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Policy Research Assistant 

Application Deadline: September 11, 2015

AYPF is a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC. AYPF provides learning opportunities for individuals working on policy issues affecting youth at the national, state, and local levels. Participants in our learning activities include Congressional staff, Executive Branch aides, officers of professional and national associations, Washington-based state office staff, researchers, education and public affairs media, and state and local policy leaders including Governors’ education aides, chief state school officers, and state legislators.

AYPF’s goal is to enable policymakers to be more effective in the development, enactment, and implementation of sound policies affecting our nation’s young people. We believe that knowing more about youth issues, both intellectually and experientially, will help policymakers formulate policies that have a positive impact on youth. AYPF does not lobby or take positions on pending legislation. We work to develop better communication, greater understanding, enhanced trust, and to create a climate that will result in constructive action.

Position Summary

AYPF seeks to hire a Policy Research Assistant to assist in the development of various AYPF learning events and products, including forums, webinars, study tours, and publications. The Policy Research Assistant will work on a range of education and youth policy issues depending on current grant projects, including topics such as middle grades and secondary school reform, postsecondary education access and success, dropout prevention and recovery, youth employment and workforce development, afterschool programs and expanded learning opportunities, youth development, student-centered learning, and competency-based education.

The Policy Research Assistant will assist professional staff in the development of events and documents by conducting research on effective national, state, and local programs and policies; providing background on speakers and key education policy leaders; identifying, reviewing, and summarizing relevant research reports and evaluations; and attending meetings and briefings and summarizing the information for staff. The Policy Research Assistant will write summaries of research and contribute to the development of various written materials, such as event materials and issue briefs. The Policy Research Assistant will also assist in the development and implementation of events, working in coordination with professional and logistical staff. The position requires limited travel. The Policy Research Assistant will be under the daily supervision of senior staff.


  • Experience or study in the field of education policy, practice, or research, ideally with a focus on secondary school reform, college access and success, and/or youth development.
  • Excellent research and analytical skills and the ability to synthesize large amounts of data and information in concise reports.
  • Excellent writing, oral communication, and critical thinking skills.
  • Ability to work independently and with others.
  • Ability to prioritize work and manage multiple projects in various content areas at one time.
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented, dedicated, responsible, flexible, and motivated.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; previous experience in education, education research, and public policy preferred.
  • Commitment to the mission of AYPF is essential.

AYPF offers generous benefits and a small, congenial work environment. EOE/AA. Salary is based on experience. Please upload resume, cover letter indicating salary requirements, writing sample, and complete list of three references to our website using the form below by September 11, 2015. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted. No phone calls please.

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Internships at AYPF are substantive in nature, and interns are integral members of our team. Interns are expected to engage in a variety of activities, including researching and analyzing data, writing fact sheets and summaries, and planning and helping to run forums and briefings on Capitol Hill.  AYPF offers a variety of professional development opportunities, including participation in policy discussions and opportunities to learn about best practices in education and youth policy. In addition to working directly with our staff, interns benefit from ample opportunities to interact with our national network of leading researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by participating in meetings and events in Washington, DC. Interns at AYPF may be eligible for a stipend based on hours worked.

Research/Policy Intern:

Primary responsibilities include:

  • Work with program staff to collect data for briefing papers, fact sheets, and publications.
  • Research promising practices to help identify potential programs to highlight in publications, forums, and study tours.
  • Track and analyze effective youth policies and practices in states and districts.
  • Assist with communications to key contacts on Capitol Hill.


  • Position requires an extremely organized, highly self-motivated, detail-oriented, and self-confident individual who can work effectively and independently. Candidates should have strong writing, research, and communication skills.
  • Experience using MS Office and Access database is a plus.
  • AYPF seeks undergraduate and graduate student interns with an interest in and commitment to improving the lives of youth.
  • An understanding of the nonprofit sector and a commitment to the mission and goals of AYPF
  • Ability to work at least 15-20 hours per week.

Here is what some of them have had to say about their experience at AYPF Please note that AYPF is now accepting applications for the Fall 2015 period. Our application process is rolling, and candidates selected for interviews will be contacted directly. Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications, we cannot respond to inquiries individually. To be considered for these internships, please upload your cover letter (including the period for which you’re applying), writing sample and resume and fill out the form below.

This application process is rolling. Please include a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and two professional references. Please feel free to also include a professional portfolio with your application. When applying, please contact gknowles@aypf.org. Please specify the title of the internship you are applying for in the subject line, and include your last name in the title of your resume document.

AYPF is a great place for an internship.  The small working environment means not only do you have the opportunity to develop strong relationships with the rest of the staff, but it means you feel like you’re contributing substantially to the organization with the work you’re doing – rather than just making coffee and photocopying, for instance.  It also feels good to know the work you’re doing is socially beneficial as well.”

– S. Modak – University of Pennsylvania (Summer 2009 Intern)

The staff at AYPF is so warm and welcoming; they really make you feel like part of the team as well as open doors to experiences in the policy world. I would definitely recommend!

– J. D’Arminio – Cornell University (Spring 2008 Intern)

I have learned more about grants, office culture, organizational structure, strategic planning, and DC non-profit politics.  I have learned a great deal about juvenile justice, alternative education, No Child Left Behind, growth models, workforce development, and changing trends in education and how that affects economic opportunity.  Finally, I feel that this internship has shown me what, essentially, I like and how I can best do it.  I now know that I work better in a more active and structured atmosphere—I was not as successful researching independently as I thought I would be.”

– J. Jang – Wesleyan University (Summer 2006 Intern)

Congratulations on establishing such a positive, well-organized internship program and thank you for the opportunity to work at AYPF.  It was a truly enriching summer and I am leaving Washington with a lot of great take-aways and experiences.

– M. Luczak – Northwestern University (Summer 2010 Intern)


The forums are a great service to the DC policy community.  The guests are always well regarded and knowledgeable.

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