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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Toby George

Toby George is a senior majoring in Information Sciences with minors in Political Science and History at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. On campus, he is the Project Manager at Illinois Enactus,leading the sustainable paper-making initiative, Monarch and a voting member on the Subcommittee on Undergraduate Student Conduct. Prior to joining IGPA, he researched a variety of legal subjects under Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson at UIUC College of Law and was the Lead Law & Dialogue Ambassador for the Tolerance Means Dialogue. During his time at the Tolerance Means Dialogue, he learned how the law can be a powerful and positive tool for change. After graduating in the spring of 2024, Toby plans on attending law school in hopes of utilizing the law as a tool for change within his community

Grace Wilkins

Grace Wilkins is a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign senior double majoring in Political Science: Law & Power and Communication. Prior to joining IGPA, Grace interned for Illinois Senator Richard J. Durbin in Washington D.C., working closely with the economic portfolio and press teams. She has also served as the marketing and communications intern at Builden Partners, interned with the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Office and worked as a bank teller at Illinois National Bank. On campus, Grace is the Founder and former President of the student professional organization the Society of Women in Public Affairs. Additionally, Grace is a member of the social sorority Chi Omega for which she served on the executive board as the Director of Recruitment. She was also involved with the pre-law fraternity Kappa Alpha Pi, serving as the new member educator, and the Illini Mentor Program, serving as a member volunteer and the Finance Officer on the executive board. After graduation in the spring of 2024, Grace hopes to attend law school and work in policy and public service.


Jolie Pressburger


Jolie Pressburger is majoring in political science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Abby Aderinto


Abigail Aderinto is an incoming senior at the University of Illinois where she double majors in Political Science & Communication.

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

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

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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