CS+Social Good Impact Lab

An undergraduate research program run by students, for students.


What is the program about?

The Impact Lab, created by CS+Social Good, aims to build a community of undergraduate researchers conducting socially-impactful research. We seek to provide students with faculty mentorship, community, and relevant resources that enable effective social impact-related technical research projects. Our central initiative is the Research Exposure Program, which directs committed undergraduates to social-impact-focused research groups. The CS+Social Good Impact Lab is supported by the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI.

How to Apply

How can I get involved with the program?

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about applying to Impact Lab.

  • Fill out our Google Form application by December 3rd
  • Wait for lab matches, which will be emailed over winter break
  • If accepted by a lab, get excited and welcome to Impact Lab!
  • Once you receive your match make sure to reach out to your lab
  • Get ready for weekly Impact Lab meetings starting winter quarter

  • The research process varies from lab to lab, but students will typically get started by going through a training program specific to their role
  • From there, students may be asked to engage in a variety of tasks, including data analysis, needs finding, and software/application development

  • No prior research/technical experience is necessary!
  • We expect Impact Lab to be students’ first research experience, so don’t feel discouraged to apply if you haven’t taken part in research before.

  • Students can receive academic credit for all projects, but some labs do offer paid positions as well.

  • Impact Lab meets every week to support the research cohort! We do activities such as: research skills workshops, speaker panels, movie/TV screenings, and other fun CS/research related things!

  • Stanford Prevention Research Center - HARTS Lab: Advancing Health Equity
  • Stanford King Center on Global Development: Using Machine Learning to Study Economic Development and Poverty Alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Stanford Social Media Lab: Pro-Social Behavior and Collective Emotion Through Shared Media Experiences
  • Center for Deliberative Democracy: Projects on Immigration, Foreign Policy, Healthcare, the Economy, the Environment, and Candidate Selection


What are the important dates?

Below are a list of key dates:

November 8th: Applications Open

December 3rd: Applications Close

Winter Break: Decisions Released


What topics will we cover?

Want to get an idea of the topics we'll be covering? Check out our tentative syllabus below!

  • Week 1: Introductions and Getting to Know Everyone

    An ice-breaker event where people introduce themselves, what their research projects consist of.

  • Week 2: Tips for Getting Started + First Research Check-In

    Topics include developing a strong line of communication with PI, balancing time between classes and research, and other questions students might have as they get started.

  • Week 3: Workshop on Analyzing Scientific Papers

    What's the best way for approaching the first read?

  • Week 4: Speaker Event from PhD and Graduate Students

    Panel will consist of students working on social impact projects. Every student should prepare 2-3 questions to ask the panel beforehand.

  • Week 5: Halfway Point Presentation

    Students will give an overview of the research they’ve done so far. In most cases, these will be mostly a summary of the project and proposed experimental methods.

  • Week 6: Speaker Event from CS+SG Partner

    Panel will consist of individuals working on social impactful projects outside of academia to give students a holistic picture. Every student should prepare 2-3 questions to ask the panel beforehand.

  • Week 7: Black Mirror Screening and Discussion

    A de-stress, fun group activity that revolves around technology affecting society.

  • Week 8: Research Poster Workshop

    Students will learn about the different platforms that can be used to build posters, the right balance between text and results, and see some example posters + presentations.

  • Week 9: Research Check-in and time to work on the final presentation poster

    Students will have time to work on the poster and get feedback from the Impact Lab team and mentors on best practices.

  • Week 10: Final Poster presentation on research

    Students will give live presentations about their research and then partake in a mini “poster” day where students can get to share their research with a broader audience.


Who do I reach out to?

Have any questions? Reach out to Impact Lab Co-Leads Kaitlin Harold (kharold@stanford.edu) or Christopher Pondoc (clpondoc@stanford.edu) if you have any questions!