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NHSA's Internship Program

NHSA's Internship Program

Thank you for your interest in the National Head Start Association (NHSA) and our internship program. NHSA’s internship program is designed to introduce college students to the daily workings of a nonprofit advocacy organization, including national and grassroots advocacy, research, communications, and more.

NHSA offers full-time and part-time internship opportunities, but full-time positions are recommended. As active members of our team, interns acquire hands-on experience in various important elements of nonprofit work. Interns will gain experience through exposure to a wide range of projects that may be tailored to their own interest. Each intern will also have the opportunity to participate in collaborative research projects, attend Congressional briefings and hearings, and participate in bi-weekly professional development lunches.

NHSA seeks candidates who are eager to learn more about early childhood education, public policy and advocacy, and are interested in a challenging and stimulating environment. We are seeking strategic thinkers with excellent oral and written communication skills, intellectual curiosity, and a firm commitment to vulnerable children and families.

The internship program is 15 weeks long, with a Fall, Spring, and Summer cohort. NHSA internships are open year-round to currently-enrolled qualified college students, including work-study students and students seeking academic credit. A monthly transportation stipend is offered. 

To apply for an internship at the National Head Start Association, please review our open internships below and email a resume and cover letter to

Advocacy & Alumni Affairs

Government Affairs 


Membership & Special Projects

Finance and Accounting

Effective Practice 

Conference & Events


Advocacy & Alumni Affairs Intern

The advocacy and alumni affairs intern assists the External Affairs team in their efforts to organize national grassroots support for Head Start by identifying and engaging Head Start alumni and the general public in various advocacy campaigns and initiatives throughout the year. The intern will gain valuable experience in grassroots advocacy, social media campaigns and organizing alumni at the national level. They will have the opportunity to participate in strategy discussions, artist engagement meetings, and bi-weekly professional development lunches. 

Day to day assignments may include:

  • Assisting with the development of the National Head Start Alumni Network’s programming, advocacy appeals and membership benefits;
  • Updating Alumni Network records and corresponding with the membership;
  • Crafting unique and creative social media communications for the Alumni Network Facebook page; and
  • Participating in weekly strategy meetings to engage artists, celebrities and others to support Head Start.


Government Affairs Intern

As part of NHSA’s External Affairs team, the government affairs intern will assist NHSA staff with national and grassroots advocacy, legislative work, and policy research. As an active member of our team, interns will acquire hands-on experience and participate in meaningful projects. The government affairs intern will have the opportunity to attend congressional briefings and hearings, participate in team meetings and discussion, and will participate in bi-weekly professional development lunches. They will also gain experience through:

  • Assisting in regular communication from NHSA to offices on Capitol Hill;
  • Tracking and collaborating on the planning of NHSA’s advocacy efforts;
  • Updating NHSA’s legislative and advocacy database; and
  • Researching current legislation affecting Head Start and early childhood education.


Communications Intern 

NHSA's communications intern will learn many of the basic skills it takes to become a communications and media relations professional in a mission-focused nonprofit organization. He/she will be involved with all core activities of the public affairs team and will be assigned day-to-day activities to integrate him/her into all aspects of our communications strategy. 

Major duties and responsibilities

  • The communications intern will: 
  • monitor news stories
  • compile news clips
  • develop target press lists 
  • staff NHSA events 
  • assist with preparing interview briefing materials 
  • draft social media messages and digital newsletters
  • and much more!

The requirements

  • The ideal candidate will be curious, creative, eager to learn, and passionate about Head Start's commitment to giving every child the opportunity to succeed.
  • He or she should also be proficient in writing in AP Style and utilizing social media platforms.


Membership & Special Projects Intern

The Membership/Special Projects Intern will work on membership and special projects set forth by the Membership Department. This position is a data-driven position and will spend most of their time working in the membership database in Salesforce. 

Major duties and responsibilities

  • Update Membership Organizations addresses/primary contacts
  • Identify duplicate records, problem solve, and follow-up
  • Create “My NHSA” Account “How To”
  • Perform audits on the Membership page of the NHSA website 
  • Prepare Membership packets and other welcome material

The requirements

  • Preferred education focus: pursuing a degree in Computer Science.
  • Good judgment, flexibility, and problem-solving skills. 
  • Experience with database management (Member Nation/Salesforce is preferred). 
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office software. 


Accounting/Finance Intern

Accounting/Finance Interns at NHSA typically have accounting, finance, mathematics, economics or information systems majors, strong academic records, and demonstrated leadership skills.  As an intern you will work on impactful projects rooted in real business need. You will be tasked with the development of a problem-solving approach, actual problem solving (which may include some systems interaction). In addition to your project work, you will have opportunities to expand your professional skill set, connect with other staff and leadership, and engage in lots of fun social activities with your fellow interns.

Major duties and responsibilities

  • Assist with financial reports, budget plans, and forecasts
  • Account reconciliations
  • Receipts batch posting
  • File & record management
  • General office support 

Basic Qualifications

  • Currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree with a major in Finance, Accounting, Mathematics, Economics, or Information Systems OR pursuing an MBA/Master's degree in Accounting with a graduation date of December 2018 or May 2019
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 or above stated on resume. 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Senior year student enrolled in graduate school for Master's degree in Accounting.
  • Junior year student with a Finance, Mathematics, Economics, or Information Systems major.
  • GPA of 3.5 or above in major, GPA must be stated on resume. 
  • Previous internship or experience in the Finance or Accounting field. 
  • Demonstrated leadership ability. 
  • Working knowledge of Excel, Word and PowerPoint. 
  • Must be goal oriented and results driven. 
  • Excellent communication skills required, both verbal and written, as you work with both internal and external customers. 
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills required to analyze multiple systems to ensure data integrity. 



