University of Chicago Public Interest Program Expands to New York and D.C.

Help this exciting program find new opportunities for recent graduates in public interest organizations

For college students who aspire to work in the public interest sector, landing a great first job can be tough. There is no single, clear-cut path to social impact work, and sifting through job boards and postings can quickly become overwhelming. The University of Chicago Public Interest Program (UCPIP) is an alumni-driven program that matches UChicago graduates with high-impact, one-year fellowships at public interest organizations and supports them with mentoring and professional development seminars throughout their experience; this gives current fourths year an opportunity to explore public interest work and build a community within the sector.

Each year about 75 alumni volunteers read applications, conduct interviews, network with employers and students, and mentor Fellows. Additionally, a 13-member alumni board works to develop the program in a holistic manner. With this support, the program has grown both in number and geographically. From 3 fellows in 2009, we now have 39 this year.  As well as adding fellows, 2015 marked our first geographic expansion beyond Chicago and into Washington, D.C.!

Inspired by this success, we are now actively working to offer placements in New York City for the 2016-17 year. This continued expansion is ambitious, but as our alumni board chair, Tom Berg (AB ’72), likes to say, we have a strong track record. Kicking off these efforts, UCPIP recently hosted a meet-up for twenty New York alumni to connect over their shared interests and discuss the program’s future in the city. We have been encouraged by the strong support in New York so far, and we look forward to continue working with alumni during our expansion.

UCPIP is not just a job: for most fellows, the experience launches a career in public interest work and provides valuable opportunities to create relationships with UChicago alumni. UCPIP fellows are placed at 23 different partner organizations, from research institutes to government agencies and for-profit firms with social missions, but all fellows are engaged in substantive and intellectually challenging work. Adrian Aldana, AB’15 started at Chapin Hall in July as a Research Project Assistant, where he is developing his coding skills through work on a project that helps Chicago youth. As Adrian says, “My placement with Chapin Hall is the best job I could have had after college: it is an excellent bridge between the collegial environment and the professional world.” This year, new partners include the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, Hanover Research, and the Governor’s Office of Early Education.

HELP US EXPAND THE PROGRAM

  • CONNECT US WITH ORGANIZATIONS IN YOUR NETWORK
  • HOST A FELLOW

We would love to talk to you about the program in any capacity, whether you’re interested in learning about our outreach in Chicago, Washington D.C., or New York City, and we are very excited to add new alumni to our expanding community. To get in touch with us, please contact current UCPIP fellow and program coordinator, Elizabeth Bynum, who would be happy to set up a quick call. She can be reached at elbynum@uchicago.edu.

Read more about UCPIP and some of this year's placement organizations