Derian Internship: Faculty-Led, Community-Engaged Research

Critical Dates

  • Friday,  April 14, 2023: Deadline for Round 2 applications (Note: Applications will be reviewed and remaining internship positions filled on a rolling basis.)
  • Friday, April 21, 2023 Successful candidates notified
  • Monday, April 24, 2023 Final decisions from students due
  • April: Students register for summer on-campus housing
  • Early May: Internship Orientation
  • June 4-July (8 weeks total): Internship period begins
  • August: Derian portfolios due

The 2023 Derian Summer Internship is a faculty-mentored and community-informed research internship supporting collaborations between faculty, undergraduate interns, and community experts. Interns support faculty in discipline-specific or discipline-spanning research or practicing artistry that is being conducted in collaboration with, and/or that directly benefits, locally, nationally, or internationally-located community partners and that facilitates the growth of students as community-engaged scholars. In addition to working directly with Derian faculty mentors and community partners, interns will participate in regular ProCES programming designed to scaffold the experience through community-engaged scholarship methods workshops and reflective practice. Over the course of the eight-week, 35 hour-per-week internship, students will develop an electronic portfolio documenting their experiences, identifying the skills and capacities they are building, and articulating a strategic narrative of their work and learning.

Projects may include: language revitalization; filmmaking; community-building; sustainable agriculture; archival research or archive development; meeting and event facilitation; creating best practices reviews; designing assessments; developing curricula; generating research-based content, such as policy briefs or communications materials; grant writing; oral history; community history; digital humanities; environmental impact studies; and/or interviewing or surveying community members. 

The Derian Student Internship fund is named in honor of Patricia "Patt" Derian, a human rights activist and a U.S. State Department official in President Carter's administration.


ProCES provides students with a $600 weekly living stipend which includes on-campus housing and meal plan as well as $150/week supplemental funding (total summer stipend is $4,800), with additional funding for project-related expenses (up to $1500) available on an application basis.  

Students who receive a Princeton-sponsored internship for their summer should understand that these awards or grants are meant to support an intern’s experiential learning. These awards are intended to defray the cost of living for the duration of the internship, which may include cost of accommodations, meals, transportation to and from your internship. Additionally, awards are considered non-qualified scholarships OR student funding and may be taxable on your personal tax return. 

To apply:

  • Review the opportunity descriptions below and identify the one to which you wish to apply. Note that additional faculty-led projects will be added as they become available.
  • Submit your application proposal via the Student Activity Funding Engine (SAFE). To apply, use the following search criteria: 
  • In your application, please identify: 
    1. which faculty and project you hope to work with;
    2. your learning goals for the summer experience; 
    3. a statement of why this particular internship interests you; 
    4. any relevant experience, knowledge, or skills that would help you perform the internship activities.
    5. in the "Supervisor of Internship" field, list the names of the faculty mentors associated with the internship project you have selected.
    6. Note and be sure to respond to any additional prompts specified in the internship project description  to which you are applying.
  • Applications will be reviewed and remaining internship positions filled on a rolling basis.


Contact [email protected] for more information.

My internship...helped me prepare for my thesis [and] it also taught me the lasting impact research can have on communities…I realized community-based research was a great way to step out of the classroom and make creative solutions for real-life issues. With the mentors and resources of [ProCES] as well as the welcoming atmosphere of my internship site, I gained a variety of skills that proved useful to my college studies and beyond. ~Amani Rush, class of 2016


Project 1: Indigenous Language Activism: Lunaape (Delaware) Language Camp

Faculty Mentors: 

  • Dunia C. Méndez Vallejo, Spanish and Portuguese; Spanish Language Program
  • Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Institute for Advanced Study

Over the past three years, faculty members at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study have been working with members of the Munsee Delaware Nation to organize a series of online and in-person gatherings to build relationships linking Delaware (or “Lenape”) community members with the students, staff, faculty, and visiting fellows who live and work on Lunaapahkiing, or “Lenape land,” in and around Princeton, NJ. (A list of past and upcoming events can be found here. The in-person annual autumn gatherings (November 2021, October 2022) put Princeton and IAS students, staff, members, and faculty in direct dialogue with members of the Munsee Delaware Nation and other Lenape communities to learn about Munsee language, history, and culture.

