Public Interest Internship Program
In Fall 2021, CSPI is offering three paid, part-time intern positions on the policy team. Fall 2021 interns will work with one of the following areas: Organizing; Restaurant Kids' Meals; or SNAP.
All internships are remote until further notice.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest offers a paid internship program for students in undergraduate, graduate, law and medical schools, and we also consider postgraduates. These paid internships offer structured work experiences and an opportunity to:
- Gain substantial knowledge of the policy-making process and the role science plays.
- Participate in group meetings and strategy brainstorming sessions.
- Obtain general research and communication skills by working closely with policy, legislative and outreach experts.
- Meet with staff at all levels of the organization to discuss career roles and paths.
- Assess your own interests and skills.
CSPI, America’s food and health watchdog, is one of the nation’s leading public health advocacy organizations with a 50-year record of fighting for science in the public interest and working to improve the food environment for all. CSPI led efforts to win passage of many state and local policies to improve school food, remove sugary drinks from children’s menus, and require calorie labeling on chain restaurant menus.
CSPI is committed to including and valuing diverse voices and fostering a culture that ensures all staff feel a sense of belonging and are encouraged to be their best selves. In that spirit, each of us is committed to putting in constant work to live up to our organization’s core values:
- We are inclusive. We seek to foster an environment where all staff feel a sense of belonging and are affirmed. We are not looking for everyone to think and look the same. We actively welcome and value staff with different experiences, backgrounds, attributes, abilities, and perspectives.
- We are open. We are honest and direct in how we communicate with each other in order to build trust and integrity within our organization.
- We are accountable. We acknowledge and assume responsibility for our actions.
- We are kind. We communicate and treat one another in a respectful, generous, considerate, and compassionate way.
- We are collaborative. We work together for the common good and shared success.
Current Internship Opportunities
In Fall 2021, CSPI is offering three paid, part-time intern positions on the policy team. Fall 2021 interns will work with one of the following areas:
CSPI’s Organizing team supports campaigns across multiple nutrition policy areas, primarily School Foods, Restaurant Kids’ Meals, Healthy Retail, Menu Warning Icons, and Healthy SNAP. Organizers are responsible for managing and expanding CSPI’s relationships with external partners by supporting our grant-funded groups, creating capacity-building opportunities, and identifying BIPOC and community-led organizations to engage in our work.
The Organizing Intern will develop tools and resources for our grantees and other partners, including supporting CSPI’s Resource Hub, collecting partner stories, and researching equity-centered practices for community engagement. The ideal candidate possesses an interest in learning more about policy advocacy and organizing, and a passion for improving health equity in our food system. There will be an opportunity for the intern to tailor this experience to meet their own professional development goals.
Restaurant Kids’ Meals
Eating out has nutrition and health consequences for adults, but children are especially vulnerable. When children eat out, they typically consume more calories, added sugars, and sugary drinks. Kids also eat fewer fruits, vegetables, and whole grains when they eat out than when they eat at home. These meals not only have immediate health consequences, but they also impact food preferences and social norms that can affect health long into adulthood.
The Restaurant Kids’ Meals intern will assist with conducting an analysis of the quality of beverages served as part of restaurant kids’ meals. The ideal candidate has experience with data collection and data analysis, strong attention to detail, and an interest in advocating for improving the quality of foods served in restaurants.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal food assistance program and is proven to alleviate hunger and help lift millions out of poverty. Because of SNAP’s large reach, the program is also well positioned to help families experiencing poverty access nutritious food and leverage the food environment to support – rather than undermine – healthy eating.
The SNAP intern will track SNAP-related federal legislation and will assist with a "power mapping" project to identify target states for the SNAP team's community engagement and advocacy. The ideal candidate has familiarity with public policy, is comfortable working collaboratively on shared documents, has strong attention to detail, and is interested in health equity and nutrition assistance policies.
What Else You Should Know
CSPI pays interns $15.20 per hour. Our 10-week fall intern program is part-time, and interns will work 10 hours per week. The ideal start date is September 13, but we will work with applicants if there’s a schedule conflict. The fall internship program is remote as CSPI is still a work-from-home office.
Please utilize CSPI's Paylocity Applicant Tracking System to apply for the Fall 2021 Internship Program. You should submit a resume and cover letter indicating areas of interest. In the cover letter, we ask that applicants list each intern position in order of preference to help us direct your application to the appropriate intern manager. The application deadline is August 13, 2021.
