John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is seeking a Communications and Programming Summer Associate interested in working in a dynamic organization seeking to promote a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture. We're also looking for someone who shares President John F. Kennedy's passion and commitment to the ideals of public service, civil rights, and civic engagement.

Chiefly, the summer associate will provide social media and administrative support to the Kennedy Library Foundation's communications department, as well as research and writing assistance to the prestigious Profile in Courage and New Frontier Award programs. We are seeking an energetic individual with a great sense of humor who takes initiative, pays close attention to detail, is willing and able to handle several assignments at one time, and is not afraid to ask for direction or help.

Using the internet, news monitoring skills, social media, and telephone research, the Summer Associate will identify and compile information about candidates for the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards, which celebrates the contributions of American public servants under the age of 40. The Summer Associate will develop narrative biographies of nominees, generate, and execute ideas for identifying new award nominees via other means. The Summer Associate will deploy the same skills and resources to identify and develop nominations for the Profile in Courage Award, which is presented annually to public officials who demonstrate political courage in making decisions for the greater good.

Concurrently, the Summer Associate will work closely with the communications department to update and maintain the Kennedy Library's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. Typically, the associate will be given one on-going social media project that will require working with the Library’s vast historical archives to develop content for video or other types of posts. We rely on the associate to use their perspective as a university student to help us think of new ways to engage young people online. The associate may also contribute to the writing of calendar listings, media advisories, and press releases; the monitoring of media coverage; the management of major news events sponsored by the Library and Foundation; and the researching, updating and maintaining of mailing lists.

The Summer Associate will have the opportunity to contribute to other Kennedy Library Foundation programs and initiatives as needs arise.

Come join one of Boston's most exciting and high profile cultural and educational institutions, where you'll play an important role in helping to further the Kennedy legacy!

2017 Intern Reflection:

Now in the middle of week four of my internship here at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, I could not be more confident that this is one of the top internship placements that the IOP offers. Given the relatively small size of the foundation staff (about 15-20 people), I began on day one with work that was actually substantive, and the same has been true for the last four weeks. The Foundation staff, including the senior leadership, has gone above and beyond to integrate me into the culture of the office, making sure that I have everything I need and that my projects are coming along smoothly. The Executive Director and the Senior VPs have all scheduled one-on-one meetings with me throughout the summer to get to know me better and to teach me about their individual departments and their own experiences working in the non-profit world. Similarly, the rest of the staff has made a concerted effort to dig below the surface and establish relationships that I know will last far beyond the end of my internship. Substantively, I have been working on two major projects: the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award and a series of social media videos called “Do You Know Jack.” I have been given tremendous responsibility in researching and coordinating the media campaign and search process for the non-elected side of the New Frontier Award, and it’s actually pretty incredible that the Foundation staff and Selection Committee have enough trust in the IOP intern to make this process happen. I have already been invited to join the committee meeting this fall at Harvard for the final selection process. This part of my job has been aided in no small part by my comfort with Harvard’s wealth of online databases and with conducting a Boolean search—skills which are useful to have as a Harvard student anyway. The “Do You Know Jack” video series has been a great practical application of the skills I have developed as a student in the History department. The project has required me to work extensively with online finding aids and with the archives staff to find interesting and unique topics for videos, and comfort working with original documents and other primary sources is a must.

 Overall, this internship has been absolutely fantastic. Unlike pretty much any other job I’ve had, this job is extremely low on administrative work and packed with substantive, meaningful projects. There have been few times where I’ve found myself counting down the hours until I could leave for the day. If you’re a history student or just a history lover, this is THE place to be.

Ben Schaeffer '19

2016 Intern Reflection:

This summer, I have spent most of my time researching candidates for the JFK Library’s prestigious New Frontier and Profile in Courage Awards. The New Frontier Award is presented to a non-elected individual under 40 who embodies President John F. Kennedy’s ideals and political values through his or her contributions to community service or advocacy. The Profile in Courage Award, which has been given to public servants like John Lewis and Gabby Giffords, honors elected officials who demonstrate political courage by standing by their principles, even when pressured to bend. I have been truly impressed by the candidates who are being considered for these two awards. Their dedication to elevating the debate about critical public issues demonstrates the enormous impact one person can have on political and public opinion both nationally and worldwide. In Profiles in Courage, the book for which the Profile in Courage Award (PICA) is named, JFK writes, “A man does what he must—in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures—and that is the basis of all human morality.” So far, every candidate that I have researched has done what he or she must to make a difference in this world.

An aspect of my work consists of compiling biographies for each candidate, which requires strong writing skills and involves a lot of online research. While many of the candidates provide biographical information on their organizations’ websites, many candidates do not, and it can be challenging to glean this biographical information from other online sources. Another aspect of my work focuses on outreach. I have enjoyed thinking of different ways to encourage participation in the nomination process so the candidates under review are qualified and deserving of the awards they might receive. I recently contacted members of Congress and professors at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government for nominee suggestions, receiving a number of remarkable ones in response. Over the past few weeks, I have also worked on estimating a preliminary budget for part of next year’s PICA ceremony, which will be particularly special because next year (2017) is JFK’s centennial. Most recently, I’ve looked into ways in which the Library could implement machine learning in order to make its digital archive more accurate and accessible.

Rebecca Sadock '18

2015 Intern Reflection:

I’ve known I was going to like working for the JFK Library Foundation since I came to interview and spent much of the interview discussing current events and the history of President Kennedy and his brother, Robert Kennedy. I’ve been interested in that era for a long time, so to work at an organization whose focus is so centered on history’s connection to the present is especially rewarding. The Foundation is committed to preserving and promoting President Kennedy’s legacy, which is done primarily and most obviously by upkeep of the Library itself. In my time working here, I’ve been able to go on guided tours of the JFK Library, a traveling exhibit on the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Commonwealth Museum, and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute. Not only have the tours been fascinating, but also I’ve been able to give feedback on the brand new exhibits at the EMK Institute and help brainstorm what can be learned from their exhibits and applied to the JFK Library.

Most of the job consists of research done to compile biographical information on the candidates for this year’s New Frontier Award, an award given every year by the JFK Library to one government official and one non-elected official, usually the director of a non-profit or the like, who exemplify a commitment to public service in keeping with JFK’s legacy. Doing this research and spending so much time writing about impressive people on these lists has been an interesting look into the world of public service, and it’s hard not to feel some optimism for the country’s future when your days are spent researching people who have dedicated their lives to making others’ better. Because this award requires nominations from the general public, I’ve been involved with the social team on the campaign to solicit those nominations. Among these and other projects, I’m working on finding, categorizing, and editing clips from the Library Forums, and helping discuss the social media strategy for which they will be used.

Interns who want to work at the JFK Library should have an interest in history, current events, research, and writing. An enthusiasm for JFK doesn’t hurt either, because you’ll be looking at about 100 pictures of him between the front door and your desk.

Mike Skerrett '18


[1] The Public Papers of John F. Kennedy.  Remarks in Los Banos, California, at the Ground-Breaking Ceremonies for the San Luis Dam. August 18, 1962

Boston, MA / Cambridge, MA
Research, Education, Communications/Press