis (GEPHI and Cyptoscape), and graphics software (Illustrator, possibly Tableau). Some experience with social network analysis, GIS, or graphic design is preferred, but not required. The intern will have substantial independence in how they choose to design visualizations and much of our time together will be strategizing the ways to best convey specific visual arguments. Additionally, they will conduct literature reviews in the fields of spatial history and historical network analysis to better inform our decisions.

Considering Disability in Online Cultural Experiences

Artistic areas such as music, visual art, theatre and dance have been exploring online experiences for performers and audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, through formats such as virtual museum visits or networked musical performances, often experienced through ad-hoc repurposing of video conferencing or video game software. While these online experiences have played a vital role in providing remote access to cultural artifacts when in-person activities are restricted, there is a need to further expand these experiences beyond commonly used software environments and the standard formats of a phone, tablet or computer screen and stereo sound, especially for the visually and/or hearing impaired.

This project considers ways in which online cultural experiences may be rendered more inclusive for Disabled people, especially those who may not be able to engage with visual and/or auditory media without mediation through other perceptual means. The core team of researchers based at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) will work with cross-departmental and international partners - including ShareMusic & Performing Arts and the Institute For Research & Co-ordination in Acoustics & Music (IRCAM) - to identify Disabled people’s needs and desires for online experiences and what enhancements might be most effective in meeting those needs through exchanges, workshops, lectures and symposia. In the process of making online experiences more accessible, the project team hopes to propose formats and paradigms that offer immersive, interactive, engaging, and meaningful experiences for all.

Research interns will contribute to planning and research, including the making of initial decisions about data protocols, the gathering of initial database examples, the creation of a submission formula, and mounting the prototype of a co-creation platform for accessing cultural assets.


EpicConnect is an open-source, open access LMS and productivity platform that uses Behavior Design principles to build community, enhance belonging, and help instructors collaborate on pedagogical projects. The initial target audience of EpicConnect is fellowship programs serving community college instructors. The platform's goal is to foster project development, increase the social impact of community college instruction, and promote a sense of belonging within an active community of innovative educators.

The project leads have designed a functional prototype of the EpicConnect platform. They are currently working on hosting the web application on a server, and will be running tests on the prototype in the Winter and Spring, with the plan to launch the website soon after. The research interns will work closely with the leads to fulfill the various steps in this plan.

Expanding the Discipline of English Language Arts

The goal of this project is to expand the way English Language Arts (ELA) is taught in U.S. high schools. Many ELA teachers want to expand their practice to prepare students for the kinds of literary and language engagement they might encounter in college or in their everyday, out-of-school lives. but they need knowledge, resources, and authority to do so. We want to provide some of those things by doing a content analysis of hundreds of high school ELA course descriptions and comparing those with college English course descriptions, asking:

  • What subjects do those courses explore?
  • What kinds of texts do they invite students to read?
  • What kinds of skills do they demand?
  • What kinds of products do they ask students to create?
  • How do they represent the value of ELA?

An undergraduate research intern will join our team of faculty and grad students to use computational text analysis and data visualization tools to compare and represent the data in different ways. If you're interested in ELA, curricula, making high school better, and data visualization, this could be a great project for you.

Josquin Research Project

The Josquin Research Project (JRP) changes what it means to engage with Renaissance music. This open-access website not only hosts an ever-growing collection of complete scores, but for the first time makes the music fully searchable: in a few clicks you can identify every instance of a given melodic and/or rhythmic pattern. The JRP also provides analytical tools that can be used to gain insight into individual works, the style of a given composer, or the musical lingua franca. The goal of the project is to facilitate a new kind of knowing that brings big data into conversation with traditional analytical methods.

Research interns will work with the project leads to (1) develop new analytical tools for the open-access website; or (2) transcribe new pieces of music for inclusion in the database.

