Fellows and Interns

About this Placement

This opportunity allows junior scholars to gain hands-on experience applying empirical information to the needs of federal public policymakers. This position can be adapted to meet a range of professional development goals, including supporting fieldwork requirements and  student milestones.The purpose of this position is to support the Research-to-Policy Collaboration (RPC) by


a) joining meetings with legislative staff and the RPC coordinator

b) organizing requests for research-based information

c) organizing a response to requests using a network-based approach for voluntarily mobilizing research experts

d) contributing to written products such as policy briefs or op-eds

e) contributing to sustainability efforts such as grant writing

f) evaluating and optimizing strategies for infusing research into public policies. Interns are expected to work with researchers who range in career stage and areas of expertise; as such, there are tremendous opportunities for enhancing one’s professional network. 

Furthermore, scholars will have opportunities for developing policy-related experience and a working knowledge of how research-oriented professionals can contribute to the policy process. 

Note:  Interns who contribute 150 or more hours (approximately 1 semester)  become RPC Fellows

Learning Opportunities

Our interns and fellows gain hands-on experience with:

  • Applying research skills or knowledge to contribute to public policy.

  • Gaining knowledge of how prevention science can benefit society.

  • Discussing rationales for federal policies that are in alignment with scientific evidence, as well as the organization’s mission and goals.

  • Conceptualizing causes for and responses to social issues at multiple levels of analysis, with focus on implications for federal policy. 

  • If desired, producing a policy brief summarizing key information on a topic relevant to policymakers, prevention scientists, and society broadly (e.g., child maltreatment prevention), evidence for interventions and policies to promote well-being in that area, and implications for future policy efforts. 

Activities May Include

  • Attending meetings with legislative offices and coordinating responses to legislative requests.

  • Research and evaluation that supports replication and/or optimization of the RPC. Current research activities include:

    • Optimizing research dissemination efforts by assessing under what conditions legislative staff are most likely to read emails about research evidence.

    • Exploring how policymakers leverage research evidence in written legislation so that we can draw from those examples in future collaborations seeking to advance the use of research in written law.

    • Evaluating the impact of the RPC on legislative and research participants. 

  • Contributing to written research-based communication products, such as policy briefs, fact sheets, op-eds, and social media posts.

  • Working with RPC staff to organize panels, roundtables, or congressional briefings.

  • Grant writing and other development activities that support the sustainability of this work. 

Skills Needed by the Applicant

Must have completed pre-requisite coursework in a scientific major emphasizing health and/or behavior and be able to:

  • Interpret and synthesize research

  • Write for non-scientific audiences

  • Work respectfully with individuals across the political spectrum

  • Use word processing software 

  • Have an interest in expanding knowledge in policy issues and building new technical skills

  • Attend to detail and manage time effectively


Additional Considerations for Applicant Selection

  • The applicant’s stage of training – applicants nearing the dissertation stage are preferred.  

  • Schedule flexibility – applicants with the most flexible schedules are preferred.

  • Proximity to Washington D.C.; however most of the work is able to be done through telecommuting.

  • Prior U.S. policy experience – applicants who have familiarity with U.S. political processes are preferred.

For additional information about supervision, anticipated time commitment, compensation, expected duration of this practicum/internship, and requested cover letter content please review this PDF