Echelon Insights


Echelon Insights

***FINALIST 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. If selected as a finalist, applicants to this host organization may be required to submit the following additional materials directly to the host organization after the application deadline: 

  • Letter of Recommendation

  • Writing Sample

LOCATION: Alexandria, Virginia

INDUSTRY: Think Tank / Research / Policy

ABOUT US: Echelon Insights was founded in 2014 with the aim of modernizing the polling industry. We combine survey research, digital analytics, and data science to help our clients gain a competitive edge.

RESPONSIBILITIES & PROJECTS: Potential projects include: survey programming, questionnaire writing, statistical analysis, and data collection/cleaning. We are looking for someone who is a strong writer and communicator, as our intern is expected to not only assist in the processing of data but the analysis and dissemination of said data to clients as well.

SPECIALIZED SKILLS & BACKGROUND: Understanding of Excel/Google sheets is a must, and proficiency in R, SPSS, Tableau, SQL, and GIS are all pluses. ​Candidates should have a background in coding and programming, statistical and data analysis, and an interest in and understanding of politics, particularly political campaigns.

REMOTE WORK ENVIRONMENT: We use Slack and Zoom to communicate, both of which the intern will be expected to use. The intern will be working alongside one or two other interns. There will be weekly check-ins, with the expectation that the intern is proactive in communicating their workload and any issues that may arise. Every intern is expected to connect with every member of our staff, and also to complete a personal project over the course of their internship that is presented to the full staff at the end of the summer.


WORKING HOURS: The intern needs to keep the same business hours as our office.

EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE: Access to high-speed Wi-Fi, Personal laptop, Smart Phone, Web Camera

2020 Intern Reflection:

As an intern at Echelon, I’ve been expected to help out in various long-term and smaller projects. These have included data collection and processing, working on the backend of survey reports, and researching ways to automate data-cleaning methods. Additionally, the work culture at Echelon is such that I’ve been able to start my own personal projects analyzing the data we have and getting involved in specific work that I’m particularly interested in. Although the virtual nature of my internship has limited in-person interactions, the office culture has made it so that it’s easy to approach everyone on staff and learn about their work and experience.

I think having a basic interest and experience in data analysis and opinion research is especially useful for interning at Echelon. Echelon provides a great foundation to build on these interests through all sorts of projects, and I’ve really been able to get an idea of all sorts of fields of data science. Thus, taking classes or working on projects related to these topics would be great preparation for interning at Echelon.

-Ethan Lee '23

2019 Intern Reflection:

My time at Echelon has been fairly busy, with a wide variety of tasks and projects covering pretty much every aspect of this small firm. As Echelon is primarily focused on social media analytics, a majority of my time has been dedicated to figuring out ways to web scrape better data from online forums. I’ve also spent time on figuring out ways to automate certain tasks at the firm, and this effort has really saved us time we would have normally spent doing such tasks on our own. A the end of the summer I was more focused on machine learning for predictive analytics in the political realm with the data that Echelon gathers from its own surveys.

Given the small size of the firm, it’s pretty easy for an intern like me to take on meaningful tasks that truly add value to the firm. Though the office is quiet throughout the day, the team has been so friendly and eager to learn about me and my interests, making my time at Echelon a very comfortable experience. That being said, a future intern with interest in data science and solid Python/R skills would also perform well at Echelon. Experience with data wrangling, web scraping, machine learning, and general programming would also be beneficial. An interest in survey design or techniques wouldn’t hurt either.

Steven Espinoza '20

2018 Intern Reflection:

Echelon Insights is a polling and data analytics firm headquartered in Alexandria, VA founded by two top Republican pollsters, Patrick Ruffini and Kristen Soltis Anderson, a former IOP Fellow. As part of my job, I help prepare the background research for Kristen’s weekly podcast, work on the backend side of the Optimizing Listening service, and am currently designing a web application to automate a message testing service for our clients. The office culture is nerdy and fun; it’s small, so it’s very close-knit. People are really invested in what they’re doing and often work late. 

In terms of preparation, I found it helpful to have taken CS 50 and CS 124 before starting at Echelon. It might also be helpful to take Ec 970 or have experience with R in addition to Python and SQL. I would highly encourage anyone with a technical background who wants to work in an environment where they are given a lot of responsibility to consider an internship here, and especially so if you can eat through the constant surplus of jalapeño chips in the office that no one except Kristen seems to like. 

Emily Shen '20

2017 Intern Reflection:

This summer, I worked at Echelon Insights on polling projects and data analysis. Both founders are both well-known Republican pollsters in the public service sector that started this relatively new company.  Because of the company’s young age and smaller staff, I was expected to fill many roles and took an active part in the day-to-day affairs.  Coming into the job with little experience in data analysis meant that the staff did not start me out on statistics heavy projects. Instead, I started off with a large amount of research and summaries of available public polling for the office and Echelon’s clients.  I  was also tasked with preparing the background research and polling guide for the cofounder's weekly podcast, “The Pollsters.”  As I gained a  little more experience in how the polling industry worked later into the internship, the staff assigned me to a larger role in projects.

The office culture is quiet, so you may be working on your own for most of the day. A strong background in statistics and data analysis is a plus for this internship.  The staff tends to assign jobs based on proficiency, so if you have experience you will get more intensive assignments.  As someone who had minimal experience, I started on things at an elementary level and worked my way up.  For example, rather than working directly on their FCC database, I started by programming new entries. Overall, this internship was a valuable opportunity not only to experience the data side of politics, but also to get real experience in a work place.

Tyler Jenkins '19

Washington, D.C.