[acc-cca-l] Internship at Microsoft Research: critical study of media and society

Daniel Paré daniel.pare at uottawa.ca
Wed Nov 3 11:42:36 MDT 2021


Microsoft Research New England is accepting applications for paid PhD internships at the Social Media Collective. If you have any questions, you can contact Tarleton Gillespie at tarleton at microsoft.com<mailto:tarleton at microsoft.com> and include “SMC 2022 PhD Internship” in the subject line. More info below:

The internship (12 weeks, summer 2022, virtual) is open to advanced PhD students in the social sciences or humanities whose work draws on communication, media studies, anthropology, sociology, and/or science & technology studies to bring empirical and critical perspectives to bear on complex socio-technical issues. The Social Media Collective is comprised of full-time researchers, postdocs, visiting faculty, Ph.D. interns, and research assistants, at Microsoft Research, New England.



APPLICATION LINK: https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/job/1187754/Research-Intern-Social-Media-Collective

Microsoft Research New England, part of the global network of Microsoft Research Labs, is looking for advanced PhD students to join the Social Media Collective (SMC) for its 12-week internship program. The Social Media Collective brings together empirical and critical perspectives to understand the political and cultural dynamics that underpin social media technologies. Our affiliated social science and humanistic researchers include full-time researchers, postdocs, interns, research assistants, and visitors. Our primary purpose is to bring rich contextual analysis to the social, political, and cultural dynamics that underpin social media technologies. Our work spans several disciplines: anthropology, communication, economics, gender and sexuality studies, information, law, media studies, science & technology studies, and sociology.

For 2022, this will be a virtual internship.

Primary mentors for this year will be Nancy Baym and Tarleton Gillespie, with additional guidance offered by other members of the SMC. We are looking for applicants working in one or more of the following areas:

– Personal relationships and digital media

– Race and technology

– Relationships in hybrid work

– Creator economies

– Affective, immaterial, and other frameworks for understanding digital labor

– How platforms, through their design and policies, shape public discourse

– The politics of algorithms, metrics, and big data for a computational culture

– The political economies of on-demand labor

– Collective, community-based approaches to content review and moderation

For more information about the Social Media Collective, and a list of past interns, visit the About page of the SMC blog. For a complete list of all permanent researchers and current postdocs based at the New England lab, see the MSRNE lab webpage. Current projects in New England include:

– How do people build social capital with each other in remote and hybrid work, and how do those processes facilitate or harm inclusion? (Nancy Baym)

– How do discourses and designs of ideal social media habits function within apparatuses of platform capitalism? (Niall Docherty)

– How do social media platforms, through algorithmic design and content policies, serve as custodians of public discourse? (Tarleton Gillespie)

– What are the cultural, political, and ethical implications of on-demand platform economies as new forms and sites of semi-automated, globally distributed, digital labor? (Mary L. Gray)

– What are the sociocultural factors shaping the development, structure, and activities of ‘tech for good’ initiatives? (Karina Rider)


The ideal candidate may be trained in any number of disciplines (including anthropology, communication, information studies, media studies, sociology, science and technology studies, or a related field), but should have a strong social scientific or humanistic methodological, analytical, and theoretical foundation, be interested in questions related to media or communication technologies and society or culture, and be interested in working in a highly interdisciplinary environment that includes computer scientists, mathematicians, and economists.

Interns are also expected to give short presentations on their project, contribute to the SMC blog, attend the weekly lab colloquia, and contribute to the life of the community through weekly lunches with fellow PhD interns and the broader lab community. There are also natural opportunities for collaboration with SMC researchers and visitors, and with others currently working at MSRNE, including computer scientists, economists, and mathematicians.

Some of the compensation and benefits of this position include:

– highly competitive salary

– health insurance is not provided; most interns stay covered under their university insurance, but interns are eligible to enroll in a Microsoft sponsored medical plan

– internship events and activities


Applicants must have advanced to candidacy in their PhD program by the time they start their internship (approximately May 2022). Unfortunately, there are no opportunities for Master’s students or early PhD students at this time.

Applicants from historically marginalized communities and those underrepresented in higher education are encouraged to apply. (Unfortunately, due to a range of legal matters, students must be both physically located in the United States or Canada, and eligible to work in the US at the time of application and internship.)

To apply for a PhD internship with the Social Media Collective, fill out the online application form here: https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/job/1187754/Research-Intern-Social-Media-Collective

…the application portal may prompt you to set up an account first; thanks for your patience.

Your application must include:

– A short description (no more than 2 pages, single-spaced…yes, you can use a separate sheet for citations that won’t count against you) of 1 project (no more than 2 projects) that you propose to do while interning at MSRNE, independently and/or in collaboration with current SMC researchers. Project proposals can be related to, but should be distinct from, your dissertation research. Be specific and tell us:

– What is the research question animating your proposed project?

– What methods would you use to address your question?

– How does your research question speak to the interests of the SMC?

– Who do you hope to reach (who are you engaging) with this proposed research?

– A brief description of your dissertation project (no more than 1 page, single spaced).

– Feel free to attach a separate citations page–we will not include that in the page count.

– One academic article-length manuscript (~7,000 or more) that you have authored or co-authored (published or unpublished) that demonstrates your writing skills. Again, we won’t count citations in this word count.

– A copy of your CV.

– If available, pointers to your website or other online presence (this is not required).

– In addition to those qualifications, you’ll need submit the names and email contact information for three academic letters of reference (one contact must be your dissertation advisor).

Note that we cannot request letters until you submit your application. We will count your application as ON TIME, as long as we have your materials. Encourage your letter writers to send their references for you once they receive a request to do so.Please alert your letter writers in advance and ask them to look for a letter request from a Microsoft.com<http://microsoft.com/> email alias (often, this email ends up in email Spam Folders).

If you have any questions about or problems with the application process, please contact Tarleton Gillespie at tarleton at microsoft.com<http://microsoft.com> and include “SMC 2022 PhD Internship” in the subject line.


Applications are due January 11, 2022. Due to the volume of applications, late submissions (including submissions with late letters of reference) will not be considered. We will not be able to provide specific feedback on individual applications before or after submission. Finalists will be contacted in February to arrange an online interview. Applicants chosen for the internship will be informed in March and announced on the socialmediacollective.org<http://socialmediacollective.org/> blog.

Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations and ordinances.  We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal records, consistent with legal requirements. If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during the application or the recruiting process, please send a request via the Accommodation request form.

Benefits/perks may vary depending on the nature of your employment with Microsoft and the country where you work.

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