Public Interest Internship Program
CSPI was started in 1971 by three scientists who saw the need for an organization to evaluate the effects of science and technology on society and to promote national policies responsive to consumers' interests. CSPI focuses primarily on food and health issues, exposing and addressing deceptive marketing practices, risky food additives and contaminants, and industry practices that make it hard for people to eat well. Our findings are communicated through press interviews, reports, comments and petitions to regulatory agencies, and a variety of educational materials, which include books, posters, social media, videos, and the Center's Nutrition Action Healthletter.
CSPI offers internships for a small number of qualified students in undergraduate, graduate, law, and medical schools each summer and during the school year. We also consider post graduates. Applications are considered on a rolling basis until all positions have been filled.
Our 10-week internships are unpaid, and can be full-time or part-time. The specific dates of an internship are flexible and depend on our needs and the applicant's schedule. CSPI offers a collegial work environment and flexible schedule to accommodate your academic responsibilities. If your school offers academic credit for internships, we will work with you to meet your school’s requirements. We will also reimburse you up to $5/day for commuting expenses.
Application materials should include the following (please submit all the requested documents at the same time):
1. A cover letter indicating issues of interest, future plans, and dates of availability.
2. A résumé.
3. Writing sample, if required by the specific project (one to three-page document that demonstrates your ability to write in a clear and concise manner).
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org (this is the preferred method). Please specify the name of the internship to which you are applying in the subject line.
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.
Nutrition Action Healthletter (no longer considering applications for summer 2020)
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.
Litigation Department (Currently accepting applications for fall 2020)
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.
Policy Department (Summer 2020 internships have been filled; accepting applications for Fall 2020)
The Policy Department 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. Note: in addition to submitting direct applications, legal interns may also apply to CSPI’s summer internship program through the Equal Justice Works Career Fair, which takes place each fall for internships the following summer.
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 an equal opportunity employer. Minorities, women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For updated information on this or other openings, visit: Jobs at CSPI