washington internship program

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Since 2000, the American Studies Department has sent 64 students on a unique program which provides a 7-week placement in the US Congress. Students work full-time in the office of a member of the United States Senate or the US House of Representatives. The program provides an opportunity, unparalleled in Australasia, to experience political life in Washington DC.

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  • Flinders University

    WashingtonInternshipProgram

    An opportunity to work on Capitol Hill as part of an undergraduate or honours degree.

    AMST3016AMST701-

    inspiring achievement

  • Meet the organisers...

    Don DeBats is Professor and Head of American Studies at Flinders University, South Australia. As a scholar of United States history and h^He has taught in the Department of Government at the College of William and Mary in Virginia and is a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson /^E,h^s&,the University of Virginia. ,h^ht&h

    CharlDEWW, an h^Launched in January 2007,W ,timpact.

    &E:WCharles is a graduate of Catholic University and :American University.

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  • 2

    AmericanStudieshasanunmatchedinternship

    program.WorkinginthecongressoftheUSwasawonderfulexperiencethatleavesanindeliblemark.PrindonSadriu(2006),RepDanaRohrabacher

    WhyapplyforthisProgram?

    TheWashingtonInternshipProgram,organisedbyProfessorDonDeBatsatFlindersUniversity,isuniqueamongstthecourseofferingsofAustralianuniversities.SuccessfulapplicantstotheProgramareplacedininstitutionsassociatedwiththenationalgovernmentoftheUnitedStatesforsevenweeks.ThemostfrequentplacementsareinofficesofUnitedStatesSenatorsorRepresentatives;placementsarealsoavailablewithCongressionalcommittees,publicpolicyorganisationsandcorporategovernmentaffairsoffices.TheProgramenjoystheenthusiasticsupportoftheUSEmbassyinCanberraandtheAustralianEmbassyinWashington.TheInternshipisatransformativeinternationalexperience.NoamountofnewsviewingortextbookreadingcanmatchtherealityofworkingintheofficeofamemberoftheUnitedStatesSenateorHouseofRepresentatives,observingatfirsthandpoliticaldecisionmakingintheUnitedStates.Sinceitsfoundingyearin2000,theProgramhassent64InternstoworkintheUSCongress.ItsalumnisharetheorganisersenthusiasmfortheWashingtonInternshipProgram,asalifechangingexperience.InternsreturntoAustraliawithadeepknowledgeofpoliticallifeinaglobalpoliticalcentreofpower.ThisProgramprovidesanopportunitytobeanAustralianambassadorparexcellence.OftenInternsreturnwithaletterfromthehostCongressmanorSenatorattestingtotheirperformance.ThatletterwillalwaysformanimportantpartofthatInternsprofessionalresume.TheWashingtonInternshipProgramoperatesintheAustraliansummer(andtheWashingtonwinter!)withstudentsstartingtheirInternshiponCapitolHillinearlyJanuaryandfinishinginthethirdweekinFebruary.TheoverallexperienceincludesresidinginsharedaccommodationonCapitolHillandstudentsmaytravelindependentlyaftertheProgramconcludes,withinthetermsofthevisa.In2005,AustralianNationalUniversityaskedtojointheFlindersProgramandnowsendsitsownwellpreparedstudentstoWashingtonaspartofthisjointuniversityeffort.TheaimoftheInternshipistoallowstudentsalreadyknowledgeableaboutAmericansociety,politics,historyandculturetoexperiencetherealityofpoliticallifeinthecentralinstitutionsofAmericannationalgovernment.TherequirementsfortheProgram,anditscarefulselectionprocedure,reflectthelevelofprofessionalismandknowledgeexpectedofitsparticipants.Thisisasmall,selectiveandhighlyvisibleProgram.However,anystudentwithmotivationanddeterminationwhomeetstheprerequisitescansucceedasaWashingtonIntern.HowtoapplyTheWashingtonInternshipProgramisa9unittopicatFlindersUniversity.Itsprerequisitesare18unitsoftopicsthatmakeuptheAmericanStudiesmajorandmustincludeAMST2002:AmericanPoliticsand/orPOLI3011:PeopleandPolitics,AComparativeStudyofAustralia,CanadaandtheUnitedStates(seewww.flinders.edu.au/courses/transition/undergrad/majors/sabsamst.cfm).The18unitsmustbecompletedbeforetheInterndepartsforWashington.TheserequirementsreflectthelevelofbackgroundknowledgerequiredtoperformsuccessfullyintheWashingtonInternshipProgram.FlindersstudentsacceptedintotheProgramwillbesenttoworkaspoliticalprofessionalsandcolleaguesinanintenseatmosphereofpartisanandbipartisandecisionmaking.ACapitolHillofficeisnoplaceforaneophyteinAmericanpoliticallife.Admissionisbyapplicationonlyandiscompetitive.Applicationsaretobesubmittedinhardcopyandelectronically(USB),usuallyinearlyAugust.Theapplicationformcanbefoundat:Hwww.flinders.edu.au/sabs/americanstudies/internship/links.cfmH

