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Illini Science Policy Program

Are you interested in a career in public service?

The Illini Science Policy Program is a unique post-graduate opportunity for students graduating from University of Illinois between May 2022 and August 2023 and who are interested in University of Illinois Extension’s critical issue areas – food, economy, environment, community, and health – and the policy decisions affecting those resources.

How it works: This program matches highly motivated and qualified graduate students completing their degree from UIUC with hosts in public agencies or the Illinois legislature for a 12-month paid appointment. Illini Science Policy Scholars explore public service careers at a high level, receiving support through mentoring, training, and networking events and establishing professional connections across multiple agencies and stakeholders. The Illini Science Policy Program began in 2020 and is currently in its third year.

  • Scholar assignments are identified by host offices, which may include local, state and federal agencies and legislative offices in Illinois.
  • Hosts provide an educational opportunity to the scholars who will, in turn, provide substantial professional contributions to the office, drawing from the latest advances at University of Illinois’ flagship campus. 
  • Scholars must be recent graduates (graduated between May 2022 and August 2023) with masters, doctoral, or J.D. degrees who work with the host office full-time, on site, and with other project partners as appropriate. As part of their experience, scholars will contribute to Extension initiatives that align with their assignments.


  • February 1: Final day to submit host applications.
  • February 6: Scholar applications open. (Rolling submissions)
  • March 24: Final day for early applications from potential scholars.
  • Rolling submissions accepted from applicants until April 7.
  • Feb 6 to April 7: Applications reviewed for eligibility.
  • March 27 to April 13: Hosts review applications and interview candidates
  • April 17: Final day for hosts to send priority list of matches to Extension.
  • April 18 to April 20: Matching process happens. 
  • End April / early May: Host and scholar matches announced.
  • June 1: Scholars may begin term with host office.
  • Summer: Orientation
  • August 31: Final day for scholars to begin term with host office.

Check out Illinois Extension’s complete offerings