The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then-Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew a federal government agency devoted toworld peace and friendship. Today, the Peace Corps is dedicated to bringing new ideas, fresh approaches, and five decades of proven and promising practices together to ensure that the agency remains in the vanguard of international volunteerism, grassroots development, and cross-cultural exchange.
Since its creation, over 220,000 Amerians have served as Peace Corps Volunteers, living and working side-by-side with local community members in 141 countries around the world. Based on the results achieved, the Peace Corps is widely recognized as a highly efficient and cost-effective mechanism for both community development and public diplomacy, simultaneously addressing host country needs for capacity building and contributing to high levels of cross-cultural understanding between Americans and those they serve.
The IOP Director's Intern will serve in the Office of Strategic Information, Research, and Planning (OSIRP) at Peace Corps headquarters in downtown Washington, DC. Through direct collaboration with other headquarters offices and overseas posts, OSIRP guides agency planning, enhances the stewardship and governance of data, and conducts research and evaluation of agency-level programs.
OSIRP interns will gain valuable training and hands-on experience in research support, data analytics and visualization, evaluation, and strategic planning. A major focus will be global survey administration, database management, and data analysis including the creation of graphs, tables, and other data visuals using various software applications to meet internal and external data requests. The position will also include editing and proofreading reports and presentations.
Possible projects for the IOP Director’s Intern are:
- Supporting research into the perceptions of local counterparts on the effectiveness of Volunteers
- Reviewing indicator validity and measurement tools for Volunteer activity data
- Organizing meetings and events to promote the agency’s strategic plan
- Participating in the evaluation of agency operations in direct support of the strategic plan
- Supporting team members with creative visualizations of existing data for internal and external use
- Assisting in the administration of agency-wide surveys, including the Annual Volunteer Survey, Global Counterpart Survey and Host Country Staff Survey
- Implementing a validation and verification system for agency performance data
- Supporting advanced analysis of survey and administrative data
- Promoting OSIRP’s research, evaluation, and data products
The internship will expose students to international development at an organizational and individual level. It is a great way for students thinking of joining the Peace Corps to learn more about the work of the agency. Interns will also have the opportunity to attend occasional inter-agency and/or agency meetings with OSIRP's Director.
Required knowledge, skills, and abilities: experience with MS Office Suite software including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; analytic skills with attention to detail; a proactive and results-oriented approach to work; the ability to multi-task while working in a team environment; excellent writing skills; quantitative or research methods coursework and experience with statistical software (e.g., SPSS, R, SAS, MS Access, Nvivo) preferred but not required; and a strong interest in international development and volunteerism.
2017 Intern Reflection:
Working at the Office of Strategic Information, Research, and Planning over the course of this summer has been a great experience. The specific team that this internship places into is the Performance Team which focuses on things like long-term strategic planning processes and measuring agency performance goals. However, there is a great deal of flexibility within the office to collaborate and start projects with other teams that focus on your interests. My work so far has included a variety of things such as performance analysis, literature review, and meeting preparation. Some specific projects that I enjoyed have been looking at data on volunteer resignations, writing an internal communications strategy, and analyzing trends in post-level strategic frameworks. A note on skills, there are very few skills which are specifically required in this internship, and they are very willing to tailor projects to your skillset. However, a few skills may be particularly useful; a working knowledge of Excel, experience with SPSS, and an understanding of qualitative data analysis.
As for office culture, the entire office has been very welcoming, and they all reached out very early on to offer coffee and talk about their roles at the organization. Furthermore, there are a series of Employee Resource Groups which focus on things from cultural diversity to M&E that can put you in touch with people that share your interests. The key to this internship really is taking advantage of the people around you and being clear with what you are capable and excited about doing.