Munsee is one of two languages spoken by Lenape people (the other is Unami), including members of the Munsee Delaware Nation and the Delaware Nation at Moraviantown, both First Nations federally recognized by Canada, as well as members of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, located in Wisconsin and federally recognized by the US, and the New Jersey state-recognized Ramapough Lunaape Nation and Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. Presenters at the most recent symposium in October 2022 included a wide range of Munsee language keepers, historians, artists, and community members, with participants from all of the Munsee-speaking nations. 

Language teachers from those communities are currently organizing, together with Princeton and IAS faculty, a Delaware (Lunaape) language camp, to take place in Princeton on 26-31 July 2023. Indigenous language revitalization counteracts the violent history of settler colonial regimes, including boarding schools where Native children were forced to speak English exclusively. The gathering will include teachers from all of the Munsee-speaking nations, along with young adult community members who are on a language journey that may end in them also becoming teachers. 

The schedule will include traditional land-based learning, including time at the Seed Farm located in Princeton (which is a collaborative partnership with Ramapough Lunaape Nation members), as well as a half-day journey on the Millstone River, sharing Lunaape language, local history, and discussions of Indigenous sovereignty in today’s world.

The undergraduate student(s) who join(s) the organizing circle for the Delaware (Lunaape) language camp will become part of an existing collaborative relationship that began two years ago and will (we hope) continue long into the future. They will become a member of a strong and increasingly robust learning community that is made up of those who study or work at Princeton and those who belong to Munsee-speaking communities, both in the Lenape diaspora and on Lunaapahkiing. 

Interns will spend the month of June gaining methodological and linguistic familiarity through relevant research, readings, and site visits while supporting the day-to-day work of organizing the logistics for the language camp. After the gathering, interns will provide follow-up support through documentation and communications support, as well as creating a digital toolkit to support project planning into the next academic year and beyond.

The most important qualifications are an interest in and/or some knowledge of Indigenous language revitalization, as well as a demonstrated interest in the lived experience of Indigenous communities. Abilities that will be desired include excellent communications skills, especially oral communication; strong organizational skills; willingness to help facilitate the event during the five-day gathering, especially (if appropriate) supporting elders who are in attendance. 

The student(s) who join(s) the organizing circle will develop a deeper knowledge of how Indigenous people – in this case, Delaware or Lenape people – plan gatherings, and how protocols around language learning express the web of relationships both within each Munsee-speaking nation and across the different Munsee-speaking nations. They will strengthen their communication skills, especially oral skills, working with Delaware (Lenape) community members; and if they are interested in working in the field of Indigenous language revitalization or, more generally, the field of Linguistics, they will gain invaluable experience regarding how to support and enhance practical language learning in Indigenous communities. 

Project 2: The Seed Farm @ Princeton

Faculty Mentor: Tessa Desmond, Effron Center for the Study of America 

The Seed Farm @ Princeton sits on 3.5 acres of land where we grow rare, culturally-meaningful seed crops with community partners and pursue relevant research questions about the art and science of heirloom plants.  Students, scholars, and community partners come together to learn from each other.  Though we come together from a wide range of disciplines and life experiences, we share a common focus: our work deals with questions of repair and mutualism including repairing relationships with land, soil, plants, the environment, and each other and thinking about the essential role that mutualisms play in processes of repair.  

In our gardens, we grow plants for their seeds, which means tending them through lush green and peek fruit until pods have dried, fruits have browned, and seeds have matured.  Each summer, Princeton students plant seeds from community partners and tend many relationships among plants and people that grow from the farm.  During the academic year, students host workdays, harvest and process the seeds, and continue to work with community partners on a variety of research projects.  The work and research of the farm is shared at conferences, in print, and through social and multimedia platforms.

A vibrant ecosystem of relationships makes our work possible.  We are grateful that our work is supported by many generous people and organizations including our community partners: the Experimental Farm Network, Munsee Three Sisters Medicinal Farm, and the Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance.  The main farm is located at the Stony Ford Research Station, a center for local, ecological research that is managed by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University.  We also maintain “Little Seed Farms” on Princeton’s main campus.  

About the Internship: There will be a community of students working together at the farm, including interns from the ProCES Derian Fellows Program, High Meadows Environmental Institute, and the Pace Center.  Students working with Dr. Desmond will be particularly focused on working with the farm’s community partners and conducting community-engaged scholarly projects as mutually agreed upon among Dr. Desmond and the farm partners.  Interns will spend time working in the field—planting, weeding, watering—and time conducting research with and for our community partners.  The team will also take several field trips throughout the summer to visit partners and support work happening on their farms. 

