Program Director

Deirdre Martinez

ddDr. Deirdre Martinez, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of Penn in Washington. Before earning her doctorate with distinction from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in 2006, she was an advocate and policy analyst in the non-profit sector and served as Legislative Director to Congressman Xavier Becerra (currently Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Biden Administration). Her doctoral thesis, which revised John Kingdon’s multiple streams model for decision making within interest groups, won the Politics of Education Association’s Outstanding Dissertation Award, and has been adapted for publication as “Who Speaks for Hispanics?”.

As Executive Director of Penn in Washington, Dr. Martinez advises hundreds of Penn students a year on finding internships in Washington, D.C. and is the author of Washington Internships: How to Get Them and Use Them to Launch Your Public Policy Career and Internships Everywhere: Opportunities Outside the Beltway.

Dr. Martinez teaches the core course in the PIW Semester program and is a premajor advisor in the College of Arts and Science at Penn.

To contact Dr. Martinez, email her at or make an appointment here.