The Policy Summer Institute opens up new opportunities for underrepresented talent in the digital policy ecosystem


CIVICA and Google joined forces to help first-generation college students to gain professional experience at the intersection of government affairs and digital public policy. Google employees, CIVICA members and policy agency partners from across Europe celebrated the achievements of the first cohort of participants during the closing event of the pilot programme last week.

The Policy Summer Institute (PSI) is a joint initiative between CIVICA and Google that offers a unique in-house experience at Google and paid internship of up to eight weeks to first-generation college students across the university alliance. The aim of the programme is to improve access to careers in the digital policy ecosystem by expanding opportunities and removing barriers for underrepresented talent.

Nine CIVICA scholars with interests across all disciplines in the social sciences were selected for the first edition programme in the spring. After one week at Google offices, the students started their summer internship at one of Google’s policy agencies in Berlin, Brussels, Rome, London, Paris and Madrid. For the entire duration of their internship, scholars were assigned a mentor from Google to provide support and career guidance.

To mark the end of the programme, Google hosted a closing event on Wednesday 31 August. The scholars shared their experiences and learnings with an audience of Google representatives, members of the CIVICA community and policy agency partners.

A memorable experience and tangible career opportunities ahead

The Policy Summer Institute invites scholars to learn more about the work of Google’s Government Affairs and Public Policy team and to be immersed in dynamic and skill-based learning opportunities to enhance their digital policy skillset at some of Google’s public policy agencies across Europe.

Shivona Fernandes-Kohler, master’s student at Bocconi University and intern at Elephantlogic in Berlin, shared that “it was more than a simple curricular internship. I was part of the important meetings and the real relevant conversations of the company” she said and continued “I was really able to understand what is important for Google and why and how can we [as a policy firm] aid such a big tech organisation.” Jessica Su, master’s student at LSE and policy and political analysis intern at Flint Global in London, said “aside from gaining a really good understanding of the digital and tech policy landscape, I also developed many skills that will be valuable moving forward such as navigating uncertainty and learning quickly under time constraints and pressure.”

Giorgia Abeltino, Senior Director of Southern Europe and the team’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Ambassador said, “We are delighted to hear the news that the programme has already led to future work and study opportunities for some of our scholars, demonstrating the potential that this programme has in creating a real impact.”

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is the driving force of this initiative

In the opening remarks the Google Vice President of Government Affairs & Public Policy Europe, Annette Kroeber-Riel, stated “Google is committed to making diversity, equity and inclusion part of everything we do – from how we build our products to how we develop our workforce. The Policy Summer Institute is the first of its kind, and forms part of our continued effort to cultivate a robust, diverse talent pool and support underrepresented talent in our industry.” Then she added “although I recognise that there is a long way to go, I could not be happier to see that we are moving the needle in the right direction, and making a change through the Policy Summer Institute.”

For Aurélien Krejbich, CIVICA Executive Director, “there is clearly a common background rationale: promoting diversity, equity and inclusion is not just something up in the air. Indeed, through our university alliance, we are working to make a concrete difference on the ground since 2019.”

Following the great success of the first pilot programme, there is a genuine interest on behalf of all parties to continue the initiative with discussions on next year’s programme already underway. Stay tuned for more information in the months to come.

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Two of the nine CIVICA students who took part in the Policy Summer Institute in 2022.