Qualifications:  Students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are invited to apply.  The team will be selected based on complementary skillsets, and projects will be assigned accordingly.  Skills that will prove especially useful include: knowledge of vegetable gardening; experience with archival research, database development, or web design; interest in natural systems and working with natural systems; ability to work well in a team.   

Project 3: The Heirloom Gardens Oral History Project

Principal Investigators:

  • Tessa Desmond, Effron Center for the Study of America 
  • Hanna Garth, Anthropology

The Heirloom Gardens Project is a collaboration of Princeton University, Spelman College, and the Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance to collect oral histories of people who have worked to preserve Black and Indigenous seed and foodways through the Southeastern United States and Appalachia.  Working across six sites over two years, students and faculty will work with communities to interview and archive the stories of farmers, gardeners, chefs, community organizers, local historians and others who have been actively sustaining rich farming, culinary, and medicinal traditions.  

The Heirloom Gardens Project is currently hiring summer interns.  Positions are available in Princeton, New Jersey and at research sites in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Georgia and Lexington, Kentucky.  An orientation will be held at Spelman College in Atlanta in early June.  

Site-based interns will work with community partners to conduct oral histories, which involves interview skills as well as hands-on work in gardens and on farms.  

Princeton-based interns will be a part of a larger internship team based at The Seed Farm.  Princeton-based interns will serve as field support for oral historians in the field and archivists.  They will also assist with growing rare, culturally-meaningful seeds in the gardens at The Seed Farm and participate in field trips to other farm projects.  

Expectations of interns include: 

  • Networking with communities involved in seed saving, community gardening, farming, and historic cultural preservation work.  
  • Setting up interview days and times.  
  •  Arranging logistics for transportation, as needed.  
  • Preparing for oral history interviews.  
  •  Conducting oral history interviews.  
  •  Uploading recorded files to centralized data. 
  • Transcribing and record keeping for all interviews.  
  • High level of organization and ability to self-direct and work independently. 
  •  Follow IRB and other ethics protocols, ability to deal with culturally sensitive materials. 
  • Working as a team.  
  • Sensitivity to diversity of perspectives and life experiences, especially the ability to work with people across age, race, ethnicity, religious/spiritual practices, political affiliation/beliefs, and socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. 

Please note: This position requires living full-time on location for the duration of the 8-week period and may involve shared housing and/or transportation with other student(s). 

Project 4: Geography of Injustice

Mentors: Majora Carter, Visiting Lecturer in the Keller Center & Tim Evans, Director of Research, NJ Future

Founded in 1987, New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible growth, redevelopment, and infrastructure investments to foster vibrant cities and towns, protect natural lands and waterways, enhance transportation choices, provide access to safe, affordable and aging-friendly neighborhoods, and fuel a strong economy. New Jersey Future does this through original research, innovative policy development, coalition-building, advocacy, and hands-on technical assistance. Embracing differences and advancing fairness is central to New Jersey Future’s mission and operations. New Jersey Future is firmly committed to greater justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion through its programs, internal operations, and external communications. The organization is based in downtown Trenton, NJ. For more information, visit

New Jersey Future (NJF) is looking for a highly organized, motivated individual to conduct a research project within the organization’s Geography of Inclusion framework. The intern will be required to create a scorecard that measures socioeconomic and racial segregation in Mercer County. The purpose of the project is to create a template for understanding and explaining both the extent of residential segregation in New Jersey and its negative effects. If time permits, the intern could also compare the results of the segregation analysis with other variables related to land use, like home values, rents, and the variety of housing types available, as an exploration of some of the causes of segregation and potential strategies for addressing it.


New Jersey is racially and economically diverse, but also geographically segregated. While the state’s diversity is an economic, cultural, and educational asset, the extreme segregation and separation of individuals from each other inhibits these assets from being fully utilized, holds back economic growth, and harms opportunities for entire groups of people based on their racial or economic status.

