By: Lily Riesett
The Washington Program, a faculty-lead professional development program for students interested in political science, now has its applications open for the 2021-2022 season. This program gives students the opportunity to apply to political science internships in Washington D.C. with the help of political science faculty Professors Fehrs and Shafqat, a Washington Program Student Intern, and graduates of St. Mary’s who now hold positions in political fields.
The biggest aspect of the Washington Program is the internship placement that all program participants are assisted with. If chosen to be a member of the program, all spring semester participants will be applying to internships related to what they want to go into professionally. These include non-profit positions, internships on The Hill and think tank openings. The professors and Washington Program Intern revise resumes and cover letters before every application is submitted. Some of these potential positions even include a small stipend or hourly pay.
Once placed in an internship, participants can fully commit to the Washington Program and register for the class portion of it. This is an eight credit course taken during the first and last week of the summer semester. This class is about six hours a day and focuses on policy in D.C. While it might be long, it helps participants to understand how politics play out in our nation’s capital before they go to their internship site. This course is also a great opportunity to bond with fellow program participants and professors. The final week of the class includes a presentation of research on a piece of policy relating to your internship.
Students also have many opportunities to get to know alumni who now hold predominate policy-related positions. Each participant is paired with a mentor who graduated from St. Mary’s and the Washington Program. They meet one-on-one with participants to advise them on their internship positions, review resumes and to make connections. There is also a summer speaker series where alumni come to speak to students. Politicians such as Mayor Brandon Scott of Baltimore and Council Member Robert White of D.C. have led talks on their experiences in politics after college.
Emily Rudo, class of 2023, interned for the Potomac Group during the summer of 2021 with the Washington Program. When asked about her favorite part about the program, she said “Some of my favorite parts include interning in a field I knew very little about, so I was exposed to a lot of new information and skills –especially since I worked one-on-one with the Founder/CEO. Also, I get to edit and write reports for the firm created for The Nature Conservancy. Lastly, Potomac Group was unable to find an effective way to track information and clients, so I developed a system that they can use –and as far as I know they still do!”
Applications for the Washington Program are now open through January of 2022. Application materials can be found at https://www.smcm.edu/washingtonprogram/.
Reach out to Washington Program Intern Lily Riesett at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.