Government, Politics, and Public Policy
Explore careers in government, politics, and public policy by exploring the links below. Discovered a career you're interested in? Stop by our office or make an appointment on Handshake with a Career Advisor and begin networking to learn more.
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The Office of Career and Professional Development at Washington and Lee University has not vetted any of the internship and volunteer opportunity listings on this page and makes no representations or guarantees regarding any of the listed opportunities. It is the responsibility of students and alumni to do their own due diligence when applying for and accepting any of these opportunities.
Quicklinks: Think Tanks | The Hill | Federal Opportunities | International Affairs | Student Organizations and Departmental Resources | Alumni to Know
Job and Internship Resources
- Think Tank Research Resources - Find Policy (search by geography or theme); US Think Tanks; Non-US Think Tanks by Region and Evaluating Think Tanks
- Top 10 Most Influential Think Tanks (2023)
- American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research - AEI is a nonpartisan, nonprofit institution dedicated to strengthening free enterprise and conducts research on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare
- Brookings Institution - Nonprofit public policy organization consistently ranks as most influential think tank in U.S.
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Nonprofit is dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by U.S.
- Cato Institute - Conducts independent, nonpartisan research on wide range of policy issues ranging from Energy and Environment to Political Philosophy to Trade and Immigration
- Center for American Progress - Focuses on public policy issues including energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care
- Center for Strategic and International Studies - Dedicated to analysis and policy impact in government, international institutions, private sector, and civil society. Opportunities are posted here
- Council on Foreign Relations - Specializes in U.S. foreign policy.
- Heritage Foundation aims to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."
- The Inter-American Dialogue fosters democratic governance, prosperity, and social equity in Latin America and the Caribbean
- National Institute for Research Advancement World Directory Think Tanks (NWDTT) - Provides details on organizational structures of approximately 500 institutions in 100 countries and the research activities in which they engage
- Penn Hill Group - A leading bipartisan government relations firm focused on education, workforce and youth issues in DC - regularly offers summer internships
- Peterson Institute for International Economics - Nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution studies international economic policy
- RAND Corporation - Global organization focuses on wide range of issues including health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, and the environment
- US Institute of Peace - A "national, nonpartisan, independent institute, founded by Congress and dedicated to the proposition that a world without violent conflict is possible, practical, and essential for U.S. and global security." Research Assistant postings for summer or part-time during academic term
Resources for jobs on the Hill
- Advice and Resources for working on the Hill
- Traverse Jobs - Subscription based ($6/month) job listings "for opportunities that impact social change and policy [in DC and] across the nation"
- CQ Roll Call - Internship Guide - Roll Call's guide to acing your internship.
- DC Public Affairs + Communications Jobs blog - Daily posts with opportunities in Public Affairs, Communications, Public Relations, Media, Web Development, Lobbying and related fields
- Democratic National Committee - Internships
- Opportunities in Public Affairs - OPA is #1 source of Capitol Hill Jobs, Legislative jobs, and Public Affairs and PR jobs in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Contact email@example.com for login information.
- Politico - Political news and other articles
- Republican National Committee - Internships
- State Legislative Internship Programs and Coordinators - Internship application information and contacts by state
- The Balance - Political news and "how to" articles
- theHill - News and job opportunities for people interested in policy or a political career
- The House Employment Bulletin - Subscribe to weekly publication for advertised internship and staff vacancies in House and committee offices
- The Senate Employment Bulletin - Subscribe for advertised internship and staff vacancies
Federal Internship Programs and Resources
- What to include in a Federal Resume - Don't miss the resources links at end of the page
- 5 Tips to Prepare for a US Government Security Clearance
- Council of Foreign Relations' Convene the Council is a free game where you take on role of U.S. President and respond to world events with support of National Security Council
- American Advantage Capital Scholars Program - Paid internships for black and minority undergraduate and graduate students in all fields within top-level federal departments and agencies in Washington, D.C.
- Central Intelligence Agency Internship Program - Offers promising undergraduate students opportunity to gain practical work experience that complements their academic studies
- Congressional Research Service - Internships, fellowships and other federal government opportunities
- Federal Bureau of Investigation - Summer Honors program and entry level positions. Seniors encouraged to start applying within 90 days of graduation.
