Barbara Lee Fellowship

The Barbara Lee Fellowship is a paid internship opportunity for students interested in gaining professional experience in law, public policy and practice.

The Barbara Lee Fellowship gives juniors and seniors exposure to and education in the nuts and bolts of Massachusetts political leadership through practical experience in the arena of public policy and practice. Selected students, who register for an eight credit internship through the Department of Political Science and International Relations, receive a stipend and an internship placement with a female state legislator.

Graduates from the Barbara Lee Fellowship Program have gone on to do a wide variety of things. A few examples include:

  • Law school and graduate school
  • Americorps
  • Working at the Massachusetts State House in various capacities, including Chief of Staff
  • Campaign Field Work Director
  • Legislative Aide with a member of Congress
  • Teaching and working in academia
  • Non-profit and NGO work
  • Download 2024 Application

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation Intern Fellowship Program, developed in the spring semester 2004, was based on the interest of three groups: a political science department that wanted to increase the scope and success of its already-established internship program, a donor whose philanthropic foundation commits itself to putting more women in positions of political power, and state legislators who wanted to mentor young women in the political process.

Barbara Lee is an alumna of Simmons University and heads the Barbara Lee Family Foundation. The Foundation has provided funding to Simmons for increasing awareness of politics as a vocation for women.

Criteria for Application

  • Seniors preferred, juniors considered.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Resume
  • Simmons Transcript
  • Letter of Recommendation from a faculty member
  • Writing sample (2-3 pages)

Please note: Students who are participating in the Fellows program should take POLS 212: Politics Unplugged: How Things Work in Massachusetts, offered in the fall semester. The goal of the course is to prepare students for direct involvement in the political process, whether it be with legislators (state representatives, federal representatives, governor's office) or non-government organizations involved in policy formation (non-profits, interest groups, lobbying groups).

The course gives an overview of the Massachusetts political system and organizes speakers and site visits throughout the semester. Students are required to give mock oral presentations to legislators and heads of NGOs and to use the internet as a research tool for tracking bills and laws. The class will focus on developing writing skills, including memo writing, advocacy writing, public policy briefing memos, and one major policy analysis paper, depending on the type of internship in which the student wishes to participate.

How to Apply

Applications for Spring 2024 will be accepted until midnight on October 6, 2023. Complete applications should be emailed to [email protected].

The Barbara Lee Fellowship Program in the News

Gracyn Delaune ’24 poses with the coastline of Ireland in the background

A Multidisciplinary Education: Irish Immersion, State House Internship, and Reproductive Health Research

Sociology major Gracyn Delaune ’24 reflects on her time abroad, impactful internships and research opportunities, her favorite professors and what it is like to attend school in Boston.

Haleigh St.Hilaire ’24

Developing a Personal Passion into a Capstone Research Project

Exercise Science student and Barbara Lee Fellow Haleigh St.Hilaire ’24 explores the intersection of Exercise Science and Public Health through her internship at the Massachusetts State House.

Bella Yee ’24

Flourishing in the Community at Simmons and Completing Meaningful Internships

Bella Yee ’24 is a Public Relations and Marketing Communications major, with minors in Business and Public Policy. She is the Communications Director for the Student Government Association and Co-President of the Communications Liaison. Yee also interned for the Massachusetts legislature, most recently for the Office of Representative Adrianne Ramos.

Kristina Pechulis

Associate Professor of Practice Guides Students on the Path to Law School

Associate Professor of Practice Kristina Pechulis is Director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Intern Fellowship program at Simmons University, which places undergraduate women in internships with female legislators at the State House. Professor Pechulis teaches courses in Massachusetts politics...

Madison Poshkus ’22, ’23MPP

Madison Poshkus ’22, ’23MPP Completes Barbara Lee Foundation Fellowship

During her senior year as a Political Science major at Simmons, Madison Poshkus '21 '23MPP worked as an intern at the Massachusetts State House as part of Simmons' Barbara Lee Fellowship program. Sponsored by the Barbara Lee Foundation, the Fellowship...

Lilli Thorne on the Simmons University sign

Finding History in Silence: Lilli Thorne ’20 Researches Queer and Gendered Spaces

Lilli Thorne '20 is a Keynote Speaker for the 2020 Undergraduate Symposium! Lilli gave us a preview of her studies and also tells us what she learned about herself throughout this research process.