KSR (Know Systemic Racism)

Know Systemic Racism, a project led by Stanford's inaugural Racial Justice and Social Equity Librarian, Felicia Smith, is a data repository and data discovery environment unique in its focus on interconnections of discriminatory systems that impact different areas of people's lives. This resource will enable users to discover factual data about interconnected systems that pose threats to people of African descent in the United States and that have been shaped by racist policies and practices of institutions across centuries.

Undergraduate research interns will contribute to data collection, presentation, and community engagement. This work involves the application of natural language processing, machine learning, geospatial analysis, interactive data visualization, and mobile app development.

Mapping the Cape Colony

Some 124 cadastral maps of the Cape Colony together give a uniquely detailed view of territory that would soon become the Union of South Africa. The maps are linked to the 1891 census.

An undergraduate research intern will help to georeference these maps and create a simple digital exhibit. ArcGIS skills desirable.

Mapping Shared Sacred Sites

Despite the existence of numerous shared sites of religious observance across the world, they remain largely unknown. Shared sacred sites are “holy” for members of multiple religious groups (which may also be ethnically or nationally distinct) and serve not only as places where people are brought together to respect the site in various ways, but also as sites where they are forced, by their coexistence, to mediate and negotiate their diversity and differences. This ethos of sharing has been customary throughout the world and throughout history.

This project proposes to restore accounts of cohabitation, hospitality, and tolerance to the historical record, taking their place alongside the better-known examples of communal strife and interreligious antagonism. The intern on this project will learn about this untold story of shared sacred sites and contribute to efforts as the project team designs and builds an ArcGIS StoryMap site appropriate to the telling of this important story and to ensure its wide dissemination.

Mapping the Musical Renaissance

The starting point is a map documenting the life of Josquin des Prez (1450–1521), the most famous Renaissance composer, that I created for a seminar last spring. With that map as a starting point, an international project team is beginning to work on a much grander project where, proceeding year by year, one could visualize things like: movements of musicians, political rulers, and courts; places where important books of music were copied or printed; geopolitical boundaries; and sites of major battles, councils, treaties, and other political events. 

The intern for this project will be instrumental in developing this new initiative from the ground up, assisting in conceiving and designing the core interface and infrastructure as well as collecting, thinking about, and entering data.

Modernist Archives Publishing Project (MAPP)

The Modernist Archives Publishing Project (MAPP) is a critical digital archive of early 20th-century publishing history. With rich metadata, the site displays, curates, and describes documents that contribute to the ‘life cycle’ of a book. It uncovers the often invisible industry actors — editors, illustrators, reviewers, printers — who bring works into the public eye. The collection contains thousands of images from archives and special collections relating in the first instance to Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press — letters, dust jackets, financial records, paper samples, illustrations, sketches, production sheets, and other ‘ephemera’ — but is actively expanding into other presses, with the long term goal of building the infrastructure currently lacking in book historical studies to engage a comprehensive comparative landscape of 20th-century book publishing. Newly digitized materials are presented with peer-reviewed summaries, biographies, bibliographical information, and other scholarly materials. A major project within MAPP, but not yet ingested into the operating system, is a large-scale transcription and data analysis project detailing all sales and purchasing records of the Hogarth Press, the first comprehensive quantitative and cultural historical project on the totality of a press’s sales history in modernist studies.

Interns will assist in figuring out how to tag and organize financial data records that have already been digitized for ingestion into MAPP; figuring out if there might be inroads made into machine readable software for the bulk of un-transcribed data in the records which would be necessary to write a book on this rich and unprecedented trove of papers.


