About the Wilkes Fellowship

The D.C. Policy Center is launching the Wilkes Fellowship program, which will support original research to be conducted by a current or recent graduate student in an area of current interest and importance to the Policy Center. Supported by a generous gift from The Wilkes Company, the Wilkes Fellowship program aims to introduce graduate students and early career researchers to applied regional and policy analysis while advancing a key goal of the D.C. Policy Center: to provide objective, targeted, and high-quality data analyses to support robust and productive policy debate in the District of Columbia.

Following a competitive application process, the Wilkes Fellow will be appointed to a one-year term, conducting original research and analysis on issues in one or more of the Policy Center’s research focus areas, such as housing, workforce development, or the economy. The fellow’s work will be published by the D.C. Policy Center. Accordingly, the Wilkes Fellow will participate in, and contribute to, the intellectual life of the Policy Center. The fellowship includes a $10,000 stipend and ongoing editorial and analytical support from the Policy Center’s research team.

Application instructions

To be considered for a Wilkes Fellowship, please send a current resume, cover letter, and three writing samples to jobs@dcpolicycenter.org, with “Wilkes Fellowship application” in the subject line. The final deadline is December 1st, 2019, but applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible?

Current or recent graduate students and early-career researchers with an interest in data-driven policy analysis in the District of Columbia.

Are you looking for candidates from a particular academic background?

No. A successful candidate will have a strong quantitative background that allows them to conduct data-driven analyses in their policy area of interest, but they can arrive at this experience through many avenues. Previous academic and/or professional experience with large data sets, data visualization, and the public policy process would be ideal.

What will the Wilkes Fellow’s duties be?

The Wilkes Fellow is expected to produce a series of data-driven articles related to key policy issues in the District of Columbia for publication on the D.C. Policy Center’s website. The exact length and number of these articles will be determined in discussion with Policy Center staff, but a reasonable expectation would be four medium-length articles of around 2,500 words, for example. These articles can include new or expanded analyses related to a topic on which the Fellow has already written, an adaptation of a longer work to local policy audiences.

The Wilkes Fellow will also deliver a brief presentation on their work in the spring of 2020. Depending on the Fellow’s interest and availability, the Fellow can present to additional policy audiences and/or media outlets; the Policy Center will also assist the Fellow in connecting with key policy stakeholders in their area of interest.

The Wilkes Fellowship will commence in November 2019 and will continue for a calendar year. The first eight months of the Fellowship (November-June) will be focused on writing and analysis, and the final four months (July-October) will be focused on building the Wilkes Fellow’s network and connecting their work with local policy discussions.

Is this a full-time position?

No. The Fellow is officially an independent contractor, with the $10,000 stipend paid out in four installments over the course of the year (i.e., in November, February, May, and August). There are no benefits.

Do I need to live in D.C. to be a Wilkes Fellow?

No. The ideal candidate is someone who plans to work in the District on D.C. policy issues in the future. Therefore, while most applicants will be currently based in D.C., it is possible that an applicant could be currently based elsewhere (for instance, for an academic program) if they are planning to return to D.C. during or immediately after the Fellowship. The Wilkes Fellow would have to travel to D.C. to take advantage of networking events and opportunities offered by the D.C. Policy Center. The Wilkes Fellow will not be compensated for travel.

What should my cover letter include?

Your cover letter should briefly explain what D.C.-specific topic or topics you would focus on in the course of your Fellowship, what experience you have had that prepare you to be successful in this work, and how your work will contribute to policy discussions in the District. In other words, why will your work be useful to policymakers, government officials, community members, practitioners, advocates, or other stakeholders? What questions will it answer, or what problems will it illuminate?

What should my resume include?

Your resume should be no more than two pages, and should summarize the relevant experiences and background you have had that would prepare you to succeed in this role (publications, classes, independent projects, work experience, etc.)

What will the interview cover?

If contacted for a phone interview, you should be prepared to discuss your background in data-driven policy analysis in more detail, including examples of projects or analyses you have worked on in the past, and why a Wilkes Fellowship would be beneficial to your policy career.

About the D.C. Policy Center

The D.C. Policy Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) think tank focusing on local policy issues in the District of Columbia and the surrounding region. Through data-driven and action-oriented policy research, the D.C. Policy Center’s mission is to bring together policymakers, employers, industry leaders, community advocates, and other stakeholders to advance comprehensive policies that support a strong and growing local economy for all District residents.

The D.C. Policy Center is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status, or any other protected status under federal or District law.

Please contact jobs@dcpolicycenter.org with any questions.


Last updated October 13, 2019.

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