Three skills to practice at our UX Research Internship

Veronica Erb
3 min readJul 3, 2019

Update: The application deadline for this internship is past. We are maintaining this post as a record, and have made minimal updates to reduce any confusion over its status. Thank you to everyone who applied and to everyone who spread the word!

A decade ago, I didn’t hear the term “user experience” until I had already graduated with an art degree from a liberal arts school and gotten a job as a front-end web developer. It took years to shift my career from coding to UX design to full-time research.

NPR’s Design team hopes that, for one student this fall, a UX research internship will provide an earlier starting point.

If you …

  • Can work full-time in Washington, D.C.,
  • From Sept. 9, through Dec. 13, 2019,
  • Are a current student or have graduated in the last year, and
  • Enjoy understanding how people behave and how NPR can support their lives…

The (updated) deadline was Friday, July 19, at 5:00 PM ET, and applications are no longer being accepted. Thank you to those who read on and decided to apply!

Your background may vary

If you are excited about learning why people act the way they do, in the context they do, UX research may appeal to you.

You can come from any academic background to succeed in UX research. Many of us in the field have. We started as librarians and psychologists and artists and computer scientists, and we never really leave those backgrounds behind.

Whatever work you end up pursuing throughout your career, there will always be a use for understanding the humans around you, whether they be your customers, your audience, or your peers. This internship will provide the background needed to do just that.

What you’ll do

Please note that applications for this internship are closed. Keep an eye out for future opportunities by following NPR Design on Twitter!

We want this opportunity to be a safe space for you to learn and practice the skills needed to plan, conduct, and share research in your future work as a researcher or designer.

Our UX research intern will work with Design team and Product colleagues on the studies, likely for You’ll also be in NPR headquarters in Washington DC, with so very many people who love talking with young folks exploring career possibilities.

Conduct studies

As you can read in more detail in the job description for the UX Research Internship, we hope for you to plan and moderate up to three research studies. We’ll provide guidance to help you conduct high-quality research that NPR can use to make real decisions on our live products.

Our hope is for you to complete the semester with concrete stories of research work you’ve done that you can share with future employers.

Document concepts

Communicating with colleagues is one of the most difficult parts of working an idea job. This internship’s research projects will provide the opportunity to practice documenting what your peers need to know about the method you propose and what you learned from the study.

Our hope is for you to learn new ways of modeling ideas, as well as refine the documentation methods you already know.

Practice presenting

Throughout the Fall, we hope to provide you many opportunities to practice presenting to a variety of audiences for a variety of purposes. Beyond the communications directly related to the research studies, we’ll also provide you the opportunity to practice presenting to fellow designers. Along with this practice, we’ll provide coaching and encouragement to help make something that can feel intimidating into something that you know how to approach.

Our hope is for you to complete the semester more confident in sharing your work and ideas with your peers.

How to apply

Beyond the usual cover letter and resume, we’re asking folks to share a story with us about a time when you investigated a hunch. Our intention is not to require extra work, but instead to provide you an opportunity to show us how your perspective on the world will apply to UX research.

Thank you to those who applied!

The application deadline for this internship is past. Thank you to everyone who applied and who spread the word!



Veronica Erb

Writes @howwefindout newsletter for people who do and use UX research. Researches, designs, and illustrates. Mostly loves being dyslexic. Answers to she/her.