Learn more about The Washington Internship Program and how to land an internship on Capitol Hill

Info Session Recap

Shelby Beck, Federal Relations Associate, UF Office of Federal Relations, and Dr. Kevin Bird, Lecturer and Experiential Learning Coordinator, Bob Graham Center for Public Service, overviewed the Washington Internship Program (WIP), which provides a full-time internship in Washington, D.C., for summer 2024. During the workshop, Shelby and Dr. Bird emphasized the importance of professionalism, engagement, and a positive attitude in preparing for interviews with WIP and other Congressional opportunities. They discussed the Washington Internship Program, which offers full-time work hours and course credit, and places students in Congressional and Executive branch offices. They also talked about the financial factors students might need to consider, and the professional development opportunities provided by their office, including resume preparation, interview skills, and networking support.

Planning to apply for the Washington Internship Program? Learn more and apply by Feb. 4 at 11:59 p.m.

View the info session recording.

Washington Internship Program (WIP) Overview

Dr. Bird and Shelby discussed the benefits of the WIP, which is open to all majors and allows for 0 to 9 credits of internship credit. They emphasized that applicants should thoroughly understand the offices they are interested in by researching the Florida Congressional delegation and policy areas of interest. They also clarified that the interview process will be virtual, with applications closing in early February and interviews conducted in mid-February. Dr. Bird and Shelby encouraged applicants to prepare professional responses and dress appropriately for the virtual interviews. They also mentioned that the program aims to help prepare applicants for the next step in their careers.

Application and Interview Preparation and Financial & Housing Considerations

Shelby advised how to prepare for an interview, stressing the importance of professionalism, engagement, and a positive attitude. She also discussed that WIP offers full-time work hours and course credit and that it places students in Congressional and Executive branch offices. Dr. Bird further discussed the program, highlighting the strategic aspects of choosing the right semester for the program and the benefits of the housing and cost-of-living scholarships provided. They also addressed the potential need for students to think about their finances, suggesting they might need to save money to supplement their finances beyond the cost-of-living scholarship provided by WIP.

WIP Placements

Shelby and Dr. Bird discussed the importance of aligning interests and passions with placement options in Congressional offices or the UF Office of Federal Relations, which is part of the application process for WIP. They also outlined the duties of an intern in a Congressional office, which primarily involve administrative tasks with some opportunities for more substantive projects. Dr. Bird highlighted the Gator Bytes presentations as a professional development opportunity where interns research and present on a policy interest that affects the University of Florida and the State of Florida. They also stressed the value of real-world work experiences in the application process and encouraged students to consider strategic moves in their careers. A question about specific intern titles was answered, with Shelby explaining that interns in Congressional offices are typically titled “intern, legislative affairs” or “legislative affairs intern,” while those in the UF Office of Federal Relations are titled “Federal relations intern.”

WIP Eligibility and Additional Internship Opportunities

Shelby clarified that the WIP is exclusively for undergraduates, and students must be enrolled to participate. Graduating students who won’t be students during the summer semester aren’t eligible. Shelby also mentioned that the Office of Federal Relations promotes internships outside of WIP, which can be open to graduate students. Shelby confirmed that they’d soon be posting Congressional internships on the Career Connection Center’s online portal, Gator CareerLink, and that graduating students can apply for these positions independently. Shelby also addressed questions about credits and the fact that students from any major can participate if they’re interested in public service and policy.

Additional Opportunities to Explore Careers in the Public Sector

  • Prepare for the Careers in the Public Sector Fair – Monday, Feb. 12, 3-4 p.m. Register to join on Zoom
    • If you’re attending the Careers in the Public Sector Fair, this is your chance to get ready! During this workshop, you’ll learn how to navigate the career fair, prepare your elevator pitch, and make a positive impression. Career coaches will guide you in developing your strategies for success at this career fair.
  • Gator Career Chat: Building Your Future Through Community Involvement Thursday, Feb. 15, 11-11:50 a.m., in the Career Connections Center (Reitz Union level 1)
    • Join us as nonprofit leaders, UF alumni, and current students share their insights on how connecting with the Greater Gainesville community can be a catalyst for your personal development and career advancement during your time at UF. Discover how getting involved in the community offers networking opportunities and a chance to build skills that extend beyond the classroom while making a difference in the lives of our neighbors here in Gainesville. You’ll also learn how community involvement can shape your path toward a lifetime of meaningful contributions and career success.
  • Navigating the Federal Government Hiring Process – Wednesday, Feb. 21, 3-4 p.m., in the Career Connections Center (Reitz Union level 1)
    • Join representatives from a federal agency to learn essential tips and tricks to navigate the federal government hiring process. From resume and application assessment to interviews and onboarding, you’ll learn how to highlight your skills, experiences, and achievements in a way that aligns perfectly with incredible opportunities across the federal government.
  • Gator Career Chat: National and State Parks, Environmental Protection, and Conservation – Thursday, Feb. 22, 3-3:50 p.m. Register to join on Zoom
    • Join a panel presentation featuring professionals with careers in federal and state parks, environmental protection, and conversation, including UF alumni in these roles. You’ll gain valuable insights into diverse and rewarding opportunities within these fields as our panelists share their experiences and career trajectories and offer advice to UF students and alumni aspiring to make a positive impact on our natural world.
  • Careers in the Public Sector Fair Thursday, Feb. 29, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom (level 2)
    • This fair features employers and opportunities in the government, public service, education and nonprofit industries.
    • View participating employers on Gator CareerLink or download the Symplicity Jobs and Careers app.

Through the Careers in the Public Sector Event series, you will make connections, discover career options, and take steps to advance your career in public service. We hope to see you there! Please reach out to david.adams1@ufl.edu with any questions.

By David Adams
David Adams Assistant Director for Career Pathways – Business, Public Service, and Tourism