State Policy Network

SPN InternNet

Expand your knowledge, engage with peers across the country, and establish connections within the free-market Network

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State Policy Network’s InternNet is a national speaker series designed to empower the next generation of state-based leaders for the freedom movement. The program connects policy experts, liberty visionaries, and free-market leaders to interns at state-based think tanks and allied organizations in the states. In 2019, 84 students participated, representing 32 states and 41 organizations. In 2020, 104 students participated, representing 35 states, 4 countries, and 43 organizations.

In this virtual forum, interns have an opportunity to learn directly from thought leaders across the states and receive additional resources for shaping their professional development and future careers. For state-based organizations, this content is a free educational resource that internship supervisors can use to enrich interns’ learning and experience.

The 2021 SPN InternNet program will run each semester as a five-part interview series with the experts listed below. For the summer program, interns will receive these short-form videos every other week, beginning June 8, 2021. Each email will include additional resources, such as career advice, leadership tips, book recommendations, and links to further reading on the week’s topic.

This series is open to interns at all free-market, state-based organizations. Registration is required for participation.

Register to join the 2021 InternNet Program

For intern supervisors and other think tank staff

We welcome any think tank internship coordinators and staff who are interested in professional development and the ideas being discussed. In addition to our InternNet series, we also have an Internship Resource Library available on our member portal, with resources on building a successful internship program.

Join the 2021 InternNet series

2021 Program

SESSION ONE: The Moral Case for Liberty (June 8, 2021)

Speaker: Christina Sandefur, Executive Vice President, Goldwater Institute

Campuses across the country are becoming even more hostile towards conservative and libertarian ideas. How can we make the positive case for liberty? What are the best ways to talk about individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise? Learn practical ways to talk about how these timeless principles result in more opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. Leave this session ready to get more of your peers thinking about other points of view.

SESSION TWO: How to Make a Strong Professional Debut (June 22, 2021)

Speaker: Heather Noyes, The Protocol School of Washington and Director of Operations and Development, Maine Heritage Policy Center

First impressions matter. The smallest details can make a huge difference. Whether your sights are set on business, government, or traveling the globe, equip yourself with the tools and knowledge to make the best possible first impression and maintain a positive impression over time. Learn the communication skills, proper protocol, and business etiquette for your next meeting, dinner, or gala. By growing your acumen in the art of business etiquette, you can set yourself apart and position yourself for success in both the public and private sectors as you encounter new opportunities.

SESSION THREE: The Virtues of the American Justice System (July 6, 2021)

Speaker: Honorable Clint Bolick, Associate Justice, Arizona Supreme Court

Whether or not you are considering law school, it is important to understand the rule of law and how individuals’ understanding affects their perception of liberty and justice. Hear the Honorable Clint Bolick share his legal philosophy, his path to becoming a justice, and the most interesting case he has encountered on the bench. Justice Bolick will answer your questions, on everything from business regulations to property rights to immigration policy to criminal justice reform. Hear why he is passionate about removing government barriers to economic opportunity so all Americans can prosper.

SESSION FOUR: Move the Needle, Make a Difference (July 20, 2021)

Speaker: Justin Owen, President and CEO, The Beacon Center of Tennessee

All politics is local. That is what is often said, but how does that translate in reality? How do you get positive free-market solutions advanced at the local and state level? How do you move the needle and make a difference? Learn from the leader of one of the most engaged state-based think tanks on how to create change and advance positive policy solutions. Hear how the Beacon Center has driven policy reform in Tennessee in a range of key areas, from healthcare reform to corporate welfare to educational choice.

SESSION FIVE: Career Pathing for Success (August 3, 2021)

Speaker: Claire Dixon, Executive Director, Talent Market

As you make your professional debut, have you thought about what’s ahead for your career? As you look to enter the job market, what should you consider as you plot your career path? Where do you aspire to be? Claire Dixon will talk about the free-market sector, market needs in all fields, and how your personal strengths and interests can align with future opportunities. Hone your plan of action, and learn more about the wide range of paths in the liberty movement across the country. Whether you know exactly where you want to go or have no idea, Dixon will share tips for navigating and positioning yourself as you launch your career.

