About the OSTP Student Volunteer Program
Thank you for your interest in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Student Volunteer Program. Serving as an OSTP Student Volunteer provides a unique opportunity to work closely with senior White House officials and science and technology (S&T) policy analysts in OSTP's topic-based divisions (Division internship), or on OSTP's legal team (Legal internship).
Applicants are encouraged to apply for one of three terms (Fall, Spring, or Summer) and may apply early for future terms. Each term lasts no more than 90 days. These positions are without compensation; however, you may be eligible to receive academic credit from your college or university.
Note that Division-based internships are open to students of all majors, including law students, while Legal internships are open only to law, pre-law, or LLM students .
Apply to be an OSTP Student Volunteer
OSTP is now welcoming applicants for the Fall 2013 term. Please check our How to Apply page for the latest information on how to apply or access the online applications directly using the links on the left-side menu on this page.
Applicants are encouraged to read the OSTP division descriptions below before submitting an application.
DIRECTOR’S OFFICE, LEGAL
Law students who would like to apply for this program have a unique opportunity to gather insights into the practice of law at the highest levels of the United States Government. Prior OSTP student volunteers have worked on a wide range of challenging substantive matters, including employment, appropriations, fiscal law, government contracts, ethics, information disclosure, international agreements, litigation, and pending legislation. OSTP’s “small firm” environment provides law students with the opportunity to work closely with senior attorneys, gain practical legal experience, and network with other emerging members of the legal profession. Student Volunteers work under the supervision of OSTP’s General Counsel. Students in law school and LLM programs are encouraged to apply.
DIRECTOR’S OFFICE, COMMUNICATIONS
The focus of the Director's Office is to promote and support the Administration's S&T priorities and to ensure the effectiveness of research and development funding within the Federal budget. An important component of OSTP's duties is to convey those messages to the public through media and community, business, and industry outreach. Student Volunteer candidates who wish to work on communications issues at OSTP should possess strong written and verbal communication skills, deep knowledge of electronic social media, and the ability to work well on short deadlines while handling several projects.
DIRECTOR’S OFFICE, PRESIDENTIAL AWARDS
OSTP oversees several Presidential Awards on behalf of the President, including the National Medal of Science, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and awards recognizing outstanding efforts along the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) pipeline including K-12 math and science teachers, early career scientists and engineers, and mentors of people who are from groups that are typically underrepresented in scientific and technical fields. Student volunteers help raise awareness about the awards, prepare nominations for the President’s decision, and plan and execute recognition activities (such as award ceremonies and photo opportunities) involving OSTP Director John Holdren and President Obama. Previous student volunteers have also assisted with additional OSTP and Presidential events. Candidates should have strong written and verbal communication and research skills, be well-organized and able to manage a variety tasks simultaneously, and be comfortable interacting with the public.
ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY (E&E)
The Environment and Energy division at OSTP is dedicated to advancing our Nation’s abilities to observe, understand, and respond to critical issues in the environment and energy domain by coordinating and strengthening investment in relevant S&T initiatives across the Federal government. The division leads the White House effort to fortify S&T capacity in a number of fields including climate science, earth observations, ocean science and technology, renewable energy development, ecosystem preservation and services, natural disasters, toxics and pollution prevention, natural resource management, and sustainability.
NATIONAL SECURITY & INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (NSIA)
The National Security & International Affairs Division leads the White House effort to ensure appropriate application of S&T to homeland and national security initiatives throughout the Federal enterprise. NSIA initiatives support the security of our Nation while also working in a manner that promotes commerce, travel, and privacy protection. NSIA activities span the entire threat domain (war zones, border and transportation security, daily domestic law enforcement, and catastrophic events), as well as the technology domain (basic/advanced/applied research, standards, test and evaluation, and collaboration with public and international partners). NSIA seeks Student Volunteers with practical experience and an interest in applying the intersection of science and policy to meet critical national security needs.
The Science Division focuses on maintaining a broad Federal research program that advances the frontiers of knowledge and supports critical national goals through a strong link to education. The division leads the White House effort to ensure that the United States maintains global leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research. It also ensures that science continues to provide support for the successful resolution of some of the most important problems in the areas of health, agriculture, the economy, energy, social wellbeing, education, and national security. The Science Division is looking for Student Volunteers with strong verbal and written communication skills, experience in research and presentation, and working knowledge of basic computer applications. A degree in one of the sciences (physics, biology, chemistry, social or behavioral sciences, etc.) is preferred.
The Technology Division leads the White House effort to foster new ideas and encourage government-wide coordination to help the Nation meet its policy goals such as job creation, national competitiveness, high-quality affordable health care, abundant clean energy, and unsurpassed public education. The Technology Division also leads efforts to unleash the power of government data to advance policy goals, promote a free and open Internet, and make high-speed wireless broadband available across the country. In addition, the Technology division encompasses fields such as space and aeronautics, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and robotics.
OPEN GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE
The Open Government Initiative is a unique opportunity for Student Volunteers to facilitate an historic shift in the relationship between government and citizens by transforming government to be more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. OSTP leads the President’s initiative to develop and implement Government-wide policies and strategies for increasing transparency, participation, and collaboration in government through innovative technologies.
PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL OF ADVISORS ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (PCAST)
PCAST is an advisory group of the Nation’s leading scientists and engineers, who directly advise the President and the Executive Office of the President. PCAST makes policy recommendations in the many areas where understanding of science, technology, and innovation is key to strengthening our economy and forming policy that works for the American people. Student Volunteers work with the Executive Director, PCAST co-chairs, and PCAST members leading studies on locating and analyzing data and information, developing background papers, and other tasks necessary to facilitate PCAST studies and events.
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL (NSTC)
The NSTC is the primary means used by OSTP to foment interagency collaborations in the Federal S&T enterprise. Comprised of the highest level Administration officials, a primary objective of the NSTC is the establishment of clear national goals for Federal S&T investments in a broad array of topics spanning the majority of the mission areas of the Executive branch. The Council suggests national policies and prepares R&D strategies that are coordinated across Federal agencies to form investment packages aimed at accomplishing multiple national goals. The work of the NSTC is organized under five primary committees: Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability; Homeland and National Security; Science; STEM Education; and Technology. Each of these committees oversees sub-groups, focused on different aspects of S&T across the Federal government. Student volunteers with good interpersonal and organizations skills work directly with the Executive Director of NSTC to facilitate the work and events of the NSTC groups at all levels.
If you have any questions, please refer to our FAQ section or contact us at the information provided below.
Telephone: (202) 456-6008
Fax: (202) 456-6022
OSTP is an Equal Opportunity Employer.