Program in Community-Engaged Research (PCER)


The Harvard College-Mindich Program in Community-Engaged Research (PCER) pilot launched in summer 2017 by the Mindich Program for Engaged Scholarship in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. PCER introduces students to the field of engaged scholarship, which seeks to advance the public purpose of higher education through scholarship that has impact within and beyond the academy through the discovery, integration, application, and communication of knowledge. Employing an asset-based approach, and focused on reciprocal relationships with community collaborators, engaged scholarship recognizes the perspectives, knowledge, and expertise present in communities and the academy are of equal value.

The Field-based Harvard College-Mindich Program in Community-Engaged Research (PCER-Field) is a 10-week immersive experience focused on community-engaged inquiry projects. The program will provide a small team of Harvard undergraduate researchers the opportunity to learn about collaboration and reciprocity in a research context, working on a pre-designed project alongside Harvard faculty in collaboration with community partners as part of a multidisciplinary research team. PCER fellows will develop skills necessary to carry out research that is academically rigorous as well as responsive to community interests and priority action areas.

Project Descriptions


PCER will have two different experiences this Summer. Students may feel free to apply to one or both opportunities.

Project #1:
The first summer 2021 PCER-Field experience will be with Walter Johnson, Winthrop Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies, and part of the Commonwealth Project, an ongoing partnership with local non-profits, community groups, activists, artists and cultural producers in St. Louis, MO. Students will be part of a 10-week community-engaged, multidisciplinary, ongoing research collaboration with St. Louis community partners. Up to two Harvard undergraduate students will work with Dr. Johnson in collaboration with community partners. In this immersive experience, students will work on a variety of projects in the public arts, oral history, environmental health and justice, historic preservation, and urban/rural organizing. Students selected for this project will work directly with local community members, community organizers, civil rights activists and attorneys, environmental groups, legislators, social workers, and environmental scientists. PCER students will be part of a team comprised of Harvard undergraduate and graduate students.

Project #2: NEW!

The second summer 2021 PCER-Field experience will be with Dan D’Oca, Associate Professor in Practice of Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), and Interboro Partners, an architecture, urban design, and planning firm based in Brooklyn, NY and Detroit, MI. Up to four Harvard undergraduate students will work with Professor D’Oca and Interboro Partners. In this immersive experience, students will work on various public space projects to promote active design to advance community health in the South Bronx. Projects may include research on the impact of environmental stressors and public health; development of interventions to mitigate environmental health threats; evaluation of public space interventions; implementation of new projects and liaising with permitting agencies and other project stakeholders; work with youth on educational and curricular initiatives related to design and public health; and identification of strategies to improve existing efforts through innovative practices, materials and technologies.

Both projects:

PCER-Field supports ten weeks of full-time research with Harvard faculty and includes a requirement of active participation in the program. PCER-Field eligibility is limited to continuing students in good standing who can commit to the FULL, TEN CONTIGUOUS WEEKS OF THE SUMMER PROGRAM (beginning of June through early August 2021; specific dates to be confirmed with Dr. Johnson and Professor D’Oca, respectively). PCER 2021 will be entirely remote. Students will each receive a stipend to support their PCER research experience.

Application - see deadline information below!

Project #1: the deadline for receipt of COMPLETE application materials is 12 noon EST, March 2, 2021. 

Project #2: the deadline for receipt of COMPLETE application materials is 12 noon EST, March 29, 2021.

Please submit by these deadlines for full consideration of your application.

HSURV Abstract Books

Interested in learning more about projects that past fellows in the Harvard Summer Undergraduate Research Village (HSURV) have worked on? Check out our achive HSURV Abstract Books!