OpenGulf is a transdisciplinary, multi-institutional research group analyzing historical texts produced in the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq from the early nineteenth century to the present. The various projects associated with OpenGulf publish open historical datasets, corpora and digital exhibitions with the aim of opening the field of Gulf Studies to digital historical exploration, analysis and interpretation in the service of open research and pedagogy. Currently, OpenGulf includes six projects with students, faculty and staff at eight institutions actively contributing content including handwritten text analysis of Arabic, English and Ottoman Turkish texts, interdisciplinary analysis of data from phone books from the city of Abu Dhabi from the 1970s-2000s, and close and distant readings of an expansive British gazetteer of the region that includes mapping over 20,000 unique named locations. At CESTA interns have worked on the Historical Texts as Data project of OpenGulf, which follows a general three-step workflow: preparing historical texts in various media formats and languages for digital analysis; extracting and annotating names of people and places in those texts to create reusable structured data; and creating and publishing visualizations and narratives derived from those datasets. Currently, the focus is on two projects: disambiguating a dataset of toponyms extracted from Lorimer's Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf and comparing it to geographical datasets produced from texts in other languages and developing an HTR model for handwritten Arabic texts as well as plans for publishing them. The project team has completed about 25% of the disambiguation and are aiming to complete 50-60% by the end of AY 22-23. The aim is to complete a publishable dataset by the end of AY 24-25. The project team also has students actively working on parallel texts in Ottoman Turkish and Persian and hope to complete publishable datasets based on those in this AY (22-23).

Research interns will be involved in a wide variety of activities contributing to this project, with many opportunities to learn and improve their fluency in core DH software. A few examples would include transcribing handwritten Arabic texts and training a Transkribus software model; annotating and extracting toponyms in Arabic (and possibly other-language) historical texts using Recogito; and cleaning existing dataset of Gulf toponyms in English following detailed OpenGulf-generated tutorials. Research interns may also identify additional texts related to historical Gulf geography and collaborate on article drafting and revision as well as prepare website exhibits.

Oral History Text Analysis Project (OHTAP)

The Oral History Text Analysis Project (OHTAP) is developing an original methodology for data mining the rich but untapped collections of digitized transcripts of women’s oral histories housed in university libraries and other collections across the United States. OHTAP has created a database of 2500 transcripts from diverse regions and groups and developed a subcorpus extraction tool called Winnow. The current study asks whether and how the interviewed women named, remembered, and interpreted forms of sexual violence. The project combines quantitative and qualitative analysis to understand which women spoke about sexual violence; what language narrators used to describe assault, abuse, and harassment; how responses to violence changed over time and across groups; and what historical contexts enabled resistance and activism concerning sexual violence.

The project leads are currently rebuilding the search tool, Winnow, with the goal of completing it as public access software. Tasks include front end development (JavaScript/React) on several key features of Winnow, UI/UX design and testing, and further development of the data handling/searching (JavaScript). The project is also utilizing the NVivo qualitative coding software.

This position offers the opportunity to work with historical data in a collaborative environment. An advanced undergraduate with skills in data science and/or software engineering (in CS or other relevant fields), or in qualitative social science coding, is preferred. Data consists of digitized women’s oral history narratives.

Oceanic Imaginaries

Ocean worlds make up more than 70% of our planet’s surface and tie together sprawling histories of empire, global capital, and migration. In an age of rising sea levels and heating ocean basins, the imperative to think with the maritime across disciplines, historical periods, and geographical regions is more urgent than ever. Oceanic Imaginaries serves as a creative commons for a wide range of specialist maritime projects currently underway at Stanford, led by faculty in Anthropology, Art History, English, History, TAPS, and the Doerr School for Sustainability.
An undergraduate research intern will help build a collaborative, interactive website that (1) showcases maritime research active at Stanford, (2) aggregates public facing forums and opportunities, and (3) features a working bibliography for learning and pedagogical materials. Familiarity with ArcGIS is desirable but not critical.

