Research Intern, Democracy Program (MF)

About the Democracy Program

Our mission is to strengthen democracy in Illinois through informed and engaged citizens and communities, and responsive systems of government. The goals of the Democracy Program are that 1) youth are informed, actively participate in their communities, and have healthy civic dispositions (see the end of this document for more information about this strategy); 2) local journalism is vigorous, independent, and effective at connecting and informing all levels of the democratic system; and 3) public institutions are inclusive, transparent, and accountable to the communities they serve.

Our strategy embodies a deep commitment to racial equity and serving under-resourced communities in Chicagoland. We seek to improve overall democratic outcomes and close the civic empowerment gap by providing resources, creating opportunities, and advocating for policies to address disparities for people of color.   

Opportunity: Research Intern, Engage Youth Strategy

The Research intern will support the integration of the Democracy Schools Initiative with our grantmaking and lay important groundwork for implementation of a law to support middle school civics coursework.  Completion of this internship will aid in the development and practical application of research techniques, writing and presentation skills. Interns will foster a deeper appreciation for civic education and engagement opportunities in the nonprofit sector. The internship also provides experience working in a professional office environment and grantmaking foundation. This is a part-time position from March through August 2019 (approx. 20 hours/week) that reports to the Program Officer, Civic Learning.


Democracy Schools Initiative

  • Assist with data collection and analysis of prospective and current Democracy Schools civic learning practices and organizational cultures
  • Identify school strengths and growth areas and generate reports for their use in applying for Democracy School recognition
  • Aggregate assessment data for annual Democracy School cohorts and produce data comparisons across time
  • Evaluate the longitudinal impact of the Democracy Schools Initiative via ongoing survey administration and data analysis

Middle School Civics Implementation

  • Conduct course audit of civics course offerings in Illinois middle schools


  • Conduct research and analysis to inform best practice in grantmaking
  • Assist program officer with data analysis projects that support grant evaluation
  • Identify and synthesize research on emerging and established challenges and opportunities in areas of strategic investment


  • Currently enrolled in an accredited undergraduate or graduate degree program with at least three years of college-level academic experience and coursework in political science, history, education or related field
  • Previous experience in education or at a nonprofit preferred
  • Familiarity with research methods and basic statistical analysis
  • Excellent working knowledge of American government and politics
  • Demonstrated passion for the Foundation’s values with commitment to deliver results measured against the Foundation’s mission
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and experience building relationships with multiple stakeholders by listening to new ideas, encouraging dialogue, and inspiring people to work towards common goals
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills, particularly in communication with diverse constituencies in a variety of settings
  • Basic computer skills, including use of Microsoft Office Suite
  • All offers are contingent upon successful completion of a criminal background check and drug screening

To Apply

Submit a resume and cover letter online here.

Cantigny Park and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation provide equal employment opportunity (EEO) to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, individuals with disabilities, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital and housing status.

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