Interning at the Nexus of Research and Advocacy

July 28, 2016

Grace's Summer Internship at EIG
This summer I have been interning at the Economic Innovation Group (EIG). EIG is a nonprofit, bipartisan policy, research, and advocacy organization whose mission is to advance solutions that empower entrepreneurs and investors to foster a more dynamic U.S. economy. The group is just over a year old and is run by a small, dedicated team. The internship has been the perfect opportunity for me to explore my interests in economic policy research and lobbying.
Launched just over a year ago, EIG is a newcomer to the D.C. policy space, but is run by an experienced team of leaders. In an industry rife with think tanks and specialty research firms, EIG has made a name for itself in a few ways. As I mentioned, EIG is a hybrid group; it conducts targeted economic research, works with policymakers on legislation based on that research, and lobbies Congress to support that legislation. Additionally, EIG has some influential backers. Sean Parker, the billionaire founder of Napster and former CEO of Facebook, seeded EIG and currently serves as its chairman. Other high-profile backers included Ron Conway, a Silicon Valley “super-angel” investor, and Dan Gilbert, chairman of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The involvement of important investors, entrepreneurs, and economists in EIG has given the organization an advantage connecting Washington with economic ideas from around the country. Finally, EIG is an “unbound” organization. That is, it is not associated with any one industry, company, or party. Though EIG has a policy agenda, it also presents itself as a service to policy makers. It will provide legislators with meaningful economic data to use in any way they choose.  
My experience at EIG has exposed me to several aspects of their operations. Since their team is so small - only 8 employees - EIG interns are able to work with all the teams. I am technically a research and policy intern, but so far I have done work not only with the EIG policy team, but also with the operations and communications teams. My work with the policy team has included writing background briefs on Members of Congress, developing data packets for legislators, and researching and compiling legislation to which EIG could contribute. I also assisted in organizing office events, editing presentations for our partners, and monitoring media outlets for relevant stories. 
This is the first full-time position I have held where I have nothing else to worry about – no student organizations to run, no schoolwork to consider, no fall job search to conduct. I have thrown most of my energy into this internship, and though it can be challenging and incredibly busy at times, I have found it to be an invaluable glimpse into the world of professional policy research and advocacy.