New D.C. Internships Offered to Graduate Students
Mar. 23, 2010
The UT System’s Archer Center will launch a new internship program this summer in Washington, D.C., offering graduate students a chance to live and work alongside our nation’s most important decision-makers.
Dr. Donald Arbuckle, clinical professor of public administration in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences at UT Dallas, helped organize the program. The new Summer Graduate Program in Public Policy is largely modeled after Archer’s prestigious Bill Archer Fellowship Program for undergraduates, which takes place during the fall and spring semesters. The center was founded to provide professional and academic experiences for UT System students in Washington, D.C.
Any graduate student in the UT System is eligible, and the 17 competitively selected participants will come from UT Dallas, UT Austin, UT El Paso and UT San Antonio. While the program is likely to appeal most to political science and public affairs students, students from different disciplines – such as education policy, journalism, international relations, communication and economics – will participate this year and in the future.
The Archer Center will assist the graduate fellows in finding internships related to their field of study and help with finding housing.
“This is a great opportunity for students to work in Congress or the executive branch and see how Washington really works,” Arbuckle said. “There’s really no way to truly understand how everything gets done, or sometimes fails to get done, in Washington until you experience it on a daily basis and spend time with people as they do their jobs.”
Arbuckle speaks from longtime experience. He came to UT Dallas in 2006 after spending 25 years in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. He was the senior civil servant in charge of presidential review of new regulations.
“I’m an evangelist for public service,” Arbuckle said. “I think it’s incredibly important to have smart, well-trained people going into government. We have a lot of smart people here at UT Dallas, so I’m glad we are offering them the chance to better prepare to become effective civil servants and leaders.”
Kaela Smith is one of the UT Dallas graduate students planning to participate as an intern this summer. She is seeking her master’s degree in public affairs.
“This program offers a ‘chance of a lifetime’ opportunity to gain experience and connections across the DC area,” she said. “I am considering moving to D.C. in the future, and this program will help me decide if it is the place for me and if there is a career for me there.”
The program will run from the beginning of June until the last week in August. Students will earn nine credit hours for their work. Some jobs will provide a salary, though most are unpaid. Students pay their own way, though Arbuckle and Archer Center Director Katie Romano are working to arrange some scholarship opportunities to defray the costs.
Students must fulfill certain requirements to be accepted into the program and be selected by a panel of faculty, administrators and Archer Center staff. For example, they must be currently enrolled at a UT System institution, have at least nine credit hours and maintain a GPA of 3.3 or higher.
Michael Carriaga, who is seeking her PhD in criminology, said she expects the internship to help her achieve her career goal of working for the FBI.
“Having the opportunity to see what it’s all about and to network with the people who are currently working in the federal government will help me to better prepare myself for my future career,” she said. “I think opportunities like this are great because they allow students to experience the practical side their studies. It not only gives students insight about their future careers, but it also provides them with invaluable experiences that they will carry with them for a lifetime.”