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The Washington Center

East Tennessee State University

The Internship Experience

Office setting with staff member assisting studentsWhat sets The Washington Centers internship experience apart from almost all other internship programs is the combination of three distinct components: the internship itself, the LEAD Colloquium, and an academic course.

The Washington Center has developed relationships with more than 1,000 internship sites in and around Washington, D.C. Those sites include government agencies and offices (like the Department of Justice, the Library of Congress, or assisting with a senatorial campaign); non-profit organizations (like the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, or the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center); and, businesses (like CBS News, Marzulla Law, or mCapitol Management).

You will work with members of The Washington Center's staff to determine possible internship sites -- based on your own interests, knowledge, and skills. Your completed application materials will be forwarded to those potential sites and you will then choose an internship based on the offers received.

You will be expected to work nearly full time (four days a week for about 32 hours a week, total) at your internship site, completing substantive work real work not simply running errands for a supervisor.

It is not uncommon for interns in The Washington Centers programs to be hired full time after graduation by the agency or company where they interned.

LEAD Colloquium
Previously called the Leadership Forum, the LEAD Colloquium (LEAD stands for Leadership, Engagement, Achievement, Development) is a structured set of activities that combines small group discussions (concerning leadership and reflections on your experiences in D.C.); programming tailored to your specific professional track (panel discussions, briefings, field trips); participation in the Alan K. Simpson-Norman Y. Mineta Leaders Series events; participation in a civic engagement project, associated workshops, and a meeting with your local member of the Senate or House of Representatives; and, participation at other panels and workshops (Career Boot Camp, Global Citizenship Day). 

Academic Course
In many cases, the academic course that you take will have a direct link to the work that you are completing each week as part of your internship. Courses meet one night a week and are taught by adjunct faculty members who often are professors at a nearby university or professionals in the field.

Course offerings cover a wide variety of academic disciplines business and management, communication, international affairs and foreign policy, leadership, and, law and criminal justice, among others. Past academic courses have included: Media and the Movies, International Human Rights, Campaigning for a Cause: How Advocacy Groups Change the World, Forensic Psychology, and, Government and Business in the New Economic and Political Reality.

For a current listing of academic courses, visit The Washington Centers website:

As a culminating activity, you will complete a final portfolio, which includes a resume, cover letter, reflection assignments, internship work samples, completed assignments from your academic course, and other related documents.

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