LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 5, 2018) — Thirteen University of Kentucky students are working alongside lawmakers and elected officials in Washington, D.C., this semester as participants in the inaugural class of the Wildcats at the Capitol program. The program allows students to participate during the academic year, utilize their financial aid and remain full-time students enrolled in credit-bearing courses.
The program is a partnership between the Department of Political Science, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the President, with the shared goal of providing an affordable opportunity for students to intern in the nation’s capital without delaying their time to degree. The UK Student Government Association is also a key partner in the new program, which is open to students from any major or academic program. The immersive experience aligns academic coursework with hands-on experiential learning for students, a key outcome of the university’s Strategic Plan.
“I first fell in love with politics when I attended a National Leadership Conference as a high school student,” political science and writing, rhetoric, and digital studies sophomore Hayley Leach, an intern for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said. “From that moment, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in politics, so I was thrilled to learn about UK’s new program, Wildcats at the Capitol. My Washington internship has been the highlight of my time as a UK student. I have had so many amazing opportunities, and getting a firsthand look at the intricacies of the legislative process is the best experience for anyone interested in politics.”
The new program provides internship opportunities during the spring and fall semesters, as well as the traditional summer term. Applications are currently open for the 2018 summer and fall academic terms, and can be found on the program’s website. Students interested in interning during the summer should submit their application and a letter of recommendation by Feb. 9, 2018. Students interested in interning during the fall semester should submit their application materials by Feb. 28, 2018.
Students selected for this program are expected to work 20-32 hours a week in their internship placement. In addition, a UK-affiliated professor will teach two courses in his/her field of specialty, with a focus on taking advantage of Washington, D.C.’s resources to enhance the coursework. A comprehensive professional development and networking series will also connect participants with UK alumni and friends in the region.
Another new addition for the internship program is the provision of organized program housing. UK is contracting with the Washington Intern Student Housing (WISH) program to locate students in close proximity to their internship experience. WISH locations are furnished, conveniently located in the Capitol Hill area, and Metro accessible. All efforts will be made to house University of Kentucky students together.
Political science and business management junior Harper White is interning with UPS Global Public Affairs’ D.C. office.
“My work with UPS has been both challenging and rewarding,” he said. “By assisting UPS on company policy surrounding tax, pension and health care, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with several members of Congress, congressional staff and private sector stakeholders. I was even fortunate enough to attend the State of the Union. My goal is to end up in the D.C. area after graduation, and I believe my internship and the Wildcats at the Capitol program have greatly prepared me for my next career steps.”
The application period is now open, and admission decisions for the program are made on a rolling basis until the program is full or the application deadline (Feb. 9 and Feb. 28) is reached. Student selection will be based on an online application with open-ended questions, a resume, one letter of recommendation, and an interview with the selection committee.