Senior Annie Kelly is in Minnesota this semester working as assistant campaign manager for Governor Tim Pawlenty’s re-election run. She said she owes her job, and every other internship she has had, to one student organization.
“I got this job because I am a College Republican,” Kelly said. “In fact, every political job I have had throughout my time at GW I have received because I am a College Republican.”
“If I was not a College Republican I would never have made the connections I have today,” she said.
The College Republicans and the College Democrats both provide members with extensive internship listings and networking opportunities.
In a time where internships are often considered more important than grade point averages, these opportunities often provide that coveted edge over the competition.
David Springer, a sophomore, interned last year with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a member of his speechwriting staff.
“There is no question that his future career has been significantly enhanced by his work at the Pentagon,” said senior Gary Livacari, chairman of the CRs.
Members of the CRs work with various government and non-government organizations in an effort to obtain the best internships possible for its members, Livacari said.
Some of the most common internships the group offers include ones at the Department of State, Department of Commerce, American Enterprise Institute, Americans for Prosperity, Young America’s Foundation and the White House, Livacari said.
Similar to the work of the CRs, the College Democrats also supplies its members with internship opportunities, said Michael Weil, communications director for the College Democrats.
“Congressional offices are eager to hire our members because of their strong political skills,” said Weil, a junior. “Being a member of the GW College Democrats is a great credential for any student seeking an internship on Capital Hill or around D.C.”
The CDs have continued relationships with congressional offices and non-profit groups, including John Barrow(D-Ga.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Jim Webb’s campaign for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat, House Minority Leader (D-Calif.) Nancy Pelosi’s office, the Human Rights Campaign, Allied for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Weil found his opportunity to intern on the Hill invaluable.
“I had the great experience to work in Leader Pelosi’s office. I got to see firsthand how the legislative process works,” Weil said.
“Internships have become the standard credential for anyone seeking a job on Capitol Hill or on the D.C. political scene,” he said.
Student organizations are not the only place to get information on internships in D.C. The University also acts as a liaison between internship providers and students looking to get internships.
While the Career Center provides information to students looking for internships, the goal of the center is to inform students of all the various programs rather than specifically match students with an internship.
“The Career Center is not an internship ‘placement’ service,” said Jeffrey Dagley, communications coordinator at the Career Center.
“We do not serve as ‘advisers’ per se for particular internship programs, nor do we coordinate any internship programs,” he said. “Instead, we serve as a sort of ‘clearinghouse’ for internship listings.”
Dagley said the Career Center lists “more than 3,000 internships a year for students from all parties and for all majors in multiple industries, interest areas in business, government and education.”