Cato Institute

Cato Institute

***APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: All applicants are required to submit a resume (one page), statement of interest (one page), and two references by the application deadline on Sunday, February 7 at 11:59pm ET. 

LOCATION: Washington, D.C.

INDUSTRY: Think Tank / Research / Policy

ABOUT US: The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization — a think tank — dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues.

RESPONSIBILITIES & PROJECTS: Cato’s paid internships are for undergraduates, recent graduates, graduate students, law students, and early-career professionals who have a strong commitment to individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace—principles that, taken together, constitute libertarianism, known alternately as “classical liberalism,” “market liberalism,” or, to many of our international friends, just “liberalism.”

Most Cato interns work primarily as researchers for our policy scholars. Individual department placements include defense and foreign policy, healthcare policy, constitutional studies, and numerous others.

Other interns work in communications-oriented roles, including media relations, external affairs, and video production.

All Cato interns attend the same intensive seminar series, which covers a broad range of history, philosophy, policy, and professional development topics. Interns also assist with events and occasionally help Cato staff with other day-to-day needs.


  • Social Media Management & Marketing
  • Statistical & Data Analysis
  • Research and writing

REMOTE WORK ENVIRONMENT: Programming available through Zoom. Weekly virtual meetings with departments. Virtual happy hours and other social/networking events.


WORKING HOURS: There is flexibility regarding which hours the intern works.

EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE: Access to high-speed Wi-Fi, Personal laptop, Web Camera, Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)

2017 Intern Reflection: 

At the Cato Institute, I worked as a Research Intern for the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. I enjoyed contributing to meaningful research in my department, as well as interacting with scholars that I had previously only read about in scholarly papers. I worked with three scholars on many topics ranging the Latin American political and economic spectrum. I prepared daily morning news briefings, aggregating all the important events covered in Latin American newspapers, as well as in the major American news outlets. Likewise, I crafted both interview and presentation briefings for my scholars.

The Cato Institute’s commitment to creating a meaningful internship experience is impressive. Interns attend many weekly seminars learning about all kinds of political and economic topics. Interns also participate in workshops on writing and public speaking, as well as attend research seminars and conferences. Cato Interns enjoy access to an impressive array of world class scholars on a daily basis. Additionally, the sense of community at the office is great, with organized activities ranging from happy hours to a Cato softball team that interns are encouraged to participate in. I would wholeheartedly recommend this internship to anyone interested in political or economic policy. 

Edgar Carerro  '18 

2016 Intern Reflection:

Working at Cato has been a very rewarding and educational experience! Each intern is assigned to a scholar who they assist throughout the summer. Daily duties typically consist of writing and conducting factual research to aid upcoming publications. For example, I was responsible for researching and writing background articles on securities law to be published in Cato's Handbook for Congress. Each intern is also responsible for attending a set of seminars on various topics led by scholars from a wide variety of fields. 

Interns with strong writing and research skills will do well in this internship. Students who wish to get a feel for working in a think tank will find valuable experience in this position, even if they do not agree with the mission of the organization. There is plenty of room for discussion and debate with peers and scholars alike. 

Hemnanth Sanjeev '18



Washington, D.C.