Government, Politics, and Public Policy

Explore careers in government, politics, and public policy by exploring the links below. Found a career you're interested in? Stop by our office or make an appointment via 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: Job and Internship Resources | Student Organizations and Departmental Resources | Alumni to Know

Job and Internship Resources

Think Tanks
  • American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research - The nonpartisan, nonprofit institution is dedicated to strengthening free enterprise and conducts research on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare.
  • Brookings Institution - The nonprofit public policy organization is consistently ranked as the most influential think tank in the U.S.
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - The nonprofit organization is dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States.
  • Cato Institute - The think tank conducts independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues ranging from Energy and Environment to Political Philosophy to Trade and Immigration.
  • Center for American Progress - The think tank focuses on public policy issues such as energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care.
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies - A public policy research institution dedicated to analysis and policy impact in government, international institutions, the private sector, and civil society.
  • Council on Foreign Relations - The nonprofit nonpartisan think tank specializes in U.S. foreign policy.
  • Heritage Foundation - The think tank does research on a variety of issues - domestic & economic, foreign & defense, and legal & judicial.
  • National Institute for Research Advancement World Directory Think Tanks (NWDTT) - provides details of the 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 - The nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution is dedicated to the study of international economic policy.
  • RAND Corporation - The global organization focuses on a wide range of issues including health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, and the environment.
  • Foreign Affairs Information Technology Fellowship with The Washington Center - Current application is for Class of 2022 - apply fall 2021; US citizenship required; Fellows earn MA in IT related major, includes tuition support and summer internships with State Dept.
Resources for jobs on the Hill
  • Advice and Resources for working on the Hill
  • Brad Traverse - 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 new jobs and internshps in Public Affairs, Communications, Public Relations, Media, Web Development, Lobbying and related fields. 
  • Democratic National Committee - Internships
  • Opportunities in Public Affairs - Opportunities in Public Affairs is the #1 source of Capitol Hill Jobs, Legislative jobs, and Public Affairs and PR jobs in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Please contact careers@wlu.edu for login information.
  • Politico - Politico is a great resource for political news and other articles.
  • Republican National Committee - Internships
  • The Balance - This is a great resource for political news and how to articles.
  • theHill - The Hill offers the latest news and job opportunities for people interested in policy or a political career.
  • The House Employment Bulletin - The House Bulletin is published week as a resource for House Offices and committees choosing to advertise staff vacancies. 
  • The Senate Employment Bulletin - The Senate Employment Bulletin is published as a service to Senate offices choosing to advertise staff vacancies.
Federal Internship Programs

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.
  • 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.

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.  

Contact Alumni


Victoria Bell '14

Victoria Bell graduated in 2014 with a BA in Politics and a double minor in Education Policy and Poverty and Human Capability Studies. Upon graduating, she moved to Washington, DC, and since then, she has acquired a wide range of professional experiences: Victoria is currently the Assistant Director of K-12 Education Relationships at The Philanthropy Roundtable. Prior to her current role, she was the Associate Policy Director for Educational Opportunity at ExcelinEd, where she analyzed state education policies. Victoria has also worked on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Aide and for a DC-based lobbying firm as Government Affairs Manager. While at W&L, Victoria was an RA and studied abroad in Costa Rica and China.

Skye Justice '03

Skye graduated from Washington and Lee in 2003 with a degree in Politics. He is an Officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, having joined the State Department in 2006. Currently, he serves as Humanitarian Advisor at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. In that capacity, he oversees humanitarian assistance to refugees and conflict victims provided by the United States and serves as a liaison to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN's humanitarian agencies. His prior assignments include Senegal, Haiti, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. In Washington, he has worked in the State Department's Office of Central American Affairs and Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Angela Young Kennedy '08

Angela Young Kennedy graduated in 2008 with a degree in Politics and concentration in the Shepherd Poverty Program. She spent two years in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program as a Team Leader before working at a nonprofit organization in Denver, CO and then as a Unit Leader for FEMA Corps. Angela joined the State Department in 2014 as a Foreign Service Officer. Currently, she is the Immigrant Visa Chief in Beirut, Lebanon. She previously served as the Public Diplomacy Officer in Jerusalem.

Natasha Lerner '13

At Washington and Lee, Natasha received a BA in Global Politics with a double minor in Women's and Gender Studies and Poverty and Human Capability Studies in 2013. While at W&L, she studied abroad twice: a term in Switzerland studying international relations and a spring term in Accra, Ghana studying African politics. During college, she interned at Women's World Summit Foundation, Housing Works (as part of the Shepherd Poverty Alliance Program), and DoSomething.org. She also spent a summer in Lexington working as Professor Dickovick's research assistant.

Erin Nelson '94

Erin participated in the JET Program and lived in Japan for two years after graduating. After that she worked in DC for two years for the Japanese government before getting her Master of Arts in Japanese Literature. Erin worked as an analyst/linguist for the Director of National Intelligence for 5 years before leaving her career to get married. Later she began a career in education, and is currently Director of Advancement at The American School in Japan (Tokyo).

Damon Sanders-Pratt '91

Damon Sanders-Pratt graduated from Washington and Lee in 1991 with a degree in Economics. After graduation, he went to UNC Chapel Hill where he received a master's degree in Public Administration. From 1992-1995, Damon served as the Planning & Zoning Director in a 2.5 employee department in Bennettsville, South Carolina. After a short stint as town manager of Walkertown, North Carolina, he joined the Forsyth County, North Carolina Local Government Budget & Management Office located in Winston-Salem.

Alexandra Utsey Jones '09

Upon graduating from Washington & Lee in 2009 with a degree in Politics, Alexandra served as an aide to Ranking Member Senator Richard Lugar on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. After working on the committee for three years, she studied International Relations at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. While at Princeton, Alexandra interned with the State Department at the U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium. Upon graduating with a Master’s in Public Affairs in 2014, Alexandra began working at the U.S. Department of Defense as a Presidential Management Fellow. At the Pentagon, Alexandra served as an Asia-Pacific advisor and as a speechwriter to the Secretary of Defense. She now works in Executive Communications for Boeing Defense, Space, and Security.