Washington Center

Science Policy Internship Program

The University of California center in Washington D.C. (UCDC) has established a Science Policy Internship Program (SPIP). Students enrolled in science, engineering, and mathematics majors are encouraged to apply to SPIP to experience how scientists and engineers play in an important role in national policymaking, government regulation, and other activities at the interface of science and public policy. Internships can be performed at a variety of organizations including the American Chemical Society, Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services Administration, and many others (see list below.)

Summer Session Academic Program

Many science internships are available year round, but the SPIP combines experiential learning with a science policy curriculum. Summer science students will have the opportunity to enroll in a course in science policy. The course will be taught by Washington-based experts knowledgeable in science policy. 

Topics in American Politics: The Politics and Policy of US Science (draft course description) 

The US government plays a major role in promoting and nurturing science in America. In turn, these investments are expected to help drive the economy, improve public life, and inform and guide policy decisions, ranging from public health to national defense. Science funding, including topics such as energy, green technologies, and basic research are just a few areas the US government invests in and regulates. The US funds the natural sciences and engineering in many ways including peer reviewed grants, national labs, agricultural stations, private contracts, and even Congressional earmarks. This course will look at the role of the federal government in science including both the support of science and the interpritation of scientific information in the policymaking process. Topics will include patterns of science funding, the debate over government- vs. private sector-driven technology development, stem cell research, military research, climate change policy, and the like. Enrollment will be open to all students, but natural science and engineering students who want to gain a better understanding of how the US political system impacts scientific activities are particularly encouraged to take this course.

Science Fellowships

Fellowships are available to science students interning in Washington through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Students must first be admitted to the UCDC program for one of the academic or summer quarters (or semesters in the case of Berkeley and Merced) in order to be eligible for the fellowship. Students at all UC campuses are eligible and should contact their respective campus UCDC offices for application details. Information and application deadlines for each campus's UCDC program can be found here.

Science students admitted to UCDC that are interested in applying for a fellowship should ask that their application materials be forwarded to Prof. Seth Cohen, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, U.C. San Diego. Students in any science, engineering, and mathematics major will be considered, with a preference for those in the chemical sciences. Fellowships can be used to help defray travel and housing costs during the quarter or semester spent at UCDC as part of SPIP. Fellowship support is provided by a generous grant from the Division of Chemistry of the National Science Foundation, with administrative support from the University of California, San Diego.

Students admitted to UCDC and SPIP are eligible to perform their internship at various government and non-government agencies. A special program has been established with the American Chemical Society (ACS) Office of Public Affairs. The ACS is located just steps from UCDC, offering both a convenient and exciting opportunity for SPIP participants. Applicants are encouraged to inquire about the ACS program upon admission to SPIP.

For information on the American Chemical Society internship program visit their policy web site.

Click Here for more information Science Fellowship, including application instructions. Deadline to submit applications is April 10, 2015. 

Possible internships include:

Department of Energy/Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Environmental and Energy Study Institute, Food and Water Watch, National Institute of Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Nature Conservancy, Office of Federal Environmental Executive, Resources for the Future, National Children’s Hospital, Smithsonian, Natural History Museum, USDA Forest Service, Wilderness Society, American Assn. for the Advancement of Science, George C. Marshall Institute, National Geographic Society, Library of Congress/Science, Technology and Business, Institute for Alternative Futures, Health and Human Services, Humane Society of the United States, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Friends of the Earth, Department of Agriculture/National Arboretum, American Society for Engineering Education, Smithsonian/National Zoo, Climate Institute, Center for Strategic and International Studies/Tech & Public Policy Programs, Institute for the Study of Man, National Archives and Records Administration/Cartographic and Architectural Unit, Smithsonian/National Air and Space Museum, Office of Science and Technology Policy, American Chemical Society, and more DC-area science-focused organizations.