The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is seeking interns for the Summer 2021 internship term. Internship opportunities are available on both the research and business sides of the think tank. All positions require excellent organizational, research, writing, and computer skills, as well as the ability to multi-task. Responsibilities on the research side include research, writing, editing, and some administrative work. Most of our research positions support more than one scholar, but they are generally grouped by topic. On the business side of the think tank, our conferences, development, communications, and government relations offices all seek interns.
2020 Intern Reflection:
This summer, I have been working as an intern at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in the Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies division. More specifically, I have been helping my supervisor with his research on American Political Institutions. My work has mostly consisted of researching different trends in academic political science regarding the institutionalization of Congress and the Presidency--essentially, a comprehensive literature review--though I've also had the opportunity to write summaries of webinars and help with other miscellaneous tasks and events. The kind of research that AEI summer interns pursue varies widely across the different departments at AEI; I'm sure that my day-to-day research schedule looked very different than my peers in, say, National Security or Health Policy.
Though the internship experience at AEI has (of course) been very different than it otherwise would have been without a global pandemic, AEI has put serious thought and effort into making sure that the summer interns (there are about 50 of us in total) have ample opportunities to network with each other, learn from other resident scholars outside of our particular research area, and generally get a sense of what life is like at a major DC think tank. I can only imagine that, during a "normal" summer, AEI offers even more high-quality networking, learning, and professional development opportunities.
This internship is for students who are passionate and knowledgeable about a specific topic or area in public policy, and who are interested in getting a good feel for life at a major DC think tank. AEI is unique--not only in the quality and sheer quantity of its research output, and not only because of its intellectual diversity and vitality, but also because the workplace environment, even when remote, is warm, supportive, open, and stimulating. Summer research assistants might often have to do "grunt work"--certainly, I've had my share of that this summer--but the many opportunities, both formal and informal, for learning from and networking with peers and renowned scholars make the experience well worthwhile. For any Harvard student passionate and knowledgable about an area of public policy--even if you don't lean politically Right--I would recommend applying to AEI.
-Benjamin Simon '21
2018 Intern Reflection:
This summer, I am a Research Intern for the resident AEI scholar for the International Trade and Finance Division. I also work closely with another Research Assistant who specializes in technology policy. I help the two with research into their respective areas of interest, edit and proofread policy blogs that go on AEI's website, and help run events held at AEI, such as a panel event discussing the current environment of intellectual property protection in America.
I usually arrive at the internship between 8:45 and 9. I greet the receptionist Ms. D and head to the first floor servery to get breakfast, and then carry that up to the fourth floor and start working. My daily job is to compile notable technology and trade news headlines each morning and send them out to scholars, so they can stay informed. This takes me until around 10:30. For the rest of the day, I help with additional projects my supervisors are working on.
As a side note: The food is absolutely amazing; there is always salad, fruit, multiples types of meat, desserts, etc. Usually, my intern friends and I go up to the roof suite for lunch, which offers a pretty good view of the city on any day with decent weather.
It's really a great internship with great people!
-Jonathan Suh '20
2017 Intern Reflection:
Prior to coming to AEI for the summer I knew it was an institute that prided itself on the level of academic freedom it affords its scholars to pursue whatever research topics within their fields that peaks their interest. What I could not have anticipated is the extent to which that mission statement is actually realized and evidenced in the culture here and the impact of such unfettered and dedicated scholarship on my own level of innovative and inspired thinking. The culture here is truly unparalleled if you like to engage in passionate yet level-headed political discourse. Most days my fellow interns and I engage a serious of political and philosophical discussions spawned organically from all of our levels of curiosity about each other’s views. Although AEI is categorized as a center-right think tank my cohort of interns on the 4th floor is evenly split, 3 conservatives and 3 liberals.
In terms of what my day-to-day in the office looks like, there are some distinguishing features of AEI that I would be remiss not to point out. First, the food. Every morning from 7:00 am to 10:00 am a breakfast buffet is served on the first floor adjacent to our executive dining room. Pro-tip: arrive approx. 8:30 if you want the fresh berries, they’re the first to runout and are not re-stocked like the bacon, eggs and other hot items. Then from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm lunch is served in the same location, and unlike breakfast which is consumed at one’s desk, people congregate either downstairs in the dining room, on the rooftop patio, or at the conference tables located on each floor to eat together. This seems like a really superficial perk; however, from a fiduciary standpoint it is quite nice to know that 2/3 of your meals will not only be provided for free but will be of a quality way above the attainability of a college student living in a dorm or an apartment. There is also a cultural element to the meals. It genuinely makes me excited to go to work in the morning. I love to sit at my desk in the morning eating my breakfast and reading the most recent op-eds by our scholars detailing the most current events in our world. Also, you might get to have lunch with Arthur Brooks or Michael Strain or Charles Murray!
I am an intern in the Economic Policy department broadly and within the department I work with scholars predominantly focused on tax, healthcare and trade policy. Currently I am working with 2 scholars who are collecting data to build a gravity trade model for the market of illegal tobacco. I am collecting various data sets on the locations of production and final destinations of these illicit materials. Also, I am working on another project intended to ultimately assess the impact of the federal hiring freeze implemented in the January of 2017 on the placement of Economics PhDs from the top programs. Lastly, I work with a healthcare policy scholar on a rolling basis with his research on HSAs, which if you’ve read the House and Senate healthcare proposals are a big topic right now. I attend talks and panels for him and write up summaries on the latest policy proposals and opinions regarding HSAs from various experts around D.C. I want to mention one more amazing benefit of AEI: they hold a ton of conferences on-site in their auditorium and you can attend all of them even if the topic is not related to the department that you work for.
Emily Hume '19
In my time at the American Enterprise Institute, I have been lucky to be able to engage with many groundbreaking policy scholars as well as work on, and make real contributions to original research. The scholars here have been welcoming and incredibly informative, helping to educate all interns not only on the issues they study in their work, but also in working in research organizations. I have been privileged to attend events featuring prominent political figures such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Newt Gingrich, as well as events that brought new perspectives and depth to many interesting policy issues, such as healthcare, education, and trade. These have been instrumental in shaping my views and further informing debates that continue to see and participate in.
The work here has also been engaging and diverse. I work directly for a well-known policy scholar doing longitudinal research, including database creation and cleaning, and analytics. During down-time, I have conducted top-level research for a public opinion scholar, aggregating data and compiling it for publication, as well as helped the company organize its archives in preparation for renovation of its library. The company environment is stimulating—each space is saturated with intelligent people working on important research in pervasive policy areas. Each of them (interns, assistants, and scholars alike) is incredibly dedicated to the work they do and are always enthused to talk with interns (when they're not testifying on the hill or meeting with elected officials). Working at AEI has educated me not only in data and research, but also in policy, people skills, and hard work. I highly recommend this opportunity to any and all looking to gain invaluable work experience while fortifying your political skills and knowledge.
Peter Wright '19