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The Pell Institute Education Research & Policy Internship program is a non-paid research experience that offers graduate students the opportunity to develop or refine research skills and cultivate an understanding of the nexus between education research, public policy, and educational practice. The internship can be 4, 8, or 12 weeks and is open to students who are interested in gaining research experience in the higher education policy arena. Interns should be highly motivated, organized, and able to work well independently. Interns may work closely with researchers at the Pell Institute, and, on occasion, assist Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) staff. Primary responsibilities will include conducting research for literature reviews and collecting and analyzing data for current projects. The internship experiences are crafted around interns' skills and interests. The types of education research and policy analysis the Pell Institute is or has engaged include but are not limited to:

  • Researching and synthesizing “best practices” for (a) supporting students' academic achievement, college persistence, and completion; (b) recruiting and enrolling students in college; and (c) transferring students from two-year to four-year postsecondary institutions.
  • Developing toolkits to support campus-wide retention initiatives and the evaluation of college access and success programs.
  • Identifying and compiling college student funding opportunities in a scholarship directory
  • Surveying and assessing the use and impact of college access curricula
  • Providing research and analytical support for COE on federal TRIO and GEAR UP programs

How to Apply

We accept applications throughout the year, but internships are only offered to qualified applicants on an as needed basis. To apply, please submit a complete application (.pdf), resume (curriculum vitae), and the names, titles, addresses, and contact information for 2 professional or academic references. All applications should include a cover letter (not to exceed two pages) describing your interest in the internship, background and experiences, research focus and interests, and future professional goals. All applications should be submitted to Margaret Cahalan via e-mail (margaret.cahalan@pellinstitute.org) or postal mail to the following address (1025 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Suite 1020, Washington, D.C. 20005). Applications are reviewed upon submission. Only complete applications will be reviewed.


The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, a research arm of the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE), seeks a Postdoctoral Fellow to contribute to the on-going research of the Pell Institute as well as to help develop new areas of inquiry related to issues of concern to the mission of COE to foster increased higher educational opportunity for low-income, first generation, and students with disabilities. In addition, the Postdoctoral Fellow will help identify and develop conference sessions for COE’s annual September conference, and the Student Financial Aid Research Network (SFARN) held in June each year. The position also involves data support for the advocacy effort of COE’s Government Relations Department.

An on-going project in which the Postdoctoral Fellow will become engaged is the yearly production of the Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States Historical Trend Report. For 2019 this position will include development of predictive modeling and data visualization online tools. The Postdoctoral Fellow will also support a new NSF grant in which the Pell Institute and partners are investigating the efficacy of a dynamic systems modeling science curriculum to be implemented in four pilot Upward Bound sites.

This position is one year with an option to renew additional year with mutual agreement. The Postdoctoral Fellow will report to Margaret Cahalan, Vice President for Research and Director of Pell Institute.

Required qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in education, social science, or related field, or
  • Ed.D.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Experience with federal TRIO programs
  • Experience with data visualization, use of data analysis software (statistical and/or qualitative), and research coordination

To apply for this position, please e-mail a cover letter, Curriculum Vitae (CV), and contact information of three references to Alvin Phillips at (alvin.phillips@coenet.org) by March 15, 2019. Please use “Postdoc — Your Full Name” as the subject of your e-mail.