IOP Policy and Elsie Civic Engagement Internship

Learn more about policy research and civic engagement!

The Institute of Politics (IOP) has provided internship opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students for over 20 years. If you are interested in regional policy research, connecting with the community leaders, elected officials, and other policy experts and decision-makers, and learning more about an area of policy issues impacting our region, then internship with the Institute of Politics is for you! We also offer students the opportunity to intern with the IOP's Elsie Hillman Civic Forum where interns can learn more about community and civic engagement programming and outreach.

When is the internship offered?

Internships are offered typically every summer or fall semester, and interns typical work with us through an entire year (summer, fall and spring terms). We have two IOP Policy Internship positions and one Elsie Civic Engagement Internship open for the summer 2021 term. Applicants can apply via Pitt's talent center. Application links can be found below.


  • Paid internship experience
  • Connect with the Institute of Politics and Elsie Hillman Civic Forum network of community leaders, elected officials, senior academic administration, and policy experts
  • Learn more about policy research, community-building, hosting educational forums
  • Utilize your skills and experience to increase the quality of life of individuals in the SWPA region


  • Any undergraduate OR graduate student pursuing any major
  • If an undergraduate student, preference is given to juniors and seniors 

Program Commitments

  • 15 - 20 hours of work per week
  • IOP Internship Culminating Project
    • In addition to daily work, the intern will develop a semester long project with their IOP mentor that will include a tangible deliverable created by the intern
  • Act as an ambassador for the IOP and Elsie Forum


Students apply via Pitt's Talent Center. We have two IOP Policy Internship positions open for the fall 2021 term. Please apply below.

Applications are due May 1, 2021.

Application Requirements

  • Resume
  • Cover letter answering the following questions (keep to one-page): 
    • Why would you like to participate in this program?
    • What skills would you contribute to your placement should you be selected for the program? 
    • What skills do you hope to gain from this program? 
    • What are your plans post-graduation?
  • Writing Sample
    • Upload a writing sample that shows your writing skills and is no more than 3-5 pages. The topic of the sample does not matter but it helps if it's a research paper or public or professional writing piece. 

Selection Process

Participation is based on the application materials and qualified candidates will have a face-to-face interview with the Institute of Politics staff. The IOP typically has 2-3 internships available per academic year.

What will I be doing if I am selected for this internship?

There are two possible categories of interns at the IOP. 

  • IOP Policy Intern. An IOP Policy Intern supports all of the IOP policy related projects managed by the IOP's senior policy analyst and senior policy strategist, and most likely will focus on one or two projects. Possible tasks include: policy research on critical regional policy issues; development and orchestration of policy forums; and assisting with the writing and editing of the IOP's publications.
  • Elsie Civic Engagement Intern. The Elsie Civic Engagement Intern supports the manager of student programs and community outreach and the other five programs of the Elsie Hillman Civic Forum. Possible tasks include: social media management on content creation, service-learning/community-engaged pedegogy research and implementation; program management and evaluation experience.