Policy & Research Legislative Fellows Program

Illinois state capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.

The Center for Social & Behavioral Science (CSBS) launched the Policy & Research Legislative Fellows program in Summer 2022. This non-partisan initiative, supported by the Office of the Chancellor-Public Engagement, matches graduate students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with state legislators representing Champaign-Urbana or a neighboring district to collaborate on a policy research project that can inform public policy to help make Illinois a better place to live.

Potential areas for research project topics include, but are not limited to: the environment; health and housing; business and trade; criminal justice reform; government, taxes and infrastructure; and education.

Goals and Expectations

Student researchers use their expertise to contribute toward developing a policy agenda in a state legislator’s office, thereby gaining hands-on experience in bridging the gap between theory and practice at the state level. Students attend policy meetings with legislators and policy directors, watch legislative sessions and track bills to frame research activities that will assist in developing legislation from the ground up. In addition to research support and supervision from state policymakers, student researchers take part in seminars and professional development activities at UIUC.

The aim of the Policy & Research Legislative Fellows Program is to provide graduate students with:

  • First-hand experience and insight into the fast-paced legislative environment and law-making process
  • An understanding of how to connect research to real-world policy applications
  • Legislative and policy writing skills
  • Exposure to different policy and research areas that will help students evaluate their career interests and plans

Advisory Board

A team of interdisciplinary faculty with policy expertise guide the design and implementation of the Policy & Research Legislative Fellows Program:

Jacob Bowers

Jacob Bowers
Political Science

Ashlynn Stillwell

Ashlynn Stillwell
Civil & Environmental Engineering

Jennifer Robbennolt

Jennifer Robbennolt
College of Law

Jennifer Delaney

Jennifer Delaney
Education Policy, Organization and Leadership

Bryan Endres

Bryan Endres
Agricultural & Consumer Economics

Liliane Windsor

Liliane Windsor
Social Work

Eligibility and Application Process

Applications for the program are currently closed and are expected to re-open in late 2022 for positions beginning in 2023.

All full-time UIUC graduate students whose departments allow them to take 50% RA positions are eligible to participate in the Policy and Research Legislative Program. Public policy is an interdisciplinary field and students from a variety of areas – including, for example, education, economics, law, political science, information sciences, food science and human nutrition, and social work – are encouraged to apply. No prior policy research experience is required.

Student researchers receive a 50% (20 hours per week) graduate student appointment for the semester(s) (e.g., Summer, Fall, and Spring) they participate in the program.

Placements are at legislators’ local district offices; each student researcher will coordinate with their supervisor regarding work hours and locations (including hybrid remote options). Please direct any questions to Elsa Augustine (elsaa@illinois.edu) or Cristina Alvarez-Mingote (alvarez9@illinois.edu)