For Students

There are a variety of ways for students to get involved with the SNF Agora Institute

Call for Student Volunteers

SNF Visiting Fellow Ashley Quarcoo is looking for two student volunteers to help with her upcoming workshop, “Models for U.S. Truth-Telling and Truth Seeking.” This workshop will take place on April 22 from 3:00–4:15 p.m. ET and is the first of three planned workshop to explore different topics on truth, repair, and redress in the United States under the auspices of the Race, Memory, and Democracy Project at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

This workshop will explore the following questions:

  • What models for truth-telling and truth-seeking are fit for purpose in the reckoning of racial violence and injustice at the local level in the United States?
  • Who are the stakeholders and audiences for these processes and what are the mechanisms for engaging them?
  • How can truth-telling mechanisms be structured in ways that open pathways for redress, repair, and reform?

Volunteer responsibilities for this workshop include:

  • Notetaking (primary responsibility)
  • Managing the Zoom meeting and breakout sessions

All interested volunteers should email by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, April 19.

Call for Applications: Fall 2021 Student Grant Program

We are now accepting applications for SNF Agora’s fall 2021 student grant program! The SNF Agora Institute awards grants to Johns Hopkins University students whose work is complementary to the institute’s mission of strengthening global democracy through civic engagement and inclusive dialogue. The institute will award up to $1,000 per selected applicant so that students can pursue research projects, unpaid internships, and group projects, as well as host programming and travel to academic events.

The deadline to apply has been extended! We are now accepting application until 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 18.

Click here to learn more about the opportunity and application process.

Call for Applications: SNF Agora Student Engagement Board

The SNF Agora Institute is now accepting applications for membership on its AY2021-2022 Student Engagement Board!

The Student Engagement Board works with SNF Agora faculty, staff, and leadership both to raise awareness about and participate in the development of our mission and presence on campus and in the broader community.

All interested students should complete the online application by midnight on Sunday, April 18, 2021. Responses to application questions should not exceed 250 words. Click here for more information about this opportunity.

JHU Students: Apply to be a Research Assistant!

Research Assistant

More in Common and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University are looking for a graduate student or researcher available to help with literature reviews and background research for a project beginning immediately in the spring of 2021. This position will be supported through a stipend from More in Common and is open to graduate students or researchers with backgrounds in civic studies, political science, sociology, psychology, or any field of collective action, democracy studies, and pluralism.

Project Background

More in Common and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University seek to organize a convening and follow up publication focused on synthesizing the evidence base for how we create collective settings that develop the behaviors and orientations that underlie a culture of democracy, and proposing a research agenda for moving forward. This will be an action-oriented convening (most likely in May 2021) intended to drive subsequent efforts that conceptualize, test, measure, and evaluate new interventions for shaping a positive culture of democracy. Convening participants will include researchers and practitioners from a diverse set of fields and backgrounds: researchers and academics from political science, psychology, communications, and sociology; advocates and campaigners from democracy reform and racial justice; civil servants from local, state, and federal government; and grassroots practitioners from association organizations concerned with civic engagement, behavior, and values.

Through this work, we seek to build a new conceptual architecture or framework which challenges the democracy reform ecosystem to consciously integrate efforts to shape the culture that makes possible an integrated approach to systems change. There is a great deal of integrated research and advocacy towards system reforms such as rank choice voting, expanded districts, increasing the size of the House of Representatives, and enacting stronger campaign finance reforms. Similarly, academics working with campaigns have produced a large volume of insights on voter engagement and mobilization, thus seeking to shape civic and political behaviors. However, there is far less evidence for how to affect constructive culture change on values such as pluralism or political tolerance, cultivate shared bridging identities, or nurture the kind of collective empowerment that moves beyond conventional identities or “tribes” and minimizes the “rule or die” mentality that polarizes our politics. The field also lacks rigorous evidence for how to better engage the approximately 40% of voters who rarely vote. Cutting through all these gaps are issues of race, belonging, and power.

Too often, we take the notion of a culture of democracy as a given. Culture, however, does not emerge in a vacuum. Instead, it emerges in the collective settings in which people come together to learn the rights and responsibilities of democratic citizenship. Alexis de Tocqueville famously wrote about the importance of these informal “schools of democracy” in making democracy work. Nowadays, in the 21st century, those schools of democracy have either morphed or become so weak that they would be hardly recognizable to Tocqueville. Yet, they remain fundamental to the democratic project. How can we identify and examine the characteristics of settings that bring people together, nurture the behaviors and orientations necessary for a pluralistic democracy, and create a collective culture of democracy?

The researcher’s primary responsibilities will be to assemble a literature review on existing work in this area and help prepare materials that will both inform the convening, and the publication or report that emerges from it. The bulk of the work is likely to take place from Feb-May 2021, with some follow up possible in the summer of 2021.


The researcher’s primary responsibilities will include the following:

1. Conducting literature review and synthesis of multidisciplinary research on what we know about the kinds of collective settings that are likely to shape the behaviors and orientations that underlie a culture of democracy;
2. We imagine that conducting this literature review will involve (a) developing citation network maps across multiple disciplines, (b) developing annotated bibliographies, (c) conducting interviews with leading scholars and experts in the field to gather their expertise, (d) writing the literature review;
3. Regular check-ins with the More in Common and SNF Agora teams, including creating a schedule for initial outlines, first drafts, and revisions;
4. Supporting creating preparatory materials for the May 2021 convening; and,
5. Other duties as assigned.

We seek candidates that are strongly interested in studying democracy and community-based organizations, as well as the intersection of “on the ground” research and advocacy. Excellent writing and communication skills are a must.


The minimum qualification required to be considered an applicant is to be a currently enrolled Ph.D. student in any related field (e.g., political science, political psychology, sociology, ethnic studies, public policy, etc.) or an independent researcher with the appropriate background.

Additional Qualifications (required by start date):

1. Ability to work both independently and in collaboration
2. Ability to meet project deadlines
3. Experience working in teams
4. Exceptional writing, research, and communication skills

5. Experience conducting meta-analyses and literature reviews desired
6. Excellent organizational skills

The appointment for this position will begin immediately and extend to the summer of 2021. We anticipate weekly requirements of 12-15 hours. Compensation will be $25/hour.

How to Apply

This position is open until filled. Questions regarding this position, and application materials can be directed to with the subject line “Research Assistant Position”. Complete applications will include a cover letter, CV, and short writing sample of 5000 words or less, and the names and contact information for three references. Letters of reference are not required at this time. We will seek your permission before contacting your references.

We value diversity across many dimensions, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, age, religious belief, and political orientation.


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SNF Agora Institute Student Engagement Board

The Student Engagement Board is comprised of undergraduate and graduate students from across the university who share our mission of strengthening democracy through civic engagement and inclusive dialogue.

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The SNF Agora Institute welcomes the opportunity to partner with Johns Hopkins University students and student-run organizations who share its mission of strengthening civic engagement and inclusive dialogue. Opportunities for collaboration include:

  • Inviting scholars and experts to campus
  • Designing courses and academic opportunities
  • Co-hosting conferences and events
  • Use of SNF Agora’s space for related student activities

Students who are interested partnering with SNF Agora should direct all inquiries to Catherine Miller.