If your background and interests are a good match for our internship, we will contact you using the information you have provided. Due to the volume of applications we typically receive we are unable to provide additional information on our selection process to applicants who are not chosen for interviews.
Please contact the Human Resources office if you have any further questions.
The following internships are not available during Fall 2021 but may be available during spring or summer 2022. We will update the internship page during fall 2021.
Nutrition Action Healthletter
CSPI has been promoting healthy diets for more than 40 years and has had a profound effect on the way Americans eat. As part of its mission, Nutrition Action Healthletter (NAH), one of the nation’s largest-circulation nutrition newsletters, helps shape the national conversation on sound nutrition by translating the best available science into advice for the public and healthcare professionals, and ultimately into recommendations for legislatures, government agencies, and industry. Interns assist with a variety of projects related to upcoming articles, especially collecting information about packaged and restaurant food online, by phone, and in supermarkets, entering nutrient data into spreadsheets, transcribing interviews, and occasionally preparing recipes. Applicants should have strong research and communications skills as well as an eye for detail. An interest or coursework in nutrition or dietetics is preferred.
CSPI has been fighting for consumers' rights in the food industry for decades. Orgininating in 2004, CSPI's Litigation Department pioneered the field of food law, and ever since, has been wielding the power of litigation and negotiation to bring about better food labeling, more honest marketing, and encouraging formulation reforms that benefit consumers. The Litigation Department identifies and brings class action litigation challenging deceptive and misleading advertising and labeling practices, primarily concerning food and supplements. The Department also oversees CSPI's involvement in administrative lawsuits alleging violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, and works on amicus briefs, appeals of court cases, and requests and appeals under the Freedom of Information Act.
Interns assist with a variety of projects, including research and drafting projects. Applicants should have completed at least one year of law school by the start of the internship, have a strong interest in consumer and regulatory law, excellent research and writing skills, a commitment to public interest work, and must submit a legal writing sample.
The Policy team works on national, state, and local food and health policies. CSPI’s policy advocacy team has led successful efforts to secure laws and safeguards including requiring the Nutrition Facts panel on packaged foods, removing artificial trans fat from the food supply, placing calorie counts on restaurant menus, improving school meals and removing soda and junk food from school vending machines, requiring allergen labeling, and making key advances in food safety. Intern projects may involve conducting research for policy analysis and development, tracking legislation and regulations, and grassroots organizing to support state and local policy.
Food and Nutrition Policy Interns. Nutrition interns work on federal, state, and local policy initiatives, including food labeling, the Dietary Guidelines, improvements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), healthier school meals, sugar-sweetened beverage taxes, improving community food systems, healthy restaurant kids’ meals, healthier retail, and food marketing to children.
Legal Policy Interns. Legal interns should have completed at least one year of coursework in a legal degree program by the start of the internship. These interns are supervised by an attorney and assist in federal litigation and federal or state policy advocacy, including researching caselaw, statutes, and regulations and drafting legal memoranda, letters, petitions, comments, Freedom of Information Act requests, and administrative appeals. Legal interns are encouraged to submit a legal writing sample in addition to the non-technical writing sample.
Food Additives Policy Interns. Food Additives interns should be enrolled in or have completed a graduate degree program in public health, toxicology, food safety, epidemiology, or other relevant sciences. They will work with a Senior Scientist to evaluate the use and safety of food and color additives and other substances in the food supply and related advocacy efforts. Projects might include conducting research; preparing written analyses for regulatory agencies, Congress, the media, companies, and other stakeholders; and watchdogging the industry. Applicants should describe their relevant coursework and background in conducting reviews of research and evaluating evidence.
Food Safety Policy Interns. Food safety interns should be enrolled in or have completed a graduate degree program in food safety, public health, veterinary medicine, or a related field. Interns will conduct targeted research for policy development or adoption on topics including USDA and FDA standards and regulatory enforcement, adverse event reporting, and antimicrobial resistance. They may assist in drafting letters, petitions and comments on regulations and enforcement actions, and attend meetings and events for food safety stakeholders representing consumer interests.
CSPI is committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills and encourages people of diverse ages, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, disabilities, religions, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, work, and life experiences to apply. For updated information on this or other openings, visit: Jobs at CSPI