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Office of Federal Relations Summer Internship

Posted by on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 in Announcements .

The Office of Federal Relations invites undergraduate students, graduate students, or recent graduates from Vanderbilt University or the Washington, D.C.-area with ties to Tennessee who are interested in higher education or science public policy issues to apply for our summer, fall, or spring internships.

This internship will provide you with a firsthand look at the federal policymaking process and the role that advocates play in influencing public policy. As one of the nation’s leading research universities, Vanderbilt University plays an important role in the federal process. Both as a recipient of federal grant money and an expert provider of cutting-edge research and analysis, Vanderbilt’s voice is vital to the consideration of national policy issues. Among the many topics on which the Office of Federal Relations focuses are funding for research in science, engineering, social sciences, education, and the humanities; higher education policy; student aid; tax issues; and policies related to international students and scholars.

As an intern, your responsibilities may include:

  • Researching public policy initiatives related to the university’s federal policy priorities
  • Tracking legislation related to the university’s priorities
  • Attending hearings and briefings on and off Capitol Hill
  • Publishing a weekly e-newsletter that is sent to Capitol Hill staff
  • Drafting social media content to support our advocacy efforts
  • Contributing to a daily round-up of federal news items sent to Vanderbilt faculty and staff
  • Updating communications tools
  • Delivering campus publications to staff on Capitol Hill

The ideal candidate would have a strong interest in the role advocacy plays in the federal policy process and the issues of interest to the university. Strong writing and critical thinking skills are a must!

Internships may be paid or for academic credit, depending on the opportunities offered through your academic institution.

Internships may be virtual or in-person, at the discretion of the Office of Federal Relations.

Summer Internship:

The summer internship is typically a full time (40 hours per week) commitment. The internship lasts eight weeks, beginning in early June and concluding at the end of July.


  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Contact information for two references – for example, a professor, supervisor, or peer with whom you have worked closely on a project
  • 400-word policy memo on a policy topic of your choice

Please submit your application to Heather Bloemhard at

Please direct questions about the internship opportunity to Heather Bloemhard. February 1, 2021. Students with questions about the internship opportunity can reach out to Heather. While the opportunity is open to graduate students, please note that it would require a full-time commitment for most of the summer; this opportunity may only be appropriate for individuals who can completely step away from their research for that amount of time.

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