PIRG’s Gen Z Privacy Leaders Internship Program

Caring about data privacy helps your personal security.

Every semester, PIRG’s privacy program recruits college-aged students across the country to become leaders in the fight for data privacy and tech regulation. Interns help conduct important research and develop ideas for written pieces about data privacy and social media they feel will be compelling to their peers. It’s easy to feel like data harvesting is just the cost of living connected lives, and there’s nothing we can do. But that’s not true – and no one is better positioned to inspire Gen Z to care about data privacy and fight for tech that serves the public interest than Gen Zers themselves. 

Below is a round up of some of the content, research and tips created by our Gen Z privacy leaders. 

My internship with PIRG empowered me to feel like I could make a difference on data privacy. It was exciting to see my research & writing being used. I always felt like my work was valued and actually useful for the campaign, which meant a lot to me. Ellen Hengesbach
Policy intern, Summer 2023



Personal Pieces




R.J. Cross

Director, Don't Sell My Data Campaign, PIRG

R.J. focuses on data privacy issues and the commercialization of personal data in the digital age. Her work ranges from consumer harms like scams and data breaches, to manipulative targeted advertising, to keeping kids safe online. In her work at Frontier Group, she has authored research reports on government transparency, consumer debt and predatory auto lending, and has testified before Congress. Her work has appeared in WIRED magazine, CBS Mornings and USA Today, among other outlets. When she’s not protecting the public interest, she is an avid reader, fiction writer and birder. Though she lives in Boston, she will always consider herself a Kansan at heart.