Paid Summer Internships, Institute for Policy Studies

“IPS is a progressive internationalist think tank dedicated to building a more equitable, ecologically sustainable, and peaceful society. In partnership with dynamic social movements, we work to turn transformative policy ideas into action. As Washington’s first progressive multi-issue think tank, IPS has served as a policy and research resource for visionary social justice movements for over five decades — from the anti-war and civil rights movements in the 1960s through the environmental, women’s, anti-corporate and other movements to the anti-war and global justice movements of the 21st century.

Calling all emerging change-makers!

The Institute for Policy Studies seeks dedicated young folks hungry for systemic transformation to join our Next Leaders Summer Program. Let’s be clear– this isn’t your typical summer internship. The world crisis in governance, economic stability, and ethical guidance demands that we do our best to prepare to secure and sustain a more just, green, and peaceful future starting, well, yesterday. The Next Leaders Program aims to compel action by sharpening young voices and new ideas through training in public scholarship, a term we define as the connection between policy research and grassroots activism. Team up with us for this 10 week program, and you can forget fetching coffee and filing folders!

The Experience

Our program is broken into 3 parts:

  1. Workshop and Events Series – We’ve prepared a curriculum of weekly workshops and events geared toward the following:
    • Building community within your cohort
    • Sparking inter-generational dialogue to brainstorm around new pressure points in the policy world
    • Sharing skills needed to become a successful public scholar
    • Providing a crash course on the frameworks, history, and current events of the progressive movement and policy sphere
  2. Mentorship – Each participant will get hands-on experience by working on one of our projects and will receive individualized mentorship and training from one of our IPS public scholars. Participants will be selected to work on an internship in one of the following focus areas:
  3. Intergenerational Dialogue and Coalition Building – A centerpiece of our definition of public scholarship is that we work on ideas with movement allies. Through the Next Leaders Program you’ll  not only get plugged into the larger progressive network, but you’ll also be exposed to best practices of coalition building, grassroots activism, and organizing.

Compensation and Academic Credit

While we’re excited about the training experience we’re offering, we also know that you can’t pay for groceries with experience; therefore, we offer an hourly wage of $12.50 for 30 hours weekly to offset the cost of working with IPS while you help us build the future of the progressive movement.

IPS firmly believes that financial barriers shouldn’t exclude people from internship opportunities, and we are grateful to our donors who have made it possible to ensure this internship is paid. However, we strongly encourage applicants to find resources through their schools and other scholarships. Many schools offer assistance for summer internship programs, and we ask that all applicants explore those options first in order to allow us to accept a greater number of interns that do not have access to those resources.

Interns may also receive academic credit, and IPS is happy to assist interns in filling out any requisite forms to help with the credit process.

When to Apply, Important Dates, and Internship Term

Summer 2017 Application Deadline: March 18, 2017 at 5:00 pm

April 3-15, 2017:  Applicants will be contacted for interviews and notified of acceptance to the program during this time.   Due to the high volume of applications, only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

June 1, 2017 – August 10, 2017:  Internship Term

Interns are expected to be available Monday-Thursday (30 hours per week). Please state your availability on your application. While we can offer some flexibility around the start date for students in the quarter system, we want to plan our workshop series with the highest level of attendance possible.

How to Apply

Our ideal applicants will be interested in exploring lasting careers in social justice, will be conversational and persuasive writers, and will have a deep belief in intersectional, equitable solutions. We are deeply committed to recruiting a diverse group of  candidates. The ideal candidates are deeply rooted in their communities (however they are defined) or have a history of activism around issues they care about. Although we are not explicitly limiting our applicant pool, we believe that rising Juniors, Seniors, recent graduates, and first year master’s students will gain the most out of this program.

Part 1:  Please fill out the application form. You are welcome to apply for up to two internship positions (descriptions listed in depth below).

Part 2:  When you’ve submitted your form, please send your resume and a 2-page writing sample to with “Next Leaders Application 2017” in the subject line.Be sure your name is on each document. For your writing sample, we say, go wild! This can be a blog piece, an essay excerpt, a letter to the editor for a newspaper, an article in your school’s newspaper, etc. (If you’re applying for the Saul Landau internship, please also include samples of work such as a website you built or a video you made).

