The Iowa Project 2020



The Iowa Project is a one-of-a-kind program run through the Institute of Politics that pairs UChicago students from any division with paid internships working on the Iowa caucuses. This year will be the second iteration of the project, following its launch in 2015 in the run-up to the 2016 election. That year, the Iowa Project arranged 25 student internships with news outlets such as ABC, CNN, and FOX News, campaigns including Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio, and non-partisan political strategy groups such as LS2 Group. This year the project will be expanding, including more news agencies and offering more campaign spots.

Students apply to one of two tracks, the journalism track or the field track, and are matched with an employer with assistance from the IOP. During the Winter and Spring Quarters, students admitted to the Iowa Project cohort will attend on-campus "campaign bootcamps" with political strategists, journalists, and public servants from Iowa in order to gain a deeper understanding of the political environment of the Iowa caucuses and to walk into their internships better prepared. Cohort members will also attend a two-day journalism conference to expand their skills and their network, and they will participate in a trip to Des Moines, Iowa during Spring Quarter to finalize housing, get a lay of the land, and see what Iowa's all about. 

Important dates to note:

  • Tue, Dec 4: Application process opens
  • Fri, Dec 7: Info session with IOP alums from 12-1p at the IOP
  • Wed, Jan 16: Info session with IOP alums from 12-1p at the IOP
  • Fri, Jan 18: Application closes
  • Fri, Feb 8: Student cohort selected
  • March 2019: Programming starts: Fellows, campaign bootcamps, etc.
  • Summer 2019: Internships in Des Moines begin


What is the Iowa Project? 
The Iowa Project is a program run by the IOP that provides fully-paid summer internships based in Des Moines during the summer of 2019. Students can intern for news outlets, presidential campaigns, political consulting firms or other political organizations in Iowa.

Who can participate? 
The program is open to undergrads and grad students at UChicago, including students who are graduating in June 2019.

What if I’m studying abroad this year?
If you’re studying abroad in Winter Quarter, you can apply. But students who are studying abroad in Spring Quarter are not eligible for the program due to the time commitments this spring (see “What will prepare me” question below).

When is the application deadline? 
Applications are closed.

How does the application process work?
You have to apply to either the Journalism track or the Field track. The Journalism track consists of internships with news outlets. Participating news outlets include CNN, ABC News, CBS News, FOX News, The Des Moines Register, and Radio Iowa. The Field track is more open-ended. You can work for campaigns, political consulting firms, or other political organizations in Des Moines, but securing those opportunities is up to you. The IOP provides funding for both tracks. 

When will I know if I’ve been accepted?
By Feb. 8, 2019 at the latest.

What will prepare me for a summer internship in Iowa?
In early March, the IOP will host two Fellows from Iowa who will lead seminars about the caucus process. In April and May, the IOP will host six campaign bootcamps with folks with experience on Iowa campaigns. In early April, the IOP will host a campaign journalism conference that students in the journalism track can attend. And in late May, the IOP will take the student cohort out to Des Moines for a weekend to get to know the city. Participation in all of the above is mandatory for students accepted into the program.

When does my commitment end? 
The program technically ends when the summer internships wrap up in 2019, but the IOP will lead a trip to Des Moines for the caucuses in early 2020 and Iowa Project participants are encouraged to attend.

I can’t come to the info sessions. Is there someone I can talk to at the IOP to learn more? 
Reach out to the IOP’s Communications Director Matthew Jaffe at


...about The Iowa Project 2016 here and take a look at some of our videos on the 2016 project:

Trek to Des Moines

Summer Recap

Caucus Night