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Research Assistant Internships

Please Note: We are now accepting applications for the Spring 2023 term! Priority deadline to apply is December 4th!

Research Assistant interns are talented undergraduates, recent graduates, or graduate students who combine part-time hours at the Center with their studies and other activities. Students in this role provide 12-15 hours of research assistance each week to their assigned scholar (the number of hours can be adjusted accordingly to fulfill academic requirements). Students work one-on-one with an expert in their field of study to conduct in-depth, academic analysis of today's most pressing issues. This experience is invaluable for students wishing to develop a deeper understanding of their field of study. In addition to assisting with their scholars' research projects, interns have the opportunity to network with experts in their chosen fields, attend events on relevant topics, and explore how research and public policy intertwine in Washington.

Research Assistant internship opportunities are offered year-round, and are generally consistent with academic semesters. Many Research Assistants complete an internship for academic credit. Students are encouraged to apply for independent grants or scholarships through their schools or outside sources to financially support them during their internship appointment. 


Most scholars who come to the Wilson Center spend their time carrying out research, writing books, and making public presentations. Research Assistant interns have the unique opportunity to work directly with these experts, as they examine issues of contemporary public policy or explore topics that provide the historical context behind today’s pressing policy debates. The Wilson Center hosts a diverse cohort of scholars each year, including distinguished university professors, journalists, current and former government officials (such as diplomats and ambassadors) or occasionally executives from the private sector. 

In support of the scholars, Research Assistants spend much of their time searching for information using the Wilson Center Library's resources. Other duties include proofreading, editing, compiling bibliographies, writing literature reviews, summarizing research materials, etc. Less than 20% of these tasks are administrative. Consequently, a strong sense of responsibility and the ability to work with a minimum of supervision are strong assets. Foreign language skills are oftentimes useful, and should be noted in the application.

While at the Center, all interns are encouraged to fully assimilate into the Wilson Center's community, and go beyond their particular internship responsibilities and to attend our many panel discussions, conferences, symposia, and social events.


This opportunity is open to highly qualified undergraduates, recent graduates, or graduate students. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA (or equivalent). Applicants must be current students, recent graduates (within one calendar year), and/or have been accepted to enter an advanced degree program. Non-degree seeking students are ineligible.

International students studying in the U.S. are eligible, but they must hold a valid F-1 or J-1 visa and appropriate work authorization. All international students must obtain written permission (or CPT/OPT) from their Designated School Official or Responsible Officer for visas at their university stating that they are in valid immigration status and eligible to do an internship at the Center.

The Wilson Center does NOT sponsor visas for interns. International students that are not already studying in the U.S. on a F-1/J-1 visa must go through a university exchange program or an outside organization (internship placement agency) that will sponsor their visa.

New scholars are always arriving at the Wilson Center, and it can be difficult to predict what specific projects will be carried out in the future. For that reason, all interested students are encouraged to apply.

Important Dates

Priority deadline for the Spring 2023 application cycle is December 4th, 2022 at 5pm EST. 

Most scholars arrive and interns start their internships at the beginning of a semester (January, June, September). However, the Intern Coordinator can work individually with students or schools on a quarter system schedule.

Application Process

To apply, applicants will need to submit one complete application package in a single PDF (with file named as Last Name, First Name_RA Application) to our Internship Coordinator via email to with the subject line: RESEARCH ASSISTANT APPLICATION (This email address is only for Research Assistant internship applications and NOT for staff internship applications). Applications that do not follow these instructions will not be considered.

*An exception to the single PDF rule is made for the submission of letters of recommendation. If a recommender would prefer to maintain confidentiality, they may submit their letter directly to, rather than having the student include it in the PDF containing their other application materials. Please make sure that the student's name and the words "Recommendation Letter" are in both the subject line of the email and the file name of the attachment when submitting.*

Application materials include:

  • Completed Wilson Center Internship Application Form
  • Cover Letter (indicating academic interests or areas of interest)
  • Current Resume (indicating relevant coursework)
  • 3-5 page Writing Sample (excerpts of a research paper are acceptable) with bibliography
  • 2 letters of recommendation, or a brief list of references
  • Transcript(s) (unofficial copies are acceptable)
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Scholars Seeking Assistance for Spring 2023:

Geneive Abdo, former Fellow, Brookings Doha Center. “Arab Shia Communities’ Drift Away from Iran’s Political and Theological Sphere of Influence: A Peacemaking Opportunity for the International Community.” (Arabic)

Jonathan Abel, Associate Professor of Asian Studies and Comparative Literature, The Pennsylvania State University. “Subtitling the World: Fake News, Fictional Truth, and Social Media.” (Chinese, Japanese)

Amit Ahuja, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California at Santa Barbara. “Building National Armies in Multiethnic States.” (Hindi, Urdu)

Sarah Cameron, Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland, College Park. “Aral Sea: Environment, Society, and State Power in Central Asia.” (Russian, Kazakh, Uzbek)

Susanna Campbell, Associate Professor, School of International Service, American University. “Networks of Influence and Support between War and Peace.” (French, Spanish)

Stephen King, Professor of Political Science, Georgetown University. “Black Arabs: Between Slavery and Racism in the Middle East and North Africa.” (Arabic, French)

Jeffrey Kucik, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Arizona. “Keeping Promises: Implementing Socially Inclusive Trade Law.” 

Guy Laron, Senior Lecturer, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. “Empire of Oil: Russia’s Grand Strategy in the Middle East from Lenin to Putin.” (German, Italian, Russian)

Margaret Myers, Director, Asia and Latin America Program, Inter-American Dialogue. “Twisted Roots: The Drivers of Change in Modern China-Latin America Relations.” (Chinese, Spanish)

Valerie Percival, Associate Professor, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Canada. “Promoting Gender Equality and Health Equity through Foreign Policy: Panacea or Fool’s Game?”

Raoni Rajão, Associate Professor of Environmental Management and Social Studies of Science, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil. “The Military and the Environmental Science Policy Interface in the Brazilian Amazon: From the Military Regime to Bolsonaro.” (Portuguese)

Julio Rios-Figueroa, Professor Titular (Associate Professor), Department of Law, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de Mexico (ITAM), Mexico. “Authoritarian Legacies and the Winding Road to the Rule of Law in Mexico.” (Spanish)

Jennifer Sciubba, Associate Professor of International Studies, Rhodes College. “We the People: Population Control and the Making of the American Nation.”

Shobana Shankar, Professor of History, Stony Brook University-State University of New York. “A Nigeria-India Nexus: Negotiating Cultural Economic Power in the Global South.” (Arabic, Hindi, Igbo, Urdu, Yoruba)

Alexey Tsykarev, Chairman, Center for Support of Indigenous Peoples and Civic Diplomacy ‘Young Karelia’, Russia. “The Role of Indigenous Peoples in Arctic Diplomacy and Governance.” (Russian)

Francisco Urdinez, Associate Professor of Political Science, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. “Chinese Business and Structural Power: How Chinese Multinational Corporations Affect Domestic Politics in the Developing World.” (Chinese, Spanish)

Robin Wright, Former Washington Post Journalist and Joint Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace and Wilson Center. "The Middle East at a Crossroads: from North Africa to the Persian Gulf." (Arabic, Persian)

*Please note that this list of scholars is incomplete and subject to change. If you do not see a project that aligns with your particular interests on this list, please still apply and indicate your areas of interest on your application form. We will do our best to match you based on interest area and expertise as we continue to receive research assistant requests from our scholars. 

**Languages listed would be helpful for a particular scholar's project but are not necessarily required