Eileen Sweeney Graduate Internship in Disability Policy


As of January 2021: This program anticipates interns working at organizations in-person, according to the organization’s protocols, and living in Washington, DC during the summer of 2021. The Academy will follow official public health guidelines as they are issued in the spring of 2021, and if necessary, transition to a virtual program (teleworking). Final arrangements will be discussed with each student selected for the program.

Eileen P. Sweeney devoted her life to improving the lives of people with disabilities, children, battered women, the poor, and the elderly. Her early Washington career was devoted to disability issues and she played a key role in achieving the disability benefit reforms of 1983 and 1984. She subsequently turned her attention to other vulnerable populations, the needs of children, those served by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, and the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.

The National Academy of Social Insurance, in partnership with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) established the Eileen Sweeney Graduate Internship in honor and memory of Eileen.

Remembering Eileen P. Sweeney 

Support the Eileen Sweeney Graduate Internship in Disability Policy

Who Should Apply

The National Academy of Social Insurance seeks outstanding graduate students aspiring to a career in social policy with a focus on disability issues. Students with a strong interest in disability policy (research, implementation, and/or advocacy) are encouraged to apply for this 12-week summer semester internship. Prior experience in disability policy research is not required. This internship would also serve students looking to explore opportunities in the area of disability research and policy development.


In 2020, each student received an honorarium of at least $4,500. In 2021, all students will receive at least $4,500.  Final honorarium amount will be confirmed with each student selected for this program.

Internship Placements

Students who are selected for an internship will then be matched with a placement organization in the DC area, where they will work under the supervision of an Academy Member. Sweeney interns will have the opportunity to:

  • Work with leading disability policy experts;
  • Gain valuable work experience; 
  • Make professional contacts and network in their area of interest; and
  • Attend relevant seminars and symposia.

Sweeney interns work closely with experts in their Washington offices. Our most recent internship placements have included:

  • AcademyHealth
  • ADvancing States (former National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities)
  • Buffin Foundation
  • Center for Global Policy Solutions
  • Century Foundation
  • Community Catalyst
  • Congressional Research Service
  • Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA)
  • Medicaid and Chip Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC)
  • National Academy of Social Insurance
  • National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
  • National Institute for Retirement Security
  • U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)
  • Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB)
  • Urban Institute

The National Academy of Social Insurance, as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization devoted to furthering knowledge and understanding of social insurance programs, is uniquely qualified to provide students with challenging internship opportunities. The Academy’s members, recognized experts in social insurance and health policy, offer the interns access to information and experiences found nowhere else. Academic credit may be arranged through the intern’s college or university. International students with valid student visas can be placed with non-governmental organizations, if placement projects match their skills and interests.

The application window for 2021 internships has closed. Applicants will be notified in early March.