Students partake in legislative internships

Tayler Critchlow


Eagles in D.C. provide Georgia Southern University students with the opportunity to participate in a legislative internship at both the State and National level.

Students apply through the program, submitting an application containing political interests, writing samples and resumes, Vince Miller, Ph.D., associate vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and coordinator for the legislative internship program, said.

The program is hosted through the Vice President of Academic Affairs Office and began in 2008 and since that time has sent 61 GSU students on these internships.

“Believe it or not, the quality of your writing is extremely important to the political offices,” Miller said.

After the application is submitted, Miller will meet with the students and learn more about the students’ interest to know the best legislative fit for that student, whether it is state or national or which office specifically.

The legislative office will then contact the student for an interview, for the state level the process involves multiple interviews and can take longer than for the national level because the state takes a more centralized approach, Miller said.

“It’s a great opportunity, even if you do not decide to go into politics, it’s a great opportunity for you to be able to understand who you are and to learn a little bit more about how our government is run,” Lynn Reaves, senior administrative assistant for the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement, said.

“If you have an interest in politics, any interest in policy, any interest in press or communications, any sort of research if you’re super-interested in science or education policy, or anything really. I’m a French major and I’m here and thoroughly enjoying it, so I would absolutely recommend it,” Amber Montrose, senior French major and Eagles in D.C. participant, said.

Students can receive academic credit for the internship and the interns who are selected for the state legislation will receive a stipend depending on which office they work for. The interns in Washington D.C. do not receive any monetary aid.

It is a well-recognized program by the legislators in Atlanta and in D.C. to the point where they ask GSU for interns, Todd Deal, Ph.D., director for the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement, said.

Once accepted into the program students have all other details and logistics worked out by the organization.

A company called Washington Intern Student Housing (WISH) is partnered with the Eagles in D.C. Program, providing students with affordable housing almost a block away from the Capitol.

Some students may be put off from the opportunity due to the fact that they are not majoring in political science or have not taken any classes in it.

“The biggest thing is that our government has something that is reflective of every major, that is a guarantee. Anything that is of a political issue, a public issue, there is literally something there in the field outside of what we know as politics,” Miller said.

The deadline for the fall semester is April 15, spring semester is Oct. 1 and summer semester deadline is Mar. 1.

Deal said, “If you are a political sort of person definitely do it. But even just public service, thinking about someday I might want to be on city council, the board of education, be mayor and see how non-profits work in that service side. I think stepping into that side of American life is something that would be one of those eye-opening experiences.”