Paid Social Justice Internships through Next Leaders Program

Academic Credits





13.25/ hr



Application Deadline


Start Date


End Date



1301 Connecticut Ave, NW
Suite 600
United States



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!


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 intergenerational 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. And, you’ll have a chance to design your own mini-dialogue series with your cohort and our staff.


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 $13.25 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.


Summer 2018 Application Deadline: March 18, 2018 at 5:00 PM

April 3-15, 2018: 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 4, 2018: Internship begins

August 9, 2018: Internship ends

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.


Communications Internship

Our communications internships offer valuable opportunities for young progressives to build concrete skills that they can take to future employers. IPS comms interns work closely with both our comms team and our IPS issue experts on content writing, proofreading, website posting, and media relations projects like building press lists and conducting outlet research. 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. Editorial Intern is a natural hub for academics, activists and journalists looking for more perspectives on narrowing our economic divide. We’re looking for a bright and passionate intern to join our editorial team for the summer of 2018.

The intern will work with the editor, Negin Owliaei, to ensure that the site stays up to date with the latest inequality news and analysis. They’ll help promote the work of the site and its contributors to other writers, academics, and activists. This intern will also have the opportunity to contribute their own original writing to

Our ideal candidate is a strong writer who understands the root causes of inequality, wants to expand their knowledge on the issue, and can condense complex policy issues into easily consumable pieces. This position is well suited for an aspiring writer who isn’t afraid to wade into politics.Attention to detail is essential, as is a solid understanding of current events. We’re looking for someone who gets excited about progressive policy, and seeks to share that enthusiasm in their writing and communications work. While not required, we’d love to find someone to join our team who has experience writing or editing for a nontechnical publication and/or has an understanding of WordPress.

Criminalization of Race and Poverty Intern

The Criminalization of Poverty and Race 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 CPR Intern will have an opportunity to work on the development of a transformational alternative-to-school-discipline model in a local DC public school. The program offers hands-on opportunities to work with Restorative Justice Circles and Teen Court models. This intern will 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.

Saul Landau Fellow (Video Communications)

Are you a “film junkie” who wants to make a difference? The Saul Landau fellow will follow in the legacy of IPS filmmaker Saul Landau and 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 produce short videos that provide accessible explanations and backgrounds of topics in the public conversation. We want to engage folks who aren’t yet experts in our issue areas with deep thinking and progressive takes on the news.

The ideal candidate will have experience in film production, story-boarding, video-editing, and transferring and converting media files. We are also looking for folks who have prior journalism experience or the equivalent in conducting interviews, transcription, and condensing content. Comfort and experience with handling camera equipment and video-editing software such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro is required. (IPS has Adobe Premiere on site, but folks who prefer Final Cut Pro will need to provide their own software.)

We’re looking for someone who can start making professional looking videos on day one, but who’s looking to deepen their knowledge of progressive issues, sharpen their editorial instincts, and build a portfolio they can be proud of while working closely with a supervisor.

Other daily tasks may include AV support and recording and editing webinars.

The Saul Landau fellow will be housed on our comms team and supervised by the Editorial Manager, but the position will also offer opportunities to work closely with IPS’s nationally renowned experts on the economy, foreign policy, and the environment. The ideal candidate will be familiar with IPS’s core issue areas, motivated, flexible, organized, and able to work independently and with a team. Strong applicants should also possess strong interpersonal skills, patience, and humor.

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 low-wage employment, executive compensation, Wall Street reform, and corporate taxes.

Interns for Global Economy are typically involved in research and writing for the IPS website and our inequality portal at, 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.

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 internship opportunity will provide training in cultivating new donor relationships, the chance to manage events, and the option to join the development training workshops offered to our staff members.

We are looking to find someone who is eager to help us create engaging and timely fundraising events for a variety of audiences: major donors, millennials, and young professionals. The ideal candidate will have solid writing, research, and organizational skills. Knowledge of fundraising events and individual donor prospecting and cultivation is a plus.

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.

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.

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 interested in seeking careers in social change, and 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 2018” 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.*

Feel free to provide a couple sentences of context if you’re excerpting your selection from a larger piece. The important thing is for us to get a sense of something you’re passionate about …oh, and, we’d love to see if you can string a sentence together, too.

* If you’re applying for the Saul Landau internship, please also include 2 samples of your work – these could be interviews, short films, a clip of a documentary, a commercial, etc. We prefer that you submit pieces no longer than 3 minutes. You can provide a link to your work in the corresponding question on the application form OR send a link in your email OR send your samples as attachments labeled “Saul Landau Sample” in your email with your resume and writing sample.