Paid Public Service Internship

Elaine Werby Public Service Internship at the Center for Social Policy

The Elaine Werby Public Service Internship provides financial assistance to an undergraduate or graduate student from any academic discipline at UMass Boston who wishes to gain professional experience in the area of research and evaluation related to the eradication of poverty, especially in Massachusetts, New England, and the United States. The internship will engage a student with a directed work assignment within a CSP project or with an independent  research project closely related to a CSP priority. Innovative ideas and projects are encourages

Financial Award

A $2,500 award will be presented to the selected student to help defray educational and living expenses while working as a Werby Intern. One half of the award will be distributed to the student at the beginning of the term and the remaining half distributed at the project’s conclusion. The intern will be invited to take part in CSP special events and team meetings. Academic credit will be available according to established University policies and in coordination with the student’s department.

Supervision and Outcomes

Interns will be supervised by a member of the CSP staff or an appropriate faculty member or practitioner. The intern and supervisor will meet regularly during the term. At the outset of the internship, the intern, the supervisor, and the CSP Internship Coordinator will agree on the specific outcomes that the intern will complete. Outcomes can take a variety of forms, including, but not limited to a(n):

  • research report
  • evaluation report
  • set of briefs
  • thesis proposal
  • chapter of a thesis
  • art project

Application Process

Application form for the Werby Internship

The CSP Internship Coordinator will be available to advise students on the development of their proposals.

In addition to the formal information requested on the form, applicants are asked to write a statement (from 300 to 500 words) of their plans for the work they would like to do during the internship. Also, applicants must have one or two academic-professional letters of recommendation sent to the CSP Internship Coordinator at

Application Deadline: March 15
Selection Announcement:  April 15

About Elaine Werby

Elaine Werby (1921 – 2016) earned her MSW at Boston College in 1966. After graduation, she joined the staff of the Boston Housing Authority, where she collaborated with her colleagues to make the program racially integrated. She was a community organizer in Boston housing projects during the civil rights era.

Beginning in the early 1970s, first as a professor of community planning and human services at UMass Boston's College of Public and Community Service (CPCS) and, then, as a researcher at the Center for Social Policy, Werby’s professional focus was to ensure that Boston’s citizens, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, have access to good homes.

Werby’s early career working with low-income populations and nonprofit service organizations augmented her expertise on social service delivery and public housing. Her keen ability to connect research to practice was widely recognized. Twice she was appointed by Massachusetts governors to serve on the commonwealth’s mortgage board and she served as chair of both Family Services of Greater Boston and the Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly. She came to CPCS to offer a practitioner’s perspective to students and relished that role until she retired in 1993.

After a brief hiatus, she returned to the Center for Social Policy as a senior research fellow where she worked into her nineties. Over the years she was involved in a number of the center’s major housing studies as well as research on the utilization of food stamps in Massachusetts and the effects of welfare reform on nonprofit agencies.

 In a wonderful tribute to her life, the Boston Globe writes that "Mrs. Werby helped shape the city's public housing policies for decades."

Her lasting touch is everywhere at the center where she has served as a dynamic and insightful mentor. Student learning meant more to her than anything else.

Center for Social Policy

Healey Library, 10th Floor, Room 12
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125 USA