Senegalese Slave Liberations Project

The Senegalese Slave Liberations Project builds on the Slave Voyages Database, which has transformed the study of the trans-Atlantic slave trade by presenting the most comprehensive collection of individual slave trade voyages and the most complete set of evidence of African ports of embarkation and American ports of disembarkation. The Slave Voyages Database, however, tells us virtually nothing about slavery and the slave trade within Africa. The Senegalese Slave Liberations Project provides a crucial counterpart to the Slave Voyages project in presenting evidence of slavery and the slave trade in the Senegambian, Mauritanian, and Malian region of West Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Specifically, registers of liberation have survived as records of enslaved people under French colonial authority who sought their freedom. The project team is working to provide unique identifications for each case of liberation, analyze the data, and develop visualizations to support academic research and innovative pedagogy. Of the 28,000 liberations registered for the years 1857-1904, the team has already analyzed over 17,000 cases. They are framing how to build an interactive website that would facilitate the use and exploration of data by researchers and students.

The project’s interns will focus on coding the remaining 15,000 cases from a digital archive, visualizing the evidence, and developing the project website. The interns should have competence in French, and/or ability to work with large N data, and/or competence in website development and data visualization, and historical sensibilities. The project team has four objectives for the year: 1) complete the coding of the liberations; 2) build a public facing website to host the data and contextual material in order to make the data available and useful to scholars and teachers; 3) to develop high school and community college curricula drawn from the SLP that explore broader issues of slavery and freedom in West Africa; and 4) to produce a podcast drawn from the international workshop on the Ethics and Politics of Naming the Names of Enslaved People in Digital Humanities Projects. The project's interns are also invited to work together with faculty on publications emerging from the data and to share authorship.

Shipwrecks and the Maritime Heritage of Millennia of Sicilian Connections

Situated amid Mediterranean connections between south and north, west and east, Sicily offers an archaeologically rich record for interactions spanning millennia: ancient ports and shipwrecked cargos, traditions and tools of fishing, and the boats that provided (and prevented) mobility for sailors, traders, warriors, pilgrims, and displaced peoples. This dynamic material record is the subject of ongoing archaeological excavation, 3D heritage documentation and archival research, interviews with local practitioners, and public engagement initiatives. This project aims to create multimedia work that challenges the public to engage with the objects, memories, and entangled realities of past and present movements across the sea.

Research interns will help to process field data, 3D models, and other documentation of objects and sites, and to integrate them into narratives of historic human mobilities through image-based stories in ArcGIS StoryMaps and Google Arts and Culture.

Text Technologies

Stanford Text Technologies investigates all forms of human communication from 70,000 BCE to the present day to determine trends and characteristics of information systems. Medieval Networks of Memory is one of several sub-projects under this umbrella. It reveals a new and dynamic picture of thirteenth-century religious and social networks by describing, mapping, visualizing and analysing unique and culturally rich textual artefacts—the Mortuary Roll of Lucy of Hedingham, now kept at the British Library (MS Egerton 2849, parts I and II), and the Mortuary Roll of Amphelisa of Lillechurch, which belongs to St John’s College, Cambridge (MS N. 31). The project team is creating an advanced database for an interactive map, behind which will be locational, descriptive, textual, and evaluative evidence. In a second project, the Oxford University Press volume, Ker’s Catalogue of Manuscripts, the team is creating the print files and a digitally augmented version of this 1957 monumental catalogue of Early English manuscripts. The project team is moving rapidly to bring together a wide range of sources and resources, and this year will begin complex digital investigation of about five hundred surviving literary records from pre-1220.

Working with faculty, advanced researchers, and staff in CESTA, the interns may collaborate on one or more subprojects related to Text Technologies, as well assist the lab broadly. The research interns will contribute to research and data creation (i.e., translating data from manuscript catalogs into digital and/or machine-readable formats) and also learn data standardization, schema adaptation, and data preparation for R programming language. The research interns will also be integral in writing up recent case studies and to think through the current deployment of machine learning techniques on archival materials can be expanded and clarified.

Transparency and Racial Equity in Public Corporations

The Stanford Center for Racial Justice (SCRJ) is conducting research into large U.S. corporations’ efforts to advance racial equity, including collecting data about those efforts and producing reports to promote transparency and dialogue about the public policy issues surrounding the advancement of racial equity and racial justice in the private sector of our U.S. economy.