Internship Descriptions

Global Economy Project Internship

The mission of the Global Economy Project is to speed the transition of the U.S. and global economy from a model characterized by extreme levels of economic and racial inequality and excessive corporate and Wall Street power to one that is equitable and sustainable. This project conducts research and analysis of a wide range of economic issues, including executive compensation including pay, the Financial Transaction Tax, retirement, and bonuses. Domestically, Global Economy also explores other Wall Street taxes and financial reforms, and consistently works with low-wage worker organizing groups. On the global level, the project works to ensure justice in trade deals and mining, particularly in Latin America.

Interns for Global Economy are typically involved in research and writing for the IPS website and our inequality portal, as well as policy papers, op-eds, reports, and other project materials. Ideal interns will be comfortable working with numbers (no high-level mathematics, but work may involve lots of data). Through mentorship from project director Sarah Anderson, interns will learn to research various government sources, including corporate filings with the SEC and BLS data on labor. Global Economy Interns also sometimes help develop and implement communications strategies on the wide range of issues that the project covers.

Criminalization of Race and Poverty

The Criminalization of Race and Poverty project at the Institute for Policy Studies seeks a detail-oriented intern who is passionate about racial, gender and social justice, about transformative justice and equity for children and youth who are over disciplined in schools and targeted by the criminal legal system.

The CRP Intern will have an opportunity to work on the development of a transformation diversion program call Teen Court and to compile research, writing and metrics for assessing movement building within the Families of Incarcerated Children movements.

This intern will also play a key role in producing written reports on the above initiatives.

The ideal candidate will be proactive, with solid writing, research, and organizational skills, and possess some knowledge of individual and / or experience with the juvenile or criminal law system or racial justice activism. A focus on equity for, and experience of, intersectional oppressions is a plus.

Climate Policy Program

The aim of the Climate Policy Program is to support the transition from a financially extractive, fossil fueled economy to equitable, democratic and local living economies. Because we understand climate disruption as a consequence of our broken economic system, and as a major factor exacerbating race, class, gender, and other forms of inequality, we look for root causes and promote solutions at the intersection of both the economic and climate crises.

We organize our work around the premise that to solve the climate crisis, we must confront systemic economic, social and racial inequality – especially at home in the U.S., and also globally. We provide long-term vision and bold ideas in domestic and international policy spaces, using research, writing and strategic conversations to redefine what is politically possible.

The Climate Policy Program is currently focused primarily on the United States. The U.S. has the highest per capita carbon emissions of any country, and is now led by a climate-denying Administration that threatens to undermine recent progress in reducing carbon emissions at home, and pull out of international agreements on combating climate change. The U.S. has also been at the forefront of “extreme extraction” such as fracking and mountaintop-removal coal mining. One a more hopeful note, the U.S. has seen a surge of truly inspiring climate activism led by affected frontline communities, such as the struggles around the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines. This is why we have refocused our work primarily on advancing a climate justice agenda in the United States.

We seek to nurture deep relationships with grassroots organizations and networks and to align our efforts with the goals of social, economic and environmental justice movements. The project’s 2017 work, led by Basav Sen focusing on the domestic policy work, and with Associate Fellow Oscar Reyes focusing on the international work, includes:

  • Promoting effective, just climate solutions at the state and local level in a time of inaction and worse at the Federal level;
  • Increasing awareness and debate about the intersections of climate change and inequality, and proposing bold policy solutions; and
  • Building the movement for a just transition to an economy for people and the planet.

The ideal Climate Policy Intern should possess an understanding of the connection between economic, racial, and environmental justice. We are looking for someone with very strong writing and research skills, basic quantitative literacy, and the ability and willingness to learn on the job. A strong candidate would have experience synthesizing qualitative and quantitative data and presenting findings/trends in clearly written and visually compelling ways. Proven experience with persuasive writing, infographic creation, governmental and other data sources, and knowledge of federal environmental agencies and policies preferred.

New Internationalism Internship

The New Internationalism project includes a broad range of public scholarship (writing, speaking, organizing, advocacy) focused on transforming U.S. policy regarding Palestine, wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and beyond, the Iran nuclear deal and sanctions, U.S. domination of Middle East issues in the United Nations, and, overall, supporting diplomacy over war. The project is currently developing a new area of work linking our issues to both immigration and Islamophobia through the rising sanctuary movement at the city and state level, along with work linking refugee protection work to opposing the wars that create refugee flows. The New Internationalism intern will join Phyllis Bennis and her team in much of that work.