- Federal Government Career Guides
- Federal Internship Portal on USAJobs
- Federal occupations by college major - Find Series number of non-exhaustive list of occupations suited to academic majors to tailor usajobs.gov job search
- IntelligenceCareers.gov - Website for candidates interested in working in the intelligence community (Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence). Site hosts Job Exploration Tool, resume advice, agency information/mission, student page and job postings. Security clearances can take up to 12 months - apply in the spring for positions the summer after next (more than a year out). Apply for post-graduation positions during junior year.
- NASA Contracting Intern Program - The NASA Headquarters Office of Procurement administers the NASA Contracting Intern Program (NCIP) targeted towards recent college graduates in business-related fields.
- New York State Assembly Internship Program - The Assembly Internship Program gives qualified students the chance to work in the New York State Assembly.
- Senate Internships - This is not an exhaustive list, check individual websites as well.
- The Smithsonian Associates (TSA) Internships - Interns are offered unique opportunities to learn about all aspects of educational programming for both adults and children.
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Summer Honors College Program - 10-week summer opportunity to work at SEC's Washington, DC headquarters or in one of 11 regional and district offices nationwide.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Intern Program - This program is designed to help recruit and attract exceptional individuals to a broad spectrum of occupations within HUD.
- US Department of State - Explore career options, internship and fellowship opportunities, and sign-up for emails.
- Virtual Student Federal Service - Virtual internships with federal agencies during the academic year for students from all majors and class years; application period open and closes in July preceding academic year. Discover which Bureaus relate to your major here.
- White House Internship Program - Learn how to contact and get updates from the White House and apply to be an intern or a post-graduate Fellow, e.g., Council on Environmental Quality internship application deadeline is in March.
- Council on Foreign Relations Daily E-Newsletter - Stay informed
- Council on Foreign Relations Opportunities - Lists jobs, internships and fellowships
- Guide to Careers in International Affairs - APSIA's Guide offers advice on what you can do in international affairs, sector and subject area guides, and a list of scholarships and fellowships.
- 80,000 Hours - Job board for positions that "focus on the global problems where we expect additional work to have the biggest impact"
- Foreign Affairs Information Technology Fellowship with The Washington Center - Apply in the fall for the following year; US citizenship required; Fellows earn MA in IT related major, includes tuition support and summer internships with State Dept.
- American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) - Internships in Foreign Affairs and resources for The Foreign Service Career
- Foreign Affairs Career Center - Seniors and alumni can search for positions with foreign affairs offices by state and type of position (e.g., banking and finance, communications, consulting, economics, legal, nonprofit, security)
- International Non-Governmental Organizations - NGOs based in Minnesota
- Non-U.S. Think Tanks by Region
Student Organizations & Departmental Resources
- Alexander Hamilton Society - The Alexander Hamilton Society is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit, membership organization dedicated to promoting constructive debate on basic principles and contemporary issues in foreign, economic, and national security policy. As we build a national network of oustanding students, faculty, and professionals, we sponsor debates at colleges and universities, as well as in major cities, and provide other opportunities for our members to flourish intellectually, profesisonally, and personally. As an active member, there are plentiful opportunities to find internships in Washington D.C.
- Civic Engagement - College Democrats and College Republicans
- Mock Convention - The Washington and Lee University Mock Convention is a quadrennial tradition in which student delegates attempt to predict the presidential nominee of the political party currently out of the White House.
- Political Review - The Washington & Lee Political Review is a student-administered, student-centered academic journal with a clear emphasis on political science and political theory. The Review showcases exceptional undergraduate scholarship, and serves as an ambassador to the academic community at large.
- Washington Term - The Washington Term Program has been in existence for three decades. It was established by Bill Connelly, John K. Boardman Professor of Politics, and has provided more than 400 Washington and Lee students with a memorable living and learning experience in Washington, D.C. since 1987. Students have used the six-week spring term course to launch careers in every branch of government.
- World Languages Portal - The World Languages and Cultures portal provides information on course offerings, resources, and programs for students interested in building skills to prepare for a global and diverse society.
Alumni To Know
One of the best ways to explore careers and find job opportunities is to network with progressional. Below are some alumni who have experience in the field and have volunteered to be a resource. To connect with someone, log in to Colonnade Connections and find their contact information. Not sure how to begin networking? Stop by our office to get started.