  • 3

    BeinggiventheopportunitytoworkonCapitolHillmademerealisehowinterestingtheworldofpoliticscanbe.WashingtonisdefinitelythebestplacetobeifyouwanttolearneverythingyoucanaboutAmericanpolitics.Ifeltsoprivilegedtobeabletoworkalongsidesomeofthegreatestpolicymakersin

    theUnitedStates.KateMelrose(2007),SenatorJohnSununu.

    Whatistheselectioncommitteelookingfor?TheInternshipisapositionoftrustandsignificantresponsibility.Theselectioncommittee,madeupofProfessorDeBats,MrSlatteryandMrMahtesian,takesparticularaccountoftheapplicantsStatementofInterest,resume,andlettersofrecommendation.TheselectioncommitteelooksforevidencethatyouwillsucceedintheInternship;thatis,arehighlycommittedtoitandhavethebackgroundknowledgeandpersonalattributesandskillsnecessarytosucceedinacongressionaloffice.WashingtonworksonthebasisofinformationanditisimportantthatanyoneapplyingfortheprogramiswellinformedaboutAmericanpoliticsandpoliticalculture.TheselectioncommitteewillbeinterestedinhowtheInternshipfitsinwithyourcareerplansandwilllookforevidenceofyourrelevantexperienceandmaturity.WhatwillIbedoinginWashington?SuccessfulapplicantstotheWashingtonInternshipProgramworkaspoliticalprofessionals.StudentsapplyingforadmissiontotheProgramlistthreepreferredareasofpolicyorpartisaninterest;everyeffortismadetomatchstudentinterestwiththeinterestoftheofficesofferingplacements,butprospectiveInternsarenotpermittedtorejectplacements.OfficesofmembersoftheUSSenateandHouseofRepresentativesdesignateastaffmembertoberesponsibleforallInternsinthatoffice.CongressionalofficesroutinelyhostUSinternsduringtheNorthAmericansummer;thatsameopportunityisavailablefortheFlindersInternsarrivingintheNorthernHemispherewinter.InternsupervisorsaremadeawareoftheuniquefeaturesoftheFlindersUniversityWashingtonInternshipProgram,namelytherequirementtoproduceamajorresearchpaperarisingfromtheInternship.ThesubjectofthemajorpaperwillbeworkedoutbytheIntern,ProfessorDeBatsandtheInternssupervisor.ThecongressionalofficeinternsupervisorsetsthedailytasksfortheFlindersIntern.ThewidestgoaloftheInternshipistoexperiencepoliticallifeinaninfluentialcongressionalofficeandmanytaskswillreflecttheprioritiesandpressuresofthatoffice.Itfollowsthatnotalltaskssetwillberelevanttothemajorpaper,butthatisthenatureoftheinternshipexperience.InternsparticipatingintheProgramareurgedtoremaininclosecontactwithProfessorDeBatstoensurethatbothworkassignmentsandthedevelopmentofthemajorpaperproceedsmoothly.PreparationAsetofbackgroundbriefingswillbeorganisedforstudentsacceptedintotheWashingtonInternshipProgram.ThiswillculminateinaformalBriefingSessioninNovembertowhichparentsandpartnersareinvited.ThissessionisavideoconferenceinvolvingdiplomaticrepresentativesoftheAustralianandUnitedStatesgovernmentsandrepresentativesofFlindersUniversity.Allpresentersareavailableduringthisvideoconferencetoanswerquestionsfromstudents,partnersandparents.Whatwillmyofficeexpectofme?SincetheWashingtonInternshipProgramsinceptionin2000,FlindersUniversityInternsworkingintheUSCongresshaveestablishedanenviablereputationfortheirinitiative,enthusiasm,knowledgeandprofessionalism.Youroffice,yoursupervisorandtheorganisersoftheProgramwillexpectfromyouthesamestandardsofexcellenceinthesefourkeyattributes,aswellasarespectforconfidentiality.YourofficeandtheFlindersWashingtonInternshipProgramorganisersexpectyoutoseekoutandtakeadvantageofanyprofessionalopportunityavailabletoyou.TheInternshipwillnotbeasuccessifyouwaitforthingstohappenorinvitationstobeextendedtoyou.Sometimesthetasksassigned

