For Students

Penn students get involved in public policy in a wide range of ways, including innovative coursework and research, various on-campus organizations, internships both on and off campus, and other ways that you can see here. Penn Wharton PPI encourages, highlights, and develops opportunities at Penn for learning about public policy. 

Don’t miss out on internships, research opportunities, Student Association updates, and special eventsSign-Up for the Penn Wharton PPI listserv.

  • This competition, open to all undergraduate and graduate students across the University of Pennsylvania, is intended to foster discussion and collaborative research on key public policy issues. One team will win the grand prize of $5,000.  Two teams will earn honorable mention awards of $2,000 each.
  • It is never too early to start thinking about what you want to do next summer. Some government agencies start their recruiting for summer interns in the fall, while most look for interns later in the winter or early spring. This infographic provides some helpful tips for getting a public policy summer internship in DC.
  • The Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative is pleased to announce that Samantha Vinograd (C’05) will be our Visiting Fellow for the Fall 2016 semester.
  • The Class of 2016 includes students from Wonk Tank, the Penn Wharton PPI Student Association. As members of Wonk Tank, these students researched and wrote articles about issues related to economics, business, and public policy.
  • With an impressive proposal to improve America’s aging water infrastructure, three Wharton MBAs took home the $5,000 top prize in Penn Wharton PPI’s Public Policy Case Competition earlier this year.

    But the winning policy proposal earned Aroon Vijaykar, WG’18, Alex Bolano, WG’17, and Michael Weigley, WG’16, something even more valuable–an invitation to present their ideas to policymakers at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

  • Arjun Nath, second year MBA student at the Wharton School, interned with two different groups within the World Bank in DC. He sat down with Penn Wharton PPI to share his experience working and living in DC for a summer. Listen to the interview on iTunesU or read the transcript below.

  • The current water contamination scandal in Flint, Michigan, is a multi-layered crisis. For local citizens, it obviously is a health crisis, as well as a crisis in government management and public trust. But for the citizens of Flint, and for populations across America’s many aging cities, it also embodies the crisis looming in America’s aging infrastructure—not just its rusting water pipes, but its many dilapidated and outdated roads, bridges, and rail lines. Beyond being an issue of public safety (think of last year’s Amtrak disaster), economists and policymakers point to infrastructure investment as perhaps the key driver for America’s future economic growth.
  • Penn Wharton PPI is partnering with a Bay Area tech nonprofit, the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation, to offer a unique opportunity for six Wharton students to participate in an industry research project. Led by two principal investigators, Professor Lorin Hitt of Wharton and Gregory Miller of the OSET Foundation, the six students will fill a void in the literature by completing a comprehensive analysis of the global election technology industry.
  • Looking for funding for your summer internship? Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI) offers funding, on a competitive basis, to students who accept an offer for a public policy summer internship at a government entity or non-profit policy research organization in Washington, DC, that otherwise would be unpaid or come only with modest compensation. All undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in any of Penn’s schools are eligible to apply for funding from Penn Wharton PPI.


  • The Penn Wharton PPI Summer Internship Program offers financial and programmatic support to Penn students who intern in Washington, DC. 90-Second Stories is a series of videos featuring interns talking about their experiences in DC. Emily Zhen kicks off this year’s video series with her account of interning at the Treasury.

  • For the second year in a row, Penn Wharton PPI is pleased to offer funding to a large cohort of Penn students who will serve as public policy interns in DC. The students, chosen through a competitive application process, represent both undergraduate and graduate programs in seven different Penn Schools – Wharton, Arts and Sciences, Law, Social Policy and Practice, Medicine, Design and Engineering and Applied Science. 

  • Earlier this spring, PwC US donated $50,000 to the University to establish a two-year PwC Scholars program.The program was established to recognize the accomplishments of undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania who have contributed significantly to faculty-led public policy research. The first three PwC Scholars to be named are Steven Knauer, Biruk Bekele, and Shane Murphy. Penn Wharton PPI interviewed the students to learn more about their interest in public policy and the faculty-led research they contributed to.
  • PHILADELPHIA, PA March 6, 2015PwC US today announced that it will donate a total of $50,000, for the establishment of a two-year PwC Scholars program.  The gift, which will be administered through the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI), will be used to recognize the accomplishments of undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania who have contributed significantly to faculty-led public policy research.  

Student Internship Experience

  • Nick Buchta, C’17

    “The internship in media and government relations with Brookings turned out to be everything I was looking for. I was able to use past professional and academic experiences to contribute to the work done by the Institution in a meaningful way.”

  • Genesis Nunez, C’16

    “My time at the EEOC was definitely worthwhile because I was gaining hands-on experience on a topic I was truly passionate about.”

  • Shane Murphy, C’17

    “Over the course of the summer I learned a lot about corporate finance and was able to develop skills that will be marketable in any field. The SEC was a great organization to work for because of the people and resources they offer. Working with smart, talented, and accomplished people inspired me.

  • Harrison Newman, C’17

    “I ate numerous homemade Tanzanian meals, attended a barbeque at the Ambassador’s house, and met many of my colleagues’ children. Having formed these relationships, I found myself enjoying a loose on-the-job environment in which collaboration occurred naturally.”

  • Lexin Cai, SP2’15

    “As an intern at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, I really did substantive work and worked as part of the team. I developed good relationships and felt like a valued member. The Center is a vibrant and exciting place in which to grow professionally.”

  • Benjamin Nathan, GFA’16

    “The internship at the World Bank gave me a fascinating, first-hand look into the operations of an important international finance institution.”

  • Megan Yan, W’17, C’17

    “I had an amazing time at the SEC this past summer and really attribute it to the environment I was put in, the work I was given, and the opportunities I took advantage of.”