D.C. Internships Offers Students Insight into World of Politics

March 5, 2024

St. John Fisher University has partnered with the SUNY Washington Internship Program for many years to provide students with a unique opportunity to intern in Washington, D.C. for a full semester while earning academic credit. Internships present an abundance of networking opportunities and avenues for career advancement.

Fisher student Ian Klenk (right) with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Internships are available in a wide range of career fields such as government and politics, health care, business, law enforcement, education, national security, and more. This program offers students valuable real-world experience and allows them to witness firsthand the inner workings of the nation’s capital. Students are also encouraged to explore the city and immerse themselves in its rich cultural history.

Former participants say that the experience is exceptionally enriching. Ian Klenk ’24 participated in the program during the fall 2023 semester, working for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as a legislative intern.

During his time with Senator Schumer’s office, Klenk gained insight into the world of political policy by working closely with other congressional office staff and attending various committee hearings. In addition to the political aspect, he also had the opportunity to meet important individuals from Silicon Valley, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk.

“To those considering the SUNY Washington Internship Program, my advice is to go for it. I never got tired of walking through the Capitol every day, passing by Senators as I was going for coffee, or being a firsthand witness to some historic events in the U.S. Congress,” Klenk said. “I am proud that I get to use this professional experience as I move on to law school to set myself apart from other applicants.”

While in the program, interns will engage in a four-day work week from Monday to Thursday. Fridays are dedicated to seminars featuring guest speakers and trips to iconic city locations including Capitol Hill and the Smithsonian Institute. The program also features various research classes and projects, and interns produce an in-depth research paper that is completed throughout the duration of the 15-week program. 

The program’s cost is covered by a student’s tuition payment for the semester, excluding expenses for housing, transportation, meals, and personal needs. Students can choose to reside with family or friends in the area, opt for accommodation through Washington Intern Student Housing, or find other housing options. Given the city’s traffic and parking challenges, students are advised not to bring cars, as D.C.’s extensive public transportation is available.

To apply, students must submit a résumé, cover letter, transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a study statement outlining their field of interest. Application deadlines are Monday, April 1 for fall and Tuesday, Oct. 1. Early applications are advisable to allow ample time for preparation and securing an internship placement. Applicants who have been accepted will be notified via phone call and are urged to refine their application materials promptly to apply for internships as they become available.

Eligibility for the Washington, D.C. internship program extends to juniors and seniors, with a recommended GPA of 2.75 for the fall and spring semesters and 3.0 for the summer term.

Visit the Washington Internship Program website through SUNY Brockport for more details or email Dr. Sébastien Lazardeux at slazardeux@sjf.edu with questions.