2024 Summer Nutrition Policy and Lobbying Research Internship

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Job Description

Posted on: 
February 16, 2024


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 science, 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.

About CSPI

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, your 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. We’ve led efforts to win passage of many state and local policies to improve school foods, put calories on chain restaurant menus and menu boards, and remove sugary drinks from children’s menus. National policy successes include the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act; Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act; Food Safety Modernization Act; and Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. More recently, CSPI has also been involved in broader public health advocacy on issues such as scientific integrity, alcohol policy, agency transparency, and the regulation of selected medical products.

About the Internship Opportunity

The intern will work on data collection and analysis for CSPI’s Big Soda vs. Public Health 2024 report. CSPI has published three reports in the Big Soda vs. Public Health series (2015, 2016, and 2017) which evaluate differences in lobbying expenditures from the sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) industry and public health groups in support of and in opposition to SSB-related policies across the United States. The current report will evaluate SSB-related legislation and lobbying expenditures from the beverage industry from 2017–2023; it may also explore expenditures from other groups, like public health groups. The primary task of the intern will be to conduct searches of lobbying disclosure databases and analyze lobbying disclosure reports to identify spending by different companies and organizations. The intern will be provided with a protocol for data collection and training to ensure their competency with methods outlined in the protocol. The intern may also contribute to data cleaning, analysis, and writing the final report depending on their progress with data collection. The intern will be a critical contributor to this project and credited as an author on the final report. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide research assistance to support our work on corporate campaigns and lobbying analysis
  • Document data collection activities and adhere to the data entry protocol 
  • Search, collate, and analyze lobbying disclosure reports
  • Assist the team in developing well-written, persuasive materials, such as reports, fact sheets, letters, talking points, and social media
  • Participate in research team meetings and other meetings with internal and external partners as needed


  • Currently enrolled in or recently completed a public health, public policy, or nutrition Master’s program (MPH, MS, MPP, or MA)
  • Must have experience conducting scientific public health or public policy focused research
  • Experience with accessing and interpreting lobbying expenditure disclosures is a plus
  • Exceptional attention to detail 
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and manage tasks appropriately to achieve project goals
  • Interest in nutrition and public health policy 

What Else You Should Know 

CSPI pays interns $17.00 per hour at the start of the internship. Intern pay will increase to $17.50 per hour effective 7/1/2024. Our 10-week summer intern program is full-time (40 hours per week). We provide two paid holidays (Juneteenth and Independence Day), ½ day Fridays, and up to two days of paid sick leave. The ideal start date is late May/early June, but we will work with applicants if there’s a schedule conflict. The internship is remote (must be in the US), with the opportunity to work from our DC office if desired. 

As a public health organization, CSPI makes efforts to maintain a safe workplace for employees and visitors. We require all employees to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are eligible, and the vaccine is available to them. Proof of vaccination is required during the onboarding process.

CSPI on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

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. 

To Apply 

Please utilize CSPI's Paylocity Applicant Tracking System to apply for the Summer 2024, Nutrition Policy and Lobbying Research Internship. You must submit a resume and two references. The application deadline is 5:00pm, ET, February 28, 2024.

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. 

Apply now

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