LEO Summer Internship Program

Every summer, the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) hosts a 10-week paid internship for Notre Dame undergraduates interested in working at the forefront of evidence-based action against poverty. Interns have always been at the heart of LEO’s mission. When LEO began in 2012 with two faculty co-founders and no other employees, undergraduate students served an essential role as LEO’s first research assistants. Over a decade later, LEO has grown to almost 40 full-time faculty and staff with interns continuing to support LEO’s mission across five areas of specialization: business operations, marketing, policy & impact, project development, and research design and operations. In addition to valuable skill development, the LEO internship offers weekly programming, including service in the local community, presentations by LEO’s provider partners, and seminars with LEO’s Managing Director


Intern 5


Open to Notre Dame undergraduate students 

5 areas of specialization

Full-time, paid position

10 weeks (May-July)

In-person, on campus*


*There may also be limited opportunities for placement off campus with a LEO provider partner and/or LEO’s Federal Relations Specialist in Washington D.C.



Business Operations: The Business Operations Intern works directly with LEO’s Administrative team across a range of internal operations related to finance, personnel, undergraduate programming, systems, and infrastructure. Sample projects include working with grant data in Excel, creating formulas to analyze financial data to assist our Finance associates, and working with digital media, creating content to support LEO’s recruiting efforts and raise brand awareness among Notre Dame’s undergraduates. The Business Operations Internship will suit students of any major, but undergrads with a penchant for both quantitative and qualitative work may find this position most fulfilling.

Policy & Impact (P&I): Our Policy & Impact team is responsible for disseminating LEO’s work. This includes preparing briefs to present LEO’s research and findings to conferences, service providers, and even Congress. As a P&I Intern, you will write summaries of project findings, prepare policy-relevant content for the website, and work independently on a long-form paper meant to inform our P&I supervisors about a relevant research topic.

While most P&I Interns will work on Notre Dame’s campus, there may also be an opportunity for one P&I intern to work with LEO’s Federal Relations Specialist in Washington, D.C.

Project Development: Members of our Project Development team are responsible for assembling future cohorts for LEO studies. From researching and vetting potential service provider partners to solidifying cohorts and planning cohort workshops, Project Development employees shape LEO’s future. As a Project Development Intern, you will participate primarily on vetting calls, sitting on multiple calls every day with leadership for service providers across the country. Successful Project Development Interns can come from any major.

Research Design & Operations: Research Design & Operations Interns—who constitute the majority of LEO Interns—provide direct support to LEO’s Research Associates and Research Faculty. In the Research Design role, you will be responsible for designing Randomized Controlled Trials, or RCTs. Meeting with service providers enrolled in the preliminary stages of LEO studies, you will conduct literature reviews, create surveys, and independently research study design. In the Research Operations role, you will work with established projects as opposed to those in the exploratory phase. Your work will extensively involve the use of STATA to analyze, clean, and prepare data for use in LEO projects. The Research Design & Operations roles are highly recommended for Economics/Statistics majors with a background in STATA and quantitative competency.

While most Research Operations Interns will work on Notre Dame’s campus, there may also be an opportunity for one intern to work off campus with a LEO provider partner.

“The LEO internship experience reframed my thinking about poverty—as an issue in and of itself, rather than a symptom of other issues. I now believe that poverty is something that we are capable of solving, and I see everyday how research plays an integral role in that fight. I've also been welcomed into a wonderful group of similarly-minded friends and mentors!"


- Katie Muchnick, LEO Summer Intern 

Forming poverty’s fiercest adversaries through the creation and use of evidence

Beginning with the Summer 2025 cohort, the LEO internship program will transition to become the Notre Dame Poverty Research Fellows program. Fellows will gain exclusive access to individualized internships, academic coursework (launching in Spring 2026), immersive learning experience trips (launching in Fall 2026), special guest speakers, faculty and alumni mentorship, career networking, and opportunities to learn and serve alongside a cohort of like-minded peers.

Through a variety of paths, Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in every aspect of evidence-based work–from learning how to ask the right research questions, building partnerships with service providers across the United States, designing impact evaluations, collecting and analyzing data, preparing policy briefs, supporting the operations necessary for leading a successful business, and more.

Poverty Research Fellows are students from all academic disciplines who are motivated to be a force for good through evidence-based solutions, eager to deepen their understanding of how to effectively conduct research, and passionate about ending domestic poverty.

The application for the first cohort of Poverty Research Fellows will open in Fall 2024. To provide us your contact information so you can stay up-to-date on the application release and program details, click here.

For more information regarding the Internship or the application process, please contact our Poverty Research Fellows Specialist, Regina Gesicki at rgesicki@nd.edu.