Meet the 2021 SPN InternNet Speakers

Christina Sandefur, Executive Vice President, Goldwater Institute

Christina Sandefur is Executive Vice President at the Goldwater Institute. She also develops policies and litigates cases advancing healthcare freedom, free enterprise, private property rights, free speech, and taxpayer rights. Sandefur has won important victories for property rights in Arizona and works nationally to promote the Institute’s Private Property Rights Protection Act, a state-level reform that requires government to pay owners when regulations destroy property rights and reduce property values. She is also a co-drafter of the 41-state Right to Try initiative, now federal law, which protects terminally ill patients’ right to try safe investigational treatments that have been prescribed by their physician but are not yet FDA approved for market. Sandefur is the co-author of the book Cornerstone of Liberty: Private Property Rights in 21st Century America (2016). She is a frequent guest on national television and radio programs, has provided expert legal testimony to various legislative committees, and is a frequent speaker at conferences. She is the recipient of the 2018 Buckley Award in recognition of her leadership in the freedom movement. Sandefur is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Law and Hillsdale College.

Heather Noyes, The Protocol School of Washington and Director of Operations and Development, Maine Heritage Policy Center

Heather Noyes is director of operations and development at The Maine Heritage Policy Center in Maine. In her role, she coordinates all operational and development work, and also manages all special events for the public and donors. During her thirteen years with MHPC, Noyes has planned and organized hundreds of special events with guests and keynote speakers that include legislators, governors, authors, and public policy experts. Prior to working with The Maine Heritage Policy Center, Noyes worked for The Protocol School of Washington for more than five years. She brings more than a decade of experience and in-depth knowledge of business etiquette and enjoys working with individuals and groups to enhance their business etiquette knowledge.

Justin Owen, President & CEO, Beacon Center of Tennessee

Justin Owen is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Beacon Center of Tennessee and Beacon Impact. He advances the strategic growth and mission of both organizations. He previously served as the Beacon Center’s director of policy and general counsel. Justin frequently represents Beacon on television and radio, as well as in opinion pieces for newspapers across Tennessee. He has appeared on all four major network news stations in Nashville, as well as stations in Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and the Tri-Cities. For four years, he had a weekly radio segment on the “Ralph Bristol Show” on WTN 99.7 FM, and often appears on other talk radio stations throughout the state to educate citizens on public policy issues. His columns have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the Daily Caller, the Tennessean, the Commercial Appeal, the Knoxville News Sentinel, and the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Justin received his J.D. from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis and obtained his undergraduate degree from Middle Tennessee State University. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Tennessee Supreme Court, and all other Tennessee state courts, although he despises the idea of actually practicing. Justin lives in Nashville with his wife Kara and his dog Henry.

Honorable Clint Bolick, Associate Justice, Arizona Supreme Court

Clint Bolick was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey in January 2016 to serve on the Arizona Supreme Court and in 2018 was retained by Arizona voters for a six-year term. Prior to joining the Court, Justice Bolick litigated constitutional cases in state and federal courts from coast to coast, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Among other positions, he served as Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute and as Co-founder and Vice President for Litigation at the Institute for Justice. Justice Bolick received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California at Davis, and his Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Drew University. He serves as a research fellow with the Hoover Institution. Among other honors, he was named one of the 90 Greatest DC Lawyers in the Last 30 Years by Legal Times in 2008, received a Bradley Prize in 2006, and was recognized as one of the nation’s three lawyers of the year by American Lawyer in 2002 for his successful defense of school vouchers in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris. Justice Bolick is a prolific author of a dozen books and hundreds of articles. Bolick is an adjunct professor of constitutional law at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law and has served as a lecturer at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Claire Dixon, Executive Director, Talent Market

Claire Kittle Dixon is the Executive Director of Talent Market. Dixon’s career has focused almost exclusively on talent development. She operated her own headhunting firm in the private sector before realizing she didn’t want to build a life around “making widgets.” Seeking a more meaningful line of work, she took her skills and transitioned into a career in the free-market nonprofit movement. She joined the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation where she served as the Program Officer for Leadership and Talent Development. While at Koch, Dixon managed the hiring process for the Foundation and launched and managed two talent programs – the Koch Associate Program and the Koch Internship Program. Before launching Talent Market, Dixon served as the Vice President and Director of Research of the Buckeye Institute, Ohio’s free-market think tank. Dixon earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University. After spending years in our nation’s capital, Dixon decided to stop and smell the roses in Charleston, SC.

SPN Contact

For questions or additional information, please contact Heather Pfitzenmaier at heatherp@spn.org.