The Charles P. Wolff Internship

The Charles P. Wolff Internship in Government and Public Affairs was established in 2005 thanks to a generous gift from Sheryl Pitts Wolff in memory of her husband. Interns spend 12 months working with IGPA staff on a variety of projects, including communications activities, organizing events, researching potential award recipients, and some public policy research.


IGPA’s Wolff interns are chosen from a very competitive field of applicants from the University of Illinois, usually 2-3 dozen strong, each year. Applicants come from all fields of study – engineering, agribusiness, journalism, history, political science, and others. Interns play a key role in determining their successors by preparing the advertising for the position, reviewing application materials, participating in interviews, and consulting with IGPA leadership in making the final choice.

The internship is paid, begins each June, and continues through the following academic year. The internship is built around four “modules” that are designed to expose the interns to a variety of activities that occur within a busy public policy research institute. These modules include general office duties, public engagement logistics and execution, research, and exposure to the public policy conversation in Illinois. There are opportunities for the interns to participate fully in IGPA activities, including events in Chicago, Springfield, and/or Washington, DC. A Wolff intern is treated as is any other member of the IGPA staff. We expect that the interns will perform tasks as assigned and complete them within the assigned time frame; we expect promptness and a professional attitude; and, most importantly, we expect the interns to have a fun and rewarding experience. Our pledge is to do all we can to ensure that is so.

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Jolie Pressburger

Jolie Pressburger is majoring in political science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining IGPA, she interned for the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office as a Felony Division Intern and worked at Normal West High School as the Assistant Coach of the Trial Team. On-campus, Jolie serves as a Justice on the judicial branch of the Illinois Student Government, the Trial Advocacy Committee Head of the Kappa Alpha Pi Pre-law Fraternity, and the Vice President of the University of Illinois Undergraduate Trial Team. After graduating in the spring of 2024, Jolie plans to attend law school and work in criminal law. 

Ethan Thuo - IGPA Headshot
Ethan Thuo

Ethan Thuo is majoring in Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with minors in Legal Studies and Jazz Studies. Prior to joining IGPA, Ethan interned for Illinois State Representative Carol Ammons as the Health and Human Services Constituent Advisory Panel Legislative Aide. Ethan has also held internships for AfronomicsLaw, a non-profit organization that works towards amplifying the voices of countries in the global south often left out of important international conversations. Furthermore, Ethan is a board member of Youth at the Booth, a local student-led non-profit organization that works towards increasing voter registration and turnout rates among new voters. After graduating in the spring of 2024, Ethan hopes to attend law school and strengthen his ongoing commitment to public service.

Janet Vivanco

Janet Vivanco is majoring in Political Science at the University of Illinois Chicago. Prior to joining IGPA, Janet interned for the District Office of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. She is also currently a fellow of UIC’s Pre-Law Society. After graduating in the spring of 2023, Janet hopes to attend law school and pursue a career as an attorney.

Aderinto headshot
Abby Aderinto

Abigail Aderinto is an incoming senior at the University of Illinois where she double majors in Political Science & Communication. Abigail serves as Vice President for the University’s Minority Association for Future Attorneys organization. She also recently interned at BVM Sports Journalism to further strengthen her writing skills. She applied these writing skills in another internship with Illinois State Representative Carol Ammons, where she worked as a Communication & Media Aide intern. It was during her time spent interning for Representative Ammons that Abigail knew she wanted to be a policy maker. After graduating in the spring of 2023, she plans to attend law school where she will learn more about policy making.


Mariama Mwilambwe

Fellow, Office of Governmental Relations, University of Illinois System​​

Eddie Ryan

Senior, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign - Legislative Aide with Rep. Ammons

Steph Petrov

Pursuing full-time opportunities

Ali Mirza


Paralegal, United Community Housing Coalition, Detroit

Adem Osmani


Fellow, Office of Governmental Relations, University of Illinois System​

Megan Manoj


Student, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago

Thomas Dowling


Entrepreneur, co-founder of tech startup

Entrepreneur, co-founder of tech startup

Samantha Bolet


Cyber Strategy and Governance Consultant, Risk Advisory, KPMG, Chicago

Mitch Dickey


Regional Government Relations Manager at TransfrVR, Chicago

Ryan Fane


Law Student, University of Chicago

Neha Nigam


Judicial Law Clerk, U.S. District Court, Northern District, Illinois, Chicago

Emily Blumenthal


Global Strategic Planning Manager, Nike, Chicago

Tim Knudsen


Attorney and Partner, Croke Fairchild Morgan & Beres, Chicago; Chair, Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals

Laura Miller


Mobilization Director,, Harvard Ash Center Fellow, Washington, DC

Drew Bazil


Foreign Service Officer, U.S. State Department

Lally Gartel 


Vice President and Senior Counsel for Litigation, Guaranteed Rate, Chicago

Jacqueline Orozco


Anchor/Reporter, WSYX/WTTE-TV, Columbus, OH

Jon Monteith


Community and Outreach Coordinator, Resilience Lab, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

"Throughout my time as a Wolff intern, I had the opportunity to witness how intellectual and empirical rigor can inform policy decisions, how experts in numerous fields navigate scholarly research, and meet with a wide range of policy makers. A highlight of my time with IGPA was working closely with senior scholars on a Policy Spotlight – transitioning the skills that I learned in the classroom to actual discussion of policy. Simply said, throughout the whole of the UI System, the Charles P. Wolff internship is second to no policy experience at the undergraduate level."

Ali Mirza, 2020-21
"Serving as a Charles P. Wolff intern during the 2021-2022 academic year was the optimal way to cap off my time as a political science major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, giving me the unique opportunity to experience the synthesis of academic research and public policy first-hand. As the communications intern, I had a front-row seat to observe how research conducted at IGPA has real-world policy implications. Two particularly memorable experiences of mine included working on IGPA’s Access to Justice project and sitting in on meetings between IGPA staff and scholars and representatives from IDHS. I hope to pursue a joint J.D./M.P.P and continue to work in the public policy sector, a goal directly motivated by my time at IGPA. I am grateful to IGPA for providing me with a policy toolkit that will guide me through this next stage of my life."

Steph Petrov, 2021-22



Charles P. “Chas” Wolff was a 1970 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who dedicated his career to public service. He spent six years as an assistant to Senator Adlai Stevenson III. He also advised Senators Bill Bradley, D-NJ, and Robert Kerry, D-NE, and was an adviser to Vice President Walter Mondale and to Democratic presidential candidate Bruce Babbitt in his campaign for the 1988 Democratic nomination for president.

Wolff also served as Special Assistant for Intergovernmental Affairs in the U.S. Department of Commerce and was president and chief operating officer of the Roosevelt Center for American Policy Studies in Chicago. 

He was elected to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees in 1986 and became its president in 1989. He served as Board president until his death from cancer in 1991. 

Source: Chicago Tribune, Nov. 10, 1991

U of I Fund Agreement, Dec. 30, 2003

Photo courtesy University of Illinois Archives & Champaign News-Gazette, Oct. 26, 1986


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