Ideal interns will have a background in Middle East studies and/or organizing experience in peace or international solidarity. Interns for New Internationalism will be involved in research, preparation of educational materials and organizing within the anti-war movement. The project director spends some time on the road, so applicants should be comfortable working with a fair amount of independence and maintain flexibility on days and times in the office. There will be opportunities to be published in IPS publications and affiliate media outlets.

New Economy Maryland

New Economy Maryland seeks to help build an economy that better serves all our people and protects our planet. Our major project is the New Economy Maryland Fellowship that brings together a diverse group of emerging leaders from across Maryland. This professional development Fellowship builds power to create change by training participants in two sets of skills: 1) Mastering a compelling conceptual framework for transforming Maryland into a more equitable, environmentally sustainable, and democratic state. 2) Honing public scholarship skills by learning how to write for a broad general audience in the op-ed and blog formats.

New Economy Maryland interns will be key stakeholders in planning and executing the Fellowship and will help us improve our outreach including our website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. The ideal candidates will have a familiarity with New Economy principles and interest or experience in organizing, outreach, and fundraising. Since our focus is on Maryland, it would be a bonus to arrive with some existing contacts or familiarity with the state.

Saul Landau Fellow (Multimedia/Video/Web Communications)

Are you a “techie” who wants to make a difference? The Multimedia/Video/Web Communications intern will gain valuable experience creating multimedia content that features IPS’s cutting edge research and analysis on a variety of progressive issues.  The selected applicant will be called upon to provide AV support, record and edit webinars and podcasts, create videos, coding, etc. for our website, email newsletters and events.

This intern will be supervised by the Digital Communications Manager, but the internship will offer opportunities to work closely with our communications department as well as with IPS’s nationally renowned experts on the economy, foreign policy, environmental issues, etc.  The ideal candidate will be familiar with IPS’s core issue areas, motivated, flexible, organized, and able to work independently and with a team.

The Communications Intern should also possess strong interpersonal skills, patience, and humor.  Preferred technical skills include video and/or sound recording and editing experience (Premiere or Final Cut Pro), basic coding knowledge (HTML, CSS, and Dreamweaver), and comfort with AV technology and equipment. We are seeking someone with a major or commensurate experience in Communications, PR, Graphic Design, Computer Science, or other similar fields.


Our communications internships offer valuable opportunities for young progressives to build concrete skills that they can take to future employers. IPS communications interns work closely with both our communications team and our IPS issue experts on content writing, proofreading, website posting, and media relations projects like building press lists and reaching out to journalists. They’ll also get an opportunity to contribute their own original blog posts or op-eds to the Institute’s in-house publications.

We’re looking for applicants with the ability to take vague or complicated concepts and communicate them concisely and effectively, in a way that’s accessible to a general audience. We need people who have a broad familiarity with current events and progressive issues, strong writing and editing skills, careful attention to detail, and — importantly! — the ability to work independently and meet deadlines.

We’re especially interested in applicants who are familiar with the AP style guide and possess a working knowledge of WordPress. Experience in media relations is a plus, and so is prior experience writing or editing for publication. Patience and humor help, too.

Fundraising and Development Intern

The Fundraising and Development Team at the Institute for Policy Studies seeks a detail-oriented intern who is passionate about organizational development, fundraising, and event planning to join our team.

The Development intern will play a key role in preparing for our annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award ceremony. We’ll match your skills to a specific part of the project to own, whether it’s managing a part of the outreach, helping us track the budget, attending walk-throughs at the venue, or helping to draft communications about the event.  This truly is a fun project where someone with initiative could take a hold of part of the process and make it even better than last year’s successful event.

This intern will also have an opportunity to plan a donor cultivation event of their own, help us launch our Associate Board and alumni network, and have the opportunity to join the development training workshops offered to our staff members.

We are looking for someone who is eager to help us streamline our foundation prospecting process and learn more about how to do foundation research. The ideal candidate will have solid writing, research, and organizational skills. Knowledge of individual and / or institutional donor prospecting and cultivation is a plus.”

The application deadline for summer internships is March 18, 2017. 

For more information on IPS Summer internships and to apply, please visit


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