RA Programming Job with the SNF Agora Institute

Now Hiring: Apply for the RA Programming Job with the SNF Agora Institute!


A democracy is only as strong as the ability of its citizens to engage together in influencing and enabling collective decision making. That engagement requires a network of interest groups, identity groups, and community organizations that connect individuals to that collective work and that together form the backbone of civil society. To date, the bulk of research into how these groups facilitate collective democracy has focused on the work of individual organizations. Until recently, it hasn’t been possible to visualize, let alone study, how all of these organizations fit together. The Mapping the Modern Agora project at the SNF Agora Institute is working to change that by applying the tools of ML, computational social science, and large scale data to make the study of civil society at scale possible for the first time.  Through this work we’ve generated—and continue to generate—a diverse array of large data sets about civic organizations. To realize the full utility of that we now seek a team member to help architect and manage systems to store and access that data.


Design, implement, and manage databases and data loading processes for large-scale civic data. The data sets range from well-structured numeric data to text data and are in the order of millions of rows. The data are generated by various data-generating processes but need to be wrangled into an ordered, relational database to make them accessible and usable for research. The RA will be paid on an hourly basis through the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins and will work with Professor Hahrie Han and Dr. Milan de Vries.

  • Proficient in postgresql databases
    • including designing schemas to unite data of multiple sorts from multiple sources and being comfortable creating tables and optimizing indexes for efficient queries
  • Comfortable in linux
  • Preferable but not required: proficiency in R
  • Meticulous attention to detail
  • Interested in democracy and civic engagement
  • Independent but comfortable asking for help
  • Curious about democracy and civic engagement
  • Excited to learn and do impactful work


Interested applicants should send their CV and a cover letter detailing their programming and research experience to: Hahrie Han () and Milan de Vries ().

Position available immediately and open until filled.