This project seeks to create a template for understanding and explaining both the extent of residential segregation and its negative effects. Using Mercer County (one of the state’s more internally diverse counties and also one of its most segregated) and its constituent municipalities as a case study, the intern will create a “segregation scorecard.” The scorecard will include both metrics designed to measure the degree of racial and income segregation within a geographic area and metrics designed to highlight geographic disparities in various quality-of-life outcome variables, so as to explore the relationship between segregation and the unequal outcomes that we suspect it produces or contributes to. For the county, internal comparisons will be done at the municipal level; within the more populous municipalities, census tracts can be used to measure internal disparities. The scorecard must be instructive, but also accessible to the public in a way that makes the information and analysis easily understandable.

The intern’s responsibilities will include, but not be limited to: 

  • Review existing segregation methodologies and models
  • Gather relevant new data as needed 
  • Analyze relevant data and produce visualizations
  • Write a report and an accompanying blog post
  • Complete other tasks to support Geography of Inclusion work as needed
  • Support related communications efforts for New Jersey Future


  • Experience gathering and analyzing data
  • Demonstrated ability to do accurate, detail-oriented work
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple work items at once
  • Strong writing and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently in a remote working environment
  • Current college student or recent graduate
  • Interest in land use, housing policy, segregation, demography, or related topics

Project 5: Museumverse: Being at Home in Princeton

Principal Investigators: Michael W. Zhang, GS, Art & Archaeology/Museumverse and Mengge Cao, GS, Art & Archaeology/Museumverse

Mentors: Branko Glisic, Faculty Associate, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University and Stephanie Schwartz, Curator of Collections and Research, Historical Society of Princeton

Being at Home in Princeton is a collaborative digital humanities project between Museumverse, a graduate student-led applied humanities team based at Princeton University, and the Historical Society of Princeton (HSP). The project will critically examine the displacement of the predominantly African American community in Princeton across the phases of urban renewal construction projects over the course of the twentieth century. We seek to recover and illuminate the stories of individuals and families who were displaced from Princeton due to urban renewal, gentrification, and other social and economic factors. Combining archival research, oral histories, and immersive technologies (augmented reality and virtual reality), we seek to re-center these stories in the history of Princeton. Through a partnership with the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society, we will also highlight the ways in which some of these families maintained their connections to the Princeton community.

There are four central components of Being at Home in Princeton:

  • Archival research: With the archives of the Historical Society of Princeton, Arts Council of Princeton, Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society, Princeton University, and other local repositories, we seek to further uncover documents and materials related to the history of displacement in Princeton. We will also analyze maps, photographs, and other visual materials, in addition to written records, such as unemployment cards, town council minutes and planning documents, to analyze the contentious histories of urban renewal and displacement in Princeton.
  • Existing oral history analysis: We will review existing oral history collections at the Historical Society of Princeton to hear stories from individuals who were displaced from Princeton. We will re-center these narratives to recover an elided history of Princeton.
  • Community engagement: We will work closely with local organizations and community organizations to ensure that our project is inclusive and representative of the diverse experiences and perspectives of the Princeton community. This involves hosting public events and discussions, and soliciting input and feedback from community members throughout the process.
  • Digital exhibition: We plan to transform our research into an interactive digital exhibition with AR/VR components. Our exhibition will be informed by best practices developed by curators, artists, and community researchers who are using new digital technologies to re-imagine elided histories and facilitate connections between memory and place.

Being at Home in Princeton is currently seeking Derian summer interns to conduct research and assist the design of the prototype digital exhibition. The interns will join a team that includes technical specialists, public humanities researchers, and community leaders who are committed to preserving the diverse histories of Princeton and sharing these stories with present and future generations. By the end of the eight week internship, the team will submit a proposal for the digital exhibition. The proposal will outline the thematic contents and highlight the central artifacts and narratives that will guide our curation of the exhibition. This report will then be reviewed by community stakeholders and Princeton University faculty mentors.

The interns will work on tasks related to the four components of Being at Home in Princeton Project. Stephanie Schwartz, the Curator of Collections and Research at HSP, will provide supervision and support for on-site archival research. Leigh Lieberman, the digital specialist of Princeton University Visual Resource Center, will provide support on digitalization and data management. The interns will develop a deeper understanding of community-based research, project management, and story-telling with new immersive technologies. 

The most important qualifications are an interest in and/or some knowledge of reconstructive history and critical fabulation, especially the lived experience of African American communities Also, it is expected that the interns are sensitive to the ethics of representation and are willing to work with diverse perspectives. Skills that will prove especially useful include: experience with archival research, strong communications & organizational skills, web design or AR/VR development.