  • 4

    Icannotdescribethefeelingofwalkingalongthemallat

    night,lookingupattheCapitolandknowingthatIhadworkedtowardsanimportantforeignpolicyobjectiveduringtheday.JessicaWinnall(2006),SenatorJohnSununu.

    mayberoutineandmundane.MuchofthesuccessofyourInternshipwilldependonhowyourespondtothesesituationsandwhatyoumakeofopportunitiesthatarise,oftenquitesuddenly.StudentsneedtoexerciseconsiderableinitiativeandenthusiasmtoensuretheyderivethemaximumpotentialoftheirWashingtonexperience.Programorganisersareavailablefordiscussionshould,overaprolongedperiod,thetasksnotalignwiththeoverallobjectivesoftheWashingtonInternshipProgram.YoumustgotoWashingtonfullyinformed:intheatmosphereofCapitolHill,knowledgeispower.ThisnecessityisreflectedinthespecifictopicprerequisitesestablishedforparticipationintheWashingtonInternshipProgram.Youwillbeexpectedtoparticipatefullyinthetasksassignedtoyoubyyourcongressionalofficesupervisor.YouwillbeexpectedtobeintheofficeallworkingdaysduringtheInternship.Yourconductmustatalltimesbeprofessional,intermsofbothdressandattitude.PunctualityandcourtesyareabidingrulesofCapitolHill.AsanIntern,youalsowillbeexpectedtorespectallmattersofsecurityandconfidentialityestablishedbyyouroffice.Youmustnotspeaktothemediaaboutanymatterinyourofficewithoutformalauthorisationfromyourofficesupervisor.AmeaningfulmeasureofthesuccessofpastInternsinupholdingthesestandardsisthattheAustralianEmbassyinWashingtonorganisesaformalreceptioninhonouroftheFlindersUniversityandANUWashingtonInternseachyear.ThistypeofrecognitionisvitaltothecontinuedsuccessoftheProgram.

  • 5

    Youseehowallthetheoreticalideasyoutalkaboutintutorialsactuallyplayoutintherealworld.TomSchinckel(2011),

    RepLynnWestmoreland

    Itwasoneofthemostshapingexperiencesofmy

    lifetodate.AlisonCupper(2003),RepJamesClyburn

    AssessmentTheWashingtonInternshipisthecapstoneoftheAmericanStudiesmajoratFlindersUniversity.StudentswillbeengagedfulltimeintheirhostofficeinWashingtonfortheentireperiodoftheinternship.WhileinWashington,Internspursueaprojectofinteresttothecongressionalofficeandtothemselves;theresulting6,000wordpaperformsthecoreassessmentforthistopicandmakesup85%ofthefinalgrade.Toensurethatthecompleteassessmentforthetopicdoesnotrestonasinglepieceofwork,Internsretur