The Iowa Project


From candidate announcements in the spring of 2015 to the caucuses in the winter of 2016, the IOP’s Iowa Project aims to give students a front-row seat to this critical stop on the road to the White House. Starting in early 2015, the Iowa Project will facilitate student opportunities to learn about the structure and operations of a modern presidential campaign; to understand the unique political culture and history of Iowa; and to acquire tangible skills through workshops, field trips, volunteering and hands-on career opportunities. 

Please contact Matt Jaffe if you have any questions about the program.

The Iowa Project Fellows have been selected! Read their full bios here.

2015 - 2016 Key Dates & Information

  • JANUARY:  Iowa Project announced & Field & Journalism Fellowship Applications posted on CCC
  • FEBRUARY: Info Session at the IOP HouSE & 2015/16 Iowa Project Fellowship application deadline
  • FEB - MAY: Campaign Bootcamp workshops
  • MARCH 2 - 6, 2015: IOP Visiting Fellows Seminars
  • MAY 2 - 3: Spring Iowa Trek for Iowa Project Fellows
  • JUNE - AUGUST 2015: Summer in Iowa Opportunities
  • SEPTEMBER 2015 - FEBRUARY 2016: Fall and Winter Treks (open to all students) leading up to February 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

2015 - 2016 Program Components

Campaign Bootcamps
From February through May 2015, the IOP ran a series of 6 hands-on workshops that will give students training in core aspects of campaign operations. Topics will include campaign management; field organization & coalition building; advertising and messaging; advance and logistics; fundraising; and media relations. The bootcamps were required of Iowa Project Fellows and were open to other students. Please check the IOP's events calendar for information on upcoming events related to the 2016 campaign.

Fellows Seminars
During the week of March 2nd, 2015, the IOP hosted Republican strategist Karen Slifka and Democratic strategist Brad Anderson as Visiting Fellows. Slifka and Anderson have extensive experience running presidential campaigns in Iowa and during their residency, they ran three joint seminars that exposed students to the structure of the Iowa Caucuses and the nuances of this unique “first in the nation” state. Attendance at the seminars was required of Iowa Project Fellows and open to other students.

Spring Field Trek
In early May 2015, IOP staff led Iowa Project Fellows on a two-day immersive trek to Iowa. Students met with veteran journalists, political consultants, and campaign operatives to better understand the caucus process in 2016 and the broader political culture of Iowa. Using Des Moines as a base, students used the trek to learn more about potential summer opportunities and to make the necessary connections to help secure them. This trek was only to Iowa Project Fellows.

Summer Internship Opportunities
From June through August, Iowa Project Fellows worked in Iowa on some aspect of the presidential campaign process. Some students elected to pursue one of the IOP’s media internship opportunities. Others secured opportunities of their own through consulting firms, campaigns, party organizations and the like. The IOP played no role in securing employment with political entities and neither supports nor opposes any candidates for political office.  Open only to Iowa Project Fellows.

Fall & Winter Field Treks
The IOP will lead at least one weekend trip to Iowa during Fall and Winter Quarters so that interested students at the University of Chicago can have the opportunity to volunteer on various campaigns. Iowa Project Fellows will act as helpful guides and facilitators of these trips, along with IOP staff. Open to all students!