Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

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Internet Tobacco Vendors Study - Student Internship, Spring 2023

Internet Tobacco Vendors Study: Unpaid Internship for UNC Students (Spring 2023)

What is it?

This study monitors the online tobacco and e-cigarette industry to assess the impacts of state and federal policies and inform future tobacco and e-cigarette control efforts. As part of our monitoring efforts, we document and analyze data such as changes in ITV practices in response to new and forthcoming regulations, current nicotine products, youth access policies and procedures, and tax evasion.

The overall goals of the ITV study are to conduct extensive surveillance of the online retail environment for tobacco, evaluate the implementation and impact of state and federal policies on this industry’s practices, and disseminate key research findings to policymakers in the interest of guiding future policy and enforcement efforts. 

You can read more about our research here.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for UNC undergraduate students to help with data collection, screening, and archiving efforts for the many tobacco and nicotine vendor sites we study. After screening sites for eligibility, we must archive and process each site’s relevant data. To do this, we have designed an in-depth survey tool to collect the data and help guide you through the many ways tobacco and nicotine vendor sites convey and conceal information. 

An interest in tobacco or health policy is a plus but not required. Our ideal candidates are those looking to gain hands-on experience with the research process in a real-world setting.


  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • You must be a UNC student with a PID
  • You must have access to a computer and the internet
  • You must be fluent in English

What can I expect working with ITVS?

The majority of our time is spent filling out surveys, collecting data on the sites we’ve selected for this period of time.  Students are expected to be able to complete 4-5 data collection surveys per week (approximately 8-10 hours per week).  The survey consists of a list of variables that we track down and identify on each site.  The survey and process is simple and straightforward. Be aware that this process may feel repetitive; that is the nature of research.

All work is done remotely.  The resources and tools we use are available to use 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.  All communication is done through Microsoft Teams or email.  Our full time staff work the general hours of 9am till 5pm, Monday through Friday.

In addition to experience with data collection and research methodology, you’ll also have the opportunity to engage in other aspects of our research, such as participating in or observing statistical analyses and contributing to scientific posts and articles on our website.  We conduct informal “discussions” every two weeks, generally Fridays, where we discuss or go over an aspect of  interest in our study.

What are the benefits of working with ITVS?

While we cannot offer financial compensation at this time, there are a number of benefits to working as an unpaid intern, including: acquiring data collection experience in a real world setting, periodic opportunities to analyze and discuss data that’s being collected, learning research methodology, writing science articles for the website, and contributing to findings that have an impact on tobacco and nicotine online sales legislation and regulation. We have provided letters of recommendation for students as well, helping them gain admission to competitive programs.  Our goal is to support every student that we bring on and provide experience that will serve you well in academia and beyond.

How do you apply for a position?

If interested, please complete the online application form here: https://go.unc.edu/Pd27K. After completing the online application, please send your resume to our Undergraduate Research Assistant Manager, Jessie Scott (he/him), at: jscott36@email.unc.edu.  Our Fall 2022 positions are full so we are only accepting applications for those who are interested in joining for the Spring 2023 semester.


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Internet Alcohol Vendors Purchase Study: Participant

Internet Alcohol Vendors Purchase Study: Participant

What is it?

The purpose of this research is to assess the ease with which underage adults can purchase alcohol online, and to determine the extent to which online sellers of alcohol attempt to verify the age of their customers. The study will help us better understand how to reduce underage online purchases.

Who are we looking for?

Purchase Survey Participant (paid): 

We are looking for 18-20-year-old participants who, under study staff supervision, will attempt to make alcohol purchases from Internet alcohol vendors to be delivered to their homes. A legally aged staff member will click the final “submit” button to finalize each order and will retrieve each delivery from participants’ residences. Participants will take part in a debriefing session upon completion of the study.

Who is eligible?

  • You must be aged 18-20 
  • You must live in a home/residence/apartment complex where packages are delivered directly to your door (i.e. are NOT delivered to a leasing office or other central package delivery location where they are later picked up). If you are a UNC student, you must live off-campus. 
  • You must live in Orange County and be fluent in English 
  • You must have a form of government-issued identification such as a driver’s license, passport or state identification card that shows your date of birth (excludes student ID cards). 
  • You must have access to a computer and the internet. 

*You DO NOT have to be a UNC student to be eligible to participate! Please forward this to anyone you think may be interested and eligible.*

Will there be any compensation?

Participants will receive $100 for taking part in this study. If you leave the study early, you will be paid a prorated amount based on the time spent working on the study at a rate of $10 per hour. Payment of the incentive is contingent on your following study protocol. 

You will also help add to our knowledge about the business practices of online alcohol retailers to inform future legislation to restrict youth access to alcohol and other harmful products online! 

How do you sign up? 

If interested, please call Violet at 919-966-2798 or e-mail at IAVStudy@unc.edu. 


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