Believe in social justice?
Get paid to:
- Research real-world problems like injustices to women and children, wrongful convictions, and abuses of corporate
influence and government power.
- Help break news and affect public policy.
- Gain valuable job experience and career connections.
What Students Say
Here’s what students say about working at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism:
Avi Snyder, 2013
Philosophy; Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
“Working with the Schuster Institute’s Justice Brandeis Innocence Project has been incredibly enlightening and meaningful to me. I’ve learned that legal work isn’t just about making money, but that it can seriously affect the lives of individual human beings. I’m very thankful that I have the opportunity to work in a job that is both teaching me valuable research skills and allowing me to use my talents to do some real good in the world.”
Brian Boyd, 2012
Economics; Math, Philosophy minors
“Working as a Schuster Institute research assistant has added so much to my experience at Brandeis. Investigative journalism can really make a difference in the world. Working on the Justice Brandeis Innocence Project, I see how important it is to question the legal system in our country and help those who the justice system has failed.”
Carolyn Schweitzer, 2012
Psychology; Women’s and Gender Studies
“Working at the Schuster Institute has been an extraordinary experience. I have learned in-depth about a variety of social issues about which I previously had little knowledge. In particular, the research I do has opened my eyes to the horrible reality of sex trafficking inside and out of the United States and the impact it has on the men, women, and children.
“The staff members at the Institute are passionate about making a lasting societal impact through the power of investigative journalism. Their constant dedication inspires in every student who works here the will to enact change.”
Rachel Gillette, 2011
Politics; African and Afro-American Studies
“Working at the Schuster Institute is intellectually stimulating, empowering, and always exciting. With both short-term and long-term projects, I am given a lot of autonomy as a student to explore issues and expand my knowledge, all while developing my research and writing skills. It’s a very welcoming office. I look forward to my time spent at the Schuster Institute, and certainly appreciate the seriousness of the issues.”
Anna Khandros, 2011
Politics; Peace & Coexistence and Legal Studies minors
“My favorite thing about working at the Schuster Institute so far is that is allows me to apply what I have learned in my Legal Studies courses to work I do for the Innocence Project. Seeing the shortcomings of our legal system through research related to wrongful convictions has sparked my interest in advocacy. I used to think of social justice in a larger sense, but working for the Schuster Institute reminded me that it starts right here on campus.”
Jon Muchin, 2011
“At Schuster, I've been challenged. Challenged in my preconceptions, and challenged to make a difference. Working here has helped me to think more critically about the world, to look beyond what is readily accepted and find the real story. Beyond that, it has reaffirmed that knowledge really is the key to change. Whether researching sex trafficking or environmental policy, the work we are doing can help make a difference.
“Working at Schuster perfectly encapsulates Brandeis’s motto: in the name of justice, we are seeking out truth, even unto its innermost parts.”
Sean Petterson, 2011
History; American Studies
“Working at the Schuster Institute has given me the opportunity to research important social justice topics like human trafficking. Being here has encouraged me to look at social justice legal work after graduation. The Schuster Institute gives students the opportunity to research independently and write memos—crucial skills that will benefit me once I leave Brandeis.”
Theresa Sheehan, 2011
Health: Science, Society and Policy; and Environmental Studies
“I have loved working for the Schuster Institute. It provided a wonderful work atmosphere, and opened my eyes to issues around the world that I had no previous knowledge of. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work alongside incredible journalists and the chance to personally meet and converse with the speakers we brought to campus.
“This experience has helped me to see the importance of investigative journalism. I love the feeling that I have made an impact by assisting in the spread of knowledge.”
Debby Frisch, 2010
Politics; Economics and Legal Studies minors
“The Justice Brandeis Innocence Project has inspired me to pursue a career in criminal law and shaped my future more than I could possibly begin to describe. I worked at the Institute for two years, the second year focusing only on the Innocence Project. Innocence work and criminal law were on my mind at all times. I couldn't stop reading about it and telling everyone constantly about the amazing work that the Institute does. I had found my passion. In September of my senior year, the Justice Brandeis Innocence Project team went to a training and to hear Dennis Maher (an exoneree) speak at Goodwin Procter, which houses the New England Innocence Project. In April I applied for a case assistant position, splitting my time between Goodwin litigation and the New England Innocence Project, and was ecstatic when I received the job offer. After completing the case assistant program in two years, I will head to law school and hopefully continue my Innocence work. I can't begin to thank the Schuster Institute for exposing me to Innocence work and shaping my future.”
Liz Macedo, 2010
International and Global Studies; Social Justice and Social Policy, and Legal Studies minors
“Working at the Schuster Institute has been the most rewarding and valuable part of my Brandeis experience. This research position has affected not only my professional growth by giving me valuable workplace experience, but also my personal development as a socially conscious individual. I've had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most inspiring individuals on a variety of social injustices and know that I would be a different person without their influence. I'm incredibly grateful for my colleagues, opportunities, and experiences at the Institute and will always remember the time I spent here as the turning point that helped me to realize that a job is just a job unless you love it—then it becomes a passion.”