We have three related needs around a specific type of data set common to large companies. That data set is contained in reports, known as EEO-1 reports, that each company must file with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission that reflect the racial, ethnic, and gender demographic details of the company’s workforce across all levels of the company. 

We would like to explore the development of an automated search algorithm to search corporate websites to identify, collect and store EEO-1 reports, resulting in a data set of EEO-1 reports for all public corporations that have disclosed the data. Then, we'd like to extract data from the EEO-1 reports into a computable format that can then be visualized. Finally, the goal is to identify various data visualizations and analyses that can provide meaningful insights about the workforce demographics by race, ethnicity, gender, and job level across different slices of the data set.

Using Data Visualizations to Help Students See Texts Differently in English Language Arts

The goal of this project is to introduce data visualizations and data analysis into English Language Arts classes, where data visualizations and analysis doesn't often show up. Our team of faculty and grad students is partnering with area middle schools to address long-standing student struggles with textual interpretation and analysis through data visualizations of novels, short story, poetry, and other texts. For example, we are designing a data visualization that will help students see how boys and girls are portrayed with different language in YA novels. 

An undergraduate research intern will join our team to help design data visualizations that help middle school students think about how texts work. 

Visible Bodies

Where are the African female writers of the twentieth century? This project addresses the critical issue of the invisibility of female authors within established canons of twentieth-century African literature, and it urgently seeks to remedy the extent to which women-authored bodies of work from this period continues to be lost, misplaced, forgotten, and ignored. The project thus aims to give greater visibility to hitherto marginalized bodies of work. An interdisciplinary team of historians, literary scholars, and archivists will create a critical digital archive displaying the key work of largely unknown 20th-century African female writers. The archive is aimed at scholars and the general public, especially emphasizing audiences on the African continent. Phase One of the project will digitize and curate the output of Regina Twala (1908-68), an important South African-Swazi politician and activist who wrote four manuscripts, none of which were published.

The research intern will ensure the integrity of data in the project database and assist with the creation of a digital archive to curate, explain, and display this material for public consumption. Familiarity with Notion is desirable; an interest in web design and issues around gender and representation in the arts is preferred.

Truth in Fiction: the Discourse of Embedded Scientific Facts in Climate Fiction

Recently the rise of “climate fiction,” or “cli-fi” has demonstrated that fiction can be more effective in convincing a skeptical public of the necessity of immediate action than well-intentioned science communication. Given the complicated relationship of fiction to truth, it has become more urgent than ever to understand the ways in which novels are able to couch fact within the fabric of their fiction. When so much science communication studies has been concerned with false or misleading narratives about climate change, how do we grapple with deliberately false accounts that seek to spread pro-scientific messaging? Recent work on science communication has revealed models of language use that can differentiate between factual or misleading statements about climate change: how can such models help us understand truth claims embedded within an overtly false narrative This project will use similar computational methods to explore a corpus of recent cli-fi genre fiction comparing the kinds of truth claims that these novels make with both popular science writing and climate disinformation.

An undergraduate research intern, preferably with a background in the humanities, will learn new computational skills and contribute to this active project.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do research interns do?

Research interns are matched with ongoing research projects led by faculty and graduate students, where they use their existing skills and/or learn new skills in order to contribute to current research in the digital humanities. Our interns join a vibrant cohort of Stanford undergrads from many majors and backgrounds in a supportive program that includes discussions and workshops on topics related to the digital humanities, as well as participation in a capstone publication—the CESTA Research Anthology.

In their project work, research interns engage in various phases of the research process, including traditional and archival research, finding data, creating databases, using computational methods of modeling and analysis, data visualization, and contributing to various forms of publication. For example, depending on the project a student is working on, they may:

  • Use GIS to quantify and map urban development over time
  • Visit library or digital collections to find relevant materials about the lived experiences of Chinese railroad workers
  • Build databases of European travelers to Italy in the 18th century
  • Transcribe medieval documents containing information such as spells, early medicinal remedies, and evidence of pagan elements that have persisted throughout the centuries
  • Develop interactive web platforms that allow users to visualize data sets

Though faculty develop the initial research questions and projects, students are active participants in research design and may contribute by challenging assumptions, suggesting alternative approaches, and posing new hypotheses.

