Policy Intern/Extern


The mission of the W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI) is to dismantle structural racism and build community-centered structural well-being. We facilitate a collaborative environment where community and cross-system stakeholders work together through shared values, using qualitative and quantitative data to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities. We support community capacity building and strengthening grassroots organizations to drive localized solutions, while also advocating for the reallocation of resources to support these efforts. We believe true innovation comes from those closest to the issues.


BI is a great place to gain insight into and contribute to justice reform strategies focused on people of color, particularly youth. We accept applications on a rolling basis from graduate school students with a passion for social justice to work with our Policy Team.  Interns/externs may observe presentations, meetings, or staff trainings, depending on opportunity and interest.  This is an unpaid position, but past interns/externs have gained coursework credit. Since the start of COVID, all staff including interns/externs are working remotely.

Ideal candidates will have:

  • Experience and/or strong interest in youth and criminal justice system transformation centered in equity and dismantling structural racism.
  • Strong research and writing skills.
  • Comfort with understanding descriptive data (rates, percentages, graphs, etc.)

Projects may include:

  • Working with staff to ensure that state, federal and local legislation does not disparately impact youth of color. Conducting research and contributing to campaign strategies which promote helpful legislation and fight harmful legislation.
  • Observing and providing support to BI staff in analyzing data, developing strategies, and implementing BI’s process to reduce racial and ethnic disparities.
  • Supporting current research projects.
  • Drafting reports to highlight innovations that reduce disparities in the justice system.

Please send a cover letter and resume expressing your interest to Laura Ridolfi, Director of Policy (lridolfi@burnsinstitute.org). Include information about your availability and whether you are seeking the internship for class credit or for your own professional development.