A major component of a Next System Fellowship involves an internship with a partner organization, union, or research group, or with Mason’s own Democratizing NOVA, Digital Commonwealth, Next Constitutions, or Good Trouble projects.

In the process, Fellows gain practical experience and skills and build networks that advance them toward a rewarding and meaningful post-college career. They also make important contributions to building a better society in the here and now.

Admitted Fellows choose from one of two internship tracks:  

Track 1: Mason Project - On this track, a Next System Fellow interns with one of three of Mason's Next System Studies research areas:

    • The Democratizing NOVA (DNOVA) project is a community-engaged civic research project of the Center for Social Science Research (CSSR) dedicated to deepening democracy in northern Virginia ("NOVA").
    • The Digital Commonwealth Project (DCP) joins leading technologists with community groups, civic leaders, labor, business, and academic scholars to design and deliver a democratic and accountable digital platform for community wealth, service provision, civic participation, climate resilience, and mutual aid. 
    • The Next Constitutions Research Lab (NCRL) coordinates a global network of scholars of constitutional change, houses a new Community Constitutions Project, and is developing the Constitutionalism and Democracy Movements Dataset. 
    • The Good Trouble project brings together students to discuss what it means to get in what Rep. John Lewis called "good trouble," and organizes an annual Good Trouble Festival for campus and community activism.

Track 2: Partner Organization - Another excellent alternative involves securing an internship with a partner organization (see list of confirmed partners, at right). To do this, a Next System Fellow must apply for an internship with the organization of their choice, and notify us that they have done so. We will follow up with our partners to confirm that the applicant has been accepted into the Fellowship and to discuss collaboration. For those admitted Fellows who seek yet fail to secure an internship with a partner organization, the DNOVA internship remains as a fallback - you will have an internship either way.

In addition to an internship, each Fellow enrolls in an Internship Practicum course (in Sociology, this is SOCI 416/616, but students can take a version of this course through other programs as well). Next System Fellows take this course for 6 credits, completing 270 hours of internship work over the semester, and perform independent research related closely to their internship experience.