The Center for the Study of American Democracy selects student associates in a competitive application and interview process. Associates will work in-person and remotely, as a team and in pairs. Accepting the position is a commitment for both fall and spring semesters.


CSAD programs are always evolving and responsive to current issues, and the COVID-19 pandemic demands innovations and flexibility. In 2020-21, we plan to engage associates in four kinds of activities each month:

  1. Projects for which they have major responsibilities
  2. Weekly meetings with Professor Nancy Powers to review progress on projects and contribute as a student advisory panel on CSAD planning
  3. Participation in CSAD events and outreach to other students to publicize and promote those events
  4. Workshops to learn new skills

Program Administration

CSAD accomplishes its work with a staff of three: Professor David Rowe, the director of CSAD; Assistant Professor Nancy Powers, assistant director; and Andrea Lechleitner, administrative assistant. Professor Powers oversees the Associates Program and works most closely with the students, but associates may be called upon to assist any member of CSAD staff.


We seek a team of many political viewpoints and campus affiliations to serve as CSAD student advisors and ambassadors and to help CSAD carry out its mission. Students with sophomore standing or higher, of any major, are welcome and encouraged to apply. Past applicants are encouraged to re-apply.

Well-qualified applicants will have a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher; excellent communication and research skills; curiosity; an open mind; an energetic work ethic, a demonstrated interest in public affairs (broadly defined), and a strong commitment to liberal democratic principles.

As well, we seek associates who have the highest standards of personal responsibility and integrity and who enjoy working on a team. Associates should be realistic about their academic course load, employment, and extra-curricular activities and be willing and able to dedicate 3 - 5 hours every week to associate activities.

CSAD is a nonprofit organization established for rigorous analysis of democracy in theory and practice. We seek associates with open minds, who want to deepen their understanding of the political world. Associates must put aside partisan or ideological commitments while engaged in any CSAD project and must avoid even the appearance of promoting their personal political goals while doing CSAD projects.

Application and Selection Process

The 2020-21 CSAD Associates Application form includes biographical questions, the names of two references, and space for a 400-word essay on your motivation for becoming an Associate. The essay does double-duty as a sample of your writing skills. The application collects the information we need that might usually be on a resume. The deadline is Sept. 7, 2020. at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

CSAD’s director, assistant director and administrative assistant will review applications upon submission, check with references as needed and then select semi-finalists whom they will interview (for about 15 minutes, via Google Meet). We hope to conclude the process by mid-September.


Write or call CSAD Assistant Director Nancy Powers with any questions.