The Project Vote Smart National Internship Program provides a unique lesson in the study of American politics. Students from across the nation and around the world come to our high tech research center in the Montana Rockies for ten weeks to help American citizens educate themselves about elected officials and candidates. By providing this information in an easy and accessible manner, Project Vote Smart believes that citizens can better defend themselves from the political hype and misrepresentation characteristic of present day political campaigns.
Interns play a crucial role at Project Vote Smart and make up the vast majority of our staff. The individual talents, ideas and hard work of our interns have been instrumental in the success of many of our most important programs.
Since the Project researches thousands of elected officials and candidates' backgrounds, the work is often tedious. However, if you are interested in making a genuine contribution to your Nation, in an idealistic and positive environment -- located in the middle of a natural wonderland -- we would love to have you join our team. There is plenty of room to learn and grow with the organization. Interns often return as staff members after they have finished their college careers.
College students and recent graduates typically participate in our National Internship Program. Interns must commit to ten consecutive weeks, but may intern anytime during the year. We accept applications on a rolling basis and have no deadline, but interns are encouraged to submit their applications early because space does fill up quickly. Interns live on-site at the Project's Great Divide Ranch and scholarships pay for all living costs, including room and board.
The Project's Great Divide Ranch Research Center is located 100 miles south of Missoula and 65 miles west of Butte, Montana. Nestled in the high peaks, lakes and streams of the Continental Divide the Great Divide Ranch is teaming with moose, elk, beaver and fish.
There are a myriad of outdoor activities available to interns year-round. Whether it's hiking, fishing or swimming in the summer or skiing, ice fishing or snowmobiling in the winter, there is always something fun to do. We also have tennis, basketball and horseshoe facilities, as well as a small library and game room.
The housing facilities consist of lodges divided into rooms that sleep between two and six people. Students should expect to have two to four roommates. We have a full-time lodge manager, as well as a full-time cook, who prepares all meals. As part of living in a group, interns are required to help with weekly cleaning and maintenance chores assigned by the lodge manager.
To get a glimpse of the spectacular environment that we work in, check out our 10 minute video presentation on the Project, or visit our Flickr account to view photos of our facilities, activities, and more, taken by our interns and staff.
National interns work full-time as temporary staff members. They may be assigned to one of the following departments, or may work on special projects in several departments, as needed.
Political Courage Test Assistant (primarily offered during election years) - 1. Administer Political Courage Tests to candidates through mailings and phone calls. 2. Enter candidate issue responses into our database program.
Research and Hotline Assistant - 1. Training on our database; answer our Voter's Research Hotline; research special requests made by callers; 2. Maintain and update, as needed, evaluations by the special interest groups that we currently cover as well as research new ratings; update Congressional speeches databases, and research and update biographical information for candidates and elected officials.
Key Votes and Hotline Assistant - 1. Answer our Voter's Research Hotline; research special requests made by callers; 2. Assist with writing and editing of state and Congressional key vote summaries; 3. Enter and check vote breakdowns for votes selected as key.
Communications/Media assistant (primarily offered during election years) - Maintain contact information for national and statewide media; contact news organizations regarding news releases; assist with the writing and editing of external communications; research and assist with new outreach/public relation campaigns; create content for the organization on Facebook and Twitter.
**In addition, those with graphic design experience, both web and print, are encouraged to apply.
Membership Assistant - Work in all aspects of the membership department. Data entry, bulk mailing, research and statistical analysis, contact members and vendors and process special requests.
Information Technology Assistant - Assist the IT department in maintaining the office workstations, servers and network, as well as take part in continued development of the Project's website and application. Responsibilities will include: technical support, website development in PHP, HTML, CSS and XML, application development in Java and JSP, network and system administration. Web and graphical design experience a plus. The ideal candidate will be comfortable working in a Unix environment, experienced with website development, and have some familiarity with Java and JSP.
Facilities and Recreation Assistant - Repair and enhance the living facilities and grounds (minor repairs, painting, fencing, landscaping, etc).
Lodge Assistant - Assist with day-to-day operations of non-profit student housing and commercial kitchen (facilities management, meal preparation and planning).
Note: The majority of our National Interns work in our Research, Key Votes, and Political Courage Test departments. However, we have a limited number of positions available in Membership, Information Technology, and occasionally in Communications/Media. The Internship Coordinator will make all position assignments based on an individual applicant's skills, departmental priority, and projects available. If you have a position preference, please indicate the preferred position in your cover letter stating the reasons for the preference. Interns may not be assigned to the position requested. In addition to their assigned programs, interns at Project Vote Smart may also be asked on occasion to perform special projects including painting, yard maintenance, minor repairs, etc.
Project Vote Smart's National Internship Program provides students with unique practical and educational experiences. We seek interns who are genuinely interested in working to accomplish our goal of making factual, unbiased political information easily and freely accessible to all. The overriding qualification for securing an internship position is your willingness to commit 100% to the Project's goals and mission.
To qualify for a Vote Smart internship you must meet the following:
Set aside political beliefs and be objective and non-partisan while working.
Be in good standing with your university/school.
Commit to 10 consecutive weeks.
Remember that our research facility is located in an extraordinarily beautiful but remote area. You will be expected to maintain the facility.
National Intern applicants must submit the following:
Completed application form.
Resume and cover letter.
Minimum of three academic or professional references. References need only be names and contact information.
Application should be completed online - National Internship Application.
For more information about internship opportunities or alternate application submission options please contact the Internship Coordinator.
National Internship Frequently Asked Questions
Credit For Internships
Interns may choose to receive course credit for their experience, and are responsible for making such arrangements with their educational institution in advance. Please see our frequently asked questions section for more information on receiving credit for your internship.
All interns accepted to our National Internship Program receive the Barry Goldwater General Scholarship, which provides interns with full room and board for the duration of their internships.
If you have any questions or would like to receive additional information, please contact the Internship Coordinator:
One Common Ground
Philipsburg, MT 59858