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Illini Science Policy Program seeks advanced-degree graduates for positions

ISPP Scholars with Director Evangeline S. Pianfetti

URBANA, Ill. — Improving public policy to meet the needs of underserved communities requires developing a deep understanding of the specific economic, environmental, and social challenges those communities face.

The Illini Science Policy Program, administered by University of Illinois Extension, offers a unique partnership that matches qualified University of Illinois System graduates with hosts in state agencies or legislative offices in Illinois to learn about and engage with those community challenges. The program is currently accepting applications via the Illinois Job Board with the position description of Visiting Extension Outreach Associate, Illini Science Policy Scholar. To receive full consideration, all requested application materials must be submitted via the online system by Monday, March 4. Posting will remain open until all positions are filled.

“The Illini Science Policy Program allows University of Illinois System graduates to see firsthand how the work of state agencies or legislative offices impact the communities of Illinois, especially those which historically are underserved and underrepresented," says Evangeline S. Pianfetti, director of the Illini Science Policy Program. “Scholars in our program see the intersection between public service and public policy and how the application of knowledge and expertise impacts households in diverse and life-changing ways.”

Position Description

The Visiting Extension Outreach Associate, Illini Science Policy Scholar serves as a full-time, 12-month academic professional with primary responsibilities of supporting projects and initiatives that research, explore, and inform policy that are central to both the mission of the University of Illinois Extension and the Scholar’s host agency. In particular, the position will work on providing solutions through policy and public service on issues such as agricultural equity, digital equity, educational equity, and economic equity. This position has been designed to potentially provide job experience to a recent college graduate with a master's, Ph.D., or professional degree.

Positions Available

This year, new host sites have been added, including a congressional placement, IEMA, and AISWCD to amplify the 2024-25 Scholars opportunities and experiences.  Eight full-time positions are available. Those selected for the positions will be placed in one of the following state or legislative offices:

  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Broadband
  • Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology
  • Illinois Department of Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security
  • The Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts
  • Congressional placement within the local office(s) of Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski
  • Office of the Lieutenant Governor
  • Illinois Legislative Black Caucus/Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation
  • Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation

Last year, the Illini Science Policy Program expanded its scope to include candidates from the UIS and UIC campuses with support from University of Illinois System President’s Office and Office of External Relations and Communications. The ISPP receives continued support from University of Illinois’ Office of the Provost, the host agencies, and PepsiCo.

For questions and program information, contact Pianfetti at

SOURCE: Evangeline S. Pianfetti, Illinois Extension ISPP program director,

WRITER: Dolan Klein, sr. manager for marketing and communications,


About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.