Jake Yarmus, 2010
Politics; Economics minor
“I expected to make good connections through my work at Schuster but it has contributed more to my understanding of journalistic issues and my own confidence in possibly pursuing a similar career than I previously imagined. I was delighted to find that the job came with considerable responsibility, critical evaluation of my work, and the opportunity to take part in groundbreaking research and to feel that I was contributing to something important in the world of journalism. As a senior, facing a number of uncertainties and anxieties about my future, the excitement I feel when I go to work every week for the Schuster Institute—the people I meet, the projects I work on, the mysteries I uncover—is a true blessing.
“It’s hard to imagine that I could work for a publication or center again where I would feel so strongly that the people I worked for were truly dedicated to their jobs and to their responsibility—to inform public knowledge about social and governmental policy and to expose injustice—more than they are dedicated to furthering their careers.”
"Working at the Institute has been inspiring on so many levels. It often seems that every student at Brandeis has a social injustice they are passionate about—wrongful convictions is my injustice, and I discovered it through the Institute. This was not just a college job—it was a passionate campaign to help get an innocent man out of jail. The Institute inspired my thesis topic and also gave me a career goal—to be an attorney working for an Innocence Project. Working with Florence Graves, the best of the best, was an invaluable experience. I learned research skills, how to think like a journalist and a lawyer, and the importance of investigative journalism in correcting injustice."
"I love working here. Being a science major you wouldn’t expect it, but this has been one of the most beneficial jobs I’ve ever had. It has opened up my mind to experiences, insights and issues that I had never really thought about before. It’s made me more aware of what's going on and given me the opportunity to help out. It’s been a very eye-opening experience, and I really like it.
"I love working with the Institute staff. It’s fun; it keeps me entertained and on my toes. Working with people who are enthusiastic and crazy about what they’re doing makes me feel more passionate about what I’m doing to help."
Photo caption: Hadar Sayfan (right), Institute research assistant, interviews former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani, author of Standing Alone in Mecca, on March 23, 2005, the day of Nomani's Institute-sponsored presentation at Brandeis.
"Working at the Institute is a great opportunity for anyone interested in politics, journalism, women's studies, human rights or law. I feel a sense of purpose working at the Institute. The Institute's mission of addressing issues ignored by the mainstream media is extremely important and I'm personally thrilled to be involved.
"Academically, the legal research I've done for the institute has been interesting and exciting and … I have a set of unique skills that I learned in a very hands-on manner. I'm sure that my time working for such an innovative and progressive organization will only help me in the future. The Institute has offered me a chance to be proactive and analytic in a way that goes beyond academia."
Now: Research Assistant, Project for Excellence in Journalism
Photo caption: Jessica Goldings, Institute research assistant, meets Ben Bradlee, former Washington Post executive editor, when he spoke at an Institute-sponsored event at Brandeis University in 2004, for the 30th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's resignation under threat of impeachment."Working for Florence Graves at the Institute, I developed the kind of close personal relationship with a mentor that Brandeis prides itself on. It was wonderful to work so closely with an individual who cared so much about my well-being, and who always offered her unconditional support.
"Just as important, I gained valuable professional insight into the field of journalism, which ultimately influenced me to pursue journalism as a career. Here I learned that investigative reporting offers hard, fast facts that put important news issues into perspective by adding depth, clarity, and context. I learned always to question authority and frame my arguments in a way that will enable the public to benefit. Journalists have an obligation to take vast amounts of complex material and process it into easily digestible formats. This requires much hard work (including countless interviews, hours of research, and searching for obscure, hard-to-find statistics), but it is our responsibility, so that the public can more easily make sense of significant issues that affect them daily.
"Working here has influenced me personally as well. I had been skeptical about the average individual’s ability to influence politics, since it’s so heavily guarded by red tape and those in power. But seeing the type of work Pam Cytrynbaum does with the Innocence Project gave me faith in journalism’s power to promote fundamental, positive political change. And reading some of E.J. Graff’s interview transcripts for the Gender & Justice Project, I was shocked by some of the sexual harassment occurring to innocent working women throughout the U.S.; I had always assumed the laws would protect me. I know now that, as journalists, we can make an impact in our democratic society by investigating injustices and standing up for what we believe in. The Institute has brought a whole new meaning to social justice and academic excellence—two of the tenets on which Brandeis University prides itself."
Now: Paralegal, Outten & Golden, LLP
Photo caption: Rebecca Gedalius (right), a member of the Institute's Justice Brandeis Innocence Project research team, meets Sister Helen Prejean during the Brandeis Day of Innocence, March 2006.
"Working to help Professor Pam Cytrynbaum develop the Institute’s Innocence Project, I've learned a great deal about how our system creates opportunities for wrongful conviction — hat a confession is not necessarily a case-clincher, that how investigations are structured [by law enforcement authorities] allows other suspects to be shut out early on, and that information is often presented to juries in misleading ways. Working here has taught me to question everything, even what seems obvious or to be a given. I think through situations more carefully, playing things out in my mind to find the snags. This is also making me a better planner in my everyday life.
"Investigating a real case with real consequences has made me grow as a person because I can see my value. Working here all year has given me responsibility, an unbiased commitment to the person in prison, an opportunity to do good now, and a chance to work with some great people. And working here is making me consider being a prosecutor, ironically enough. More conscientious and educated prosecutors will make for a better system even more than defense attorneys, because if the prosecutors are fair, then justice is more likely to prevail."