Effective Practice Intern

Effective Practice interns will assist NHSA staff in projects and initiatives dedicated to improving the practices of Head Start programs across the nation. NHSA’s Center for Effective Practice is committed to identifying and sharing knowledge, creating resources for quality and innovation, and building peer-to-peer learning communities with the overall goal to improve the lives of the children and families Head Start serves. Interns will gain valuable understanding of the high-quality early care and education services that Head Start provides, policies that impact these services, and how NHSA can support the field to improve these services. Interns will have the opportunity to communicate with the Head Start field at a national level to understand current challenges and concerns for addressing the immediate and constantly changing needs of individual children and families. Current Effective Practice projects tackle topics related to child health and development, data use for quality improvement, nutrition and gardening, mental health and challenging behaviors, trauma-informed care, workforce support, and the recruitment and enrollment of children and families.

Major duties and responsibilities

  • Tracking current and relevant research to highlight for internal NHSA staff and to disseminate to the broader Head Start field;
  • Collaborating with NHSA staff to develop surveys and research projects to assess the Head Start field’s needs; and
  • Communicating with NHSA partners and stakeholders to develop and disseminate resources and tools to improve Head Start comprehensive services. 


Conference & Events Intern

NHSA hosts six in-person professional development opportunities through our annual conferences: Fall Leadership Institute, Winter Leadership Institute, Managers and Directors Academy, Early Childhood Innovation Summit, Parent and Family Engagement Conference, and National Conference. This is a great opportunity for a young professional looking to understand both behind the scenes and in-person experience of managing a conference event. Our audiences vary from 250 to 4,500 people and you can expect to be involved in all aspects of conference and event planning. 

Major duties and responsibilities

  • Think creatively about how to improve our conference and meetings processes
  • Collaborate as needed with an external contractor on conference and meeting planning
  • Attend and staff NHSA conferences and special events in the Washington, D.C. area
  • Assist with task completion and follow-up for guest registrations at conferences
  • Assist with task completion and follow-up for conference, meeting, and event planning 

The requirements

  • Preferred enrollment in Bachelor’s degree program leading to a hospitality, business administration, or public relations degree, or similar degree.  
  • Good judgment, flexibility, and problem-solving skills. 
  • Strong ability to communicate in both written and verbal form.  
  • Experience with various cloud-based software suites in database and project management including Salesforce/MemberNation, Basecamp, and conference registration software preferred.  
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office software. 
  • Strong guest experience skills and disposition. 


Intern Testimonials

Melissa Myers

Advocacy Intern Spring 2017 UCLA 2017

NHSA was my first choice for an internship but when I met my classmates in my program here in Washington and we started sharing where our internships were, they all had internships on Capitol Hill. A few weeks in, while I was working on meaningful projects and being asked to contribute in significant ways (including interfacing with Congressional offices), my colleagues with their Hill internships were answering phone calls from angry constituents and logging the mail. My internship was nurturing and supportive and made full use of my skills. It’s a great place with awesome people. If you are thinking about interning with Head Start, DO IT.

Darya Bor

NHSA Center on Advocacy Intern Summer 2016 Amherst College 2018

My internship experience at NHSA in the summer of 2016 was a particularly formative experience. I worked alongside the Center on Advocacy, occasionally helping out other parts of the External Affairs team like Marketing & Comms and Government Affairs. My main duties consisted of strategizing how to grow the alumni network (from the grassroots up! The metaphor works!) and making the materials to actually do so – from videos, to invitations, to graphics, to social media posts, to field messages. The highlight of the internship was also my main responsibility - interviewing Head Start alumni and distilling their memorable stories into videos that would then be used for alumni network recruitment. I've learned exactly how much writing and visuals impact advocacy efforts and how important a concrete message is – it makes a far-off goal so much more attainable. Lastly, I’d always remember how all the work of the driven, capable, and caring individuals of the NHSA leads to education of nourishment of children and families that really need it. Being part of that -- its humbling, to say the least.

Hannah Taylor

NHSA Center on Advocacy Intern Summer 2015 New York University, Abu Dhabi 2018

My summer 2015 internship provided me with valuable experience in government affairs and nonprofit administration. I was able to learn much more about public policy than I’ve been able to in a classroom setting because of the hands-on role that I was able to take on the External Affairs team. Outside of my interest in policy formation and implementation, I gained exposure to advocacy at a grassroots and national level, honed my research and writing skills, and had many networking opportunities to meet with individuals who are passionate about finding policy solutions for low-income families. Working at NHSA is a challenging and stimulating experience, but the organization is led by caring individuals who are happy to give you the necessary support to excel in a variety of areas. Some highlights of the internship included attending congressional briefings and visiting a Head Start center. NHSA is truly guided by the commitment to ensuring opportunities for our country’s most at-risk families, and being a part of that vision made each day at NHSA both humbling and exciting.

Elaine Vilorio

NHSA Policy and Research Intern Summer 2015 Amherst College 2017

As the Policy and Research Intern at NHSA, I’ve learned a remarkable amount about analyzing data and applying it to the structuring of legislation. I got to learn how an advocate organization acts as a liaison between its members (in this case, Head Start programs) and the federal government. I came to understand that education is not merely K-12. A child’s education starts from birth and even in the womb. If we’re to combat the cycle of poverty, earlier interventions are necessary. The most important thing I’ve learned, however, is that the business of social justice is comprised of many intricate parts. In order for good to move forward, organizations need to work together and efficiently, like cogs in a machine. NHSA does an excellent job of this. The lessons I’ve learned and the people I met will remain with me long after this summer!

Learn more about NHSA
NHSA is a nonprofit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life.