To learn more about the kind of work research interns do, please explore our 2021 Research Anthology and view our brief Intern Spotlight videos on CESTA's YouTube channel: 

What kind of projects can I work on?

Our projects range from large multi-year, multi-faculty projects, with multiple interns, to more narrowly focused projects with a single faculty or graduate researcher and intern. All projects work with the CESTA team. Project openings vary as student availability and project status change. To learn more about ongoing projects, publications, events, and academic programs, explore our website at cesta.stanford.edu/projects-labs.

Projects committed to recruiting interns for the 2023 program are listed above, however this list may grow as other projects determine their support needs. Notably, the Digital Humanities Graduate Fellowship program will recruit a number of interns to work on graduate research projects in the Winter-Spring program.

What does the application process entail?

The application consists of a downloadable application form, a short statement of interest, and a resume, all of which are uploaded via our application portal. The downloadable application form will take less than an hour to complete and is intended to help us learn about your interests, availability, skills, and previous experience.

If you have previously interned at CESTA and would like to intern with us again, you are required to fill out a new application.

Information sessions held shortly after the application deadline will allow you to meet the CESTA team, see the CESTA workspace, and ask any questions about the program. They are also an opportunity for us to get to know you, so attendance is strongly encouraged.

What should my statement of interest include?

The statement of interest is an opportunity for you to tell us why you're interested in the program, what you hope to gain from it,  and what unique skills, interests or perspectives you will bring to our community. It should be 250-350 words long (approximately one typed page).

For students applying for the first time, we ask that you include:

  • Why you’re interested in this internship program and what you hope to gain
  • What you can offer to the program
  • A previous challenge you faced and how you responded
  • A summary of previous experience in research and/or collaborative tasks

For students who have interned with us before, we ask that you include:

  • Why you’re interested in participating in this program again and what you hope to gain
  • How this program helped you grow, develop, or learn
  • A challenge you faced during your previous participation in the program and how you responded at the time, and (optionally) how you would respond now

What makes a strong statement of interest?

A thoughtful and well-written statement of interest is an important component of your application. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t summarize your resume. There is no harm in mentioning a particular accomplishment, but the majority of your statement should focus on explaining why you'd like to be part of this program and how you can contribute to our community.
  • Show, don’t tell. Make use of examples to show who you are as a student, researcher, and community member. Instead of telling us that you’re an effective collaborator, for example, tell us about a time you collaborated on a project and what you learned from the experience.
  • Follow instructions. We asked for a one-page response that covers specific points. Make sure that you submit a statement that meets those requirements, which might take a few drafts to get right! We recommend asking a peer, faculty member, or mentor to read through your statement before you submit it.

How does working for CESTA provide me with academic, research, and job experience?

While working on CESTA projects students gain valuable experience. Students have access to faculty, staff, and graduate student mentorship in addition to a great working space. CESTA provides a community and program that exposes students to relevant on campus tools, people, and resources. Students can gain experience working within their field or topic of interest, or gain experience outside of the realm of their major through project-based learning. Students also acquire new technical and conceptual skills. While working on these projects students are also practicing critical soft skills such as problem solving, communication, and time management.

What if I apply and am not hired?

Student demand for projects is high and there are limited positions available. However, students who are not immediately interviewed or placed on a project in the quarter in which they apply can be considered for additional projects as they become available.

With new projects being added every year, we also encourage students to re-apply in future, especially as particular interests and skills develop! 

If you have any questions about the program or the application process, please contact CESTA's Associate Director, Will Fenton, at wdfenton [at] stanford.edu">wdfenton [at] stanford.edu.