For 11 members of the university’s Honors Program, this past summer was no vacation. Having traded in their bathing suits for coats, ties, blouses and blazers, these students tackled internships at top law firms, corporations and congressional offices in the nation’s capital as part of the Honors in Washington Internship Program.
“The program is one of the most exciting opportunities offered by the Honors Program,” says Don De Maria, assistant director of the Honors Program and coordinator of Honors in Washington. “I am grateful for all of the support from our capital-area alumni and friends in providing these unique opportunities for our best students.”
Each year, nearly 30 sophomores and juniors apply for the program through a process that weighs their academic records, campus and community leadership activities and interview skills. Typically, nine to 11 Honors students are placed in D.C. internships and provided with a $2,000 stipend to help defray living expenses.
“Working with experienced professionals has undoubtedly helped guide me in my career path,” says Jacqueline Ross, who interned with Public Broadcasting Service’s CEO Pat Mitchell. “So much of what happens in the U.S. emanates from Washington, D.C. This was the perfect location to learn a great deal in a small amount of time.”
Through a series of luncheons organized by the Honors in Washington Internship Program, students also met with UGA graduates who now live and work in Washington, D.C. Guest speakers included alumni such as former Congressman Bill Stuckey; Betty Hudson, vice president of communications for the National Geographic Society; and Lee Culpepper, vice president of federal relations for Wal-Mart. The lunches also introduced interns to recent UGA graduates in their first jobs in Washington, D.C.
“The Washington internship program is helping UGA build an important institutional presence in the nation’s capital,” says David S. Williams, Honors Program director, who plans to build upon the success of Honors in Washington by creating new internship opportunities for honors students.