The Power of Independent Thinking

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What Will You Do with Your Life?
Find a Purpose – or Just a Job?
The Independent Institute invites you to advance your career and your values.
Gain knowledge, skills, experience, contacts, and meaning through our Learning to Lead Internships.

Now Accepting Applications!

Internships can play a vital role in career paths and personal fulfillment. The right program gives interns confidence, competence, contacts—and a compass.

Independent’s Learning to Lead Internships offer all this and more, cultivating young people into leaders and change agents for civil liberties, free enterprise, peace and harmony, and human flourishing.

We provide interns with hands-on training at a premiere think tank and encourage their professional development as future leaders, scholars, and pioneers of tomorrow.

Our internship alumni network reaches across fields as varied as philanthropy, public policy, think tanks, academia, book publishing, law, technology start-ups, business and finance, and more. While their peers may have enjoyed internships at Fortune 500 companies, our interns have taken the road less traveled, gaining skills and experience in the service of their principles.

We strive to match interns with their interests and future career goals. Through directed readings, discussions with scholars and other activities, interns learn how the principles of liberty relate to their concerns. We also coach interns to write effective analyses and commentary, and provide opportunities for publishing their writing.

Our internships are multi-disciplinary and incorporate group work to foster collaboration with staff across the organization. We also provide opportunities to participate in events and social gatherings—forging bonds that can last throughout your career.

Term Application Deadline* Term Start Term End
Winter/Spring October 1 February 1 May 1
Summer April 1 June 1 August 8
Fall July 1 September 4 December 13
*Applications recieved after the deadline will be considered if open intern positions are still available.





Editorial & Acquisitions
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Interns in the Editorial and Acquisitions department assist in the review and assessment of scholarly manuscripts to be published as either policy reports or books. There will be an opportunity to learn how editors and publishers acquire and build a list of new publications and assess relationships between manuscripts and marketplaces. You will gain insight into the workings of the broader landscape of the scholarly book publishing industry. Applicants should have strong analytical skills with a background in journalism, writing, or editing.

  • Assist in the assessment and evaluation of prospective authors and manuscripts
  • Provide critical analysis and commentary for texts under consideration
  • Work with authors to develop manuscripts before publication
  • Learn and understand the role of scholarly publishing in a think tank setting
  • Assist in completion of book translation projects
  • Acquire professional editorial development skills
“During my time at the Independent Institute, I was surrounded by people who cared as deeply as I did about advancing the cause of liberty and a free society. In the Acquisitions Department, I gained skills in manuscript editing, which I use daily in my work as a writer and editor. The Independent Institute also provided opportunities to learn about the various departments within a think tank and how each contribute to the group's mission.”
Alexis Nester, Summer 2017


Development & Donor Relations
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Fundraising is crucial to the work of any public-policy institute. Development interns support our efforts to strengthen relationships with existing supporters and use innovative tools such as email and social media marketing to reach new ones. Applicants should be outgoing, show strong persuasive written and oral communication skills, and be able to work as part of a creative team committed to achieving results.

  • Conduct research on prospective major donors and foundations and compile reports
  • Use existing research knowledge to assist in customizing donor inquiries and proposals
  • Explore and test fundraising approaches via social and new media
  • Research best practices and recommend improvements for donor relations and development team
  • Support daily development outreach efforts including donor meetings, mailings, calls
  • Participate in donor or promotional meetings and events
“As a development intern, I was able to gain key practical skills in donor relations, making cold calls, coordinating email campaigns, managing a database, and more. As an intern at Independent, I even had the unique opportunity to co-write an op-ed published in the Washington Times. The practical skills I cultivated and the general knowledge I gained about the freedom-loving nonprofit world will be invaluable as I pursue future career opportunities.”
Nathaniel Bennett, Summer 2018


Digital Marketing
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Digital Marketing interns work on a variety of sales, promotion, publicity, and social media projects in support of our mission to have a transformational impact on the culture. Applicants must be outgoing, organized, and enthusiastic about working with members of the media. Preferred applicants will have journalism, communications, and/or social media experience.

  • Promote Independent Institute publications, events, and websites
  • Investigate best practices and communicate the latest trends for digital publication solutions
  • Research and sustain databases of target audience members and media sources
  • Collect and catalog media and author communications
  • Field news media requests and assist in scheduling print and radio interviews
  • Create and distribute press materials and book review copies
“Interning at the Independent Institute helped me build skills in digital marketing and public communications while deepening my knowledge of economics and political economy. It was an amazing opportunity to expand my network while growing as a professional. I also built connections and friendships with other interns that continue to this day.”
Alexis Matt. Summer 2015


Center on Educational Excellence - Research
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COEE research interns support Independent Institute Fellows in conducting research for commentaries, reports, monographs, and books on education policy. Potential interns should be detail-oriented and possess strong research and communications skills. Ideal candidates will have experience conducting independent scholarly research and be familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

  • Conduct in-depth online and print research in support of supervising Fellow
  • Draft footnotes, bibliographies, and other substantive materials
  • Provide editorial feedback on articles before online and print publication
  • Contribute your perspective to research conducted and published by Independent

Interns working under COEE Director Williamson M. Evers have gone on to successful careers as (among other professions) an editor at a major publishing house in New York City; a head of a think tank in Washington, DC; and a highly published law school professor.


Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation - Research
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COEI research interns support Independent Institute Fellows in conducting research for commentaries, reports, monographs, and books on business, economic, and technological innovation and the policy around it. Potential interns should be detail-oriented and possess strong research and communications skills. Ideal candidates will have experience conducting independent scholarly research and be familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

  • Conduct in-depth online and print research in support of supervising Fellow
  • Draft footnotes, bibliographies, and other substantive materials
  • Provide editorial feedback on articles before online and print publication
  • Contribute your perspective to research conducted and published by Independent
“Working at the Independent Institute’s Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation was an experience that helped to shape my career goals. While working with Dr. McQuillan as a policy researcher for the center on issues that range from entrepreneurship, private charitable giving, and economic freedom, I become more passionate and determined to pursue my goal of working as an economic policy analyst with an innovative vision for our society. It was also a tremendous learning experience and a great opportunity to meet and network with other scholars at the Independent Institute.”
Carol Park, Fall 2015


Learning to Lead Internships are offered at the Oakland, CA office of the Independent Institute. They can either be paid or unpaid.  Paid internships are typically arranged through an outside intern fellowship program.  For information on an intern fellowship program that could support your internship at the Independent Institute—including generous stipend, training, and mentorship—check here.

Eligibility: Current undergraduate and graduate college students and recent graduates are eligible for the internship program, although exceptions may be made. Both domestic and international applications will be considered, however, overseas applicants must possess or obtain authorization to live and work in the United States.

To apply, please fill out the online application.

If you have questions, please visit our FAQ page, or contact us:

Internship Program Coordinator
Independent Institute
100 Swan Way
Oakland, California 94621-1428
510-568-6040 (fax)
[email protected]

No phone calls please. We will invite qualified candidates to interview either in person or by phone.



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