Political Science Interns

The LEAP/POLS Internship & "City Fellows" 

The LEAP/Political Science Internship Program has placed more than 275 students in professional positions over the past 15 years. The department offers placements in government offices, non-profits, private businesses, law offices, and other occupations pertaining to the civic, political, and legal world.  Our new "City Fellows" is designed to build upon that success by further enriching the internship process.  Students are encouraged to apply for both programs, if interested.

Application & Selection Process

The Intern Director (Professor Mike Yawn) initiates a call for applications each semester. For the Fall semester, the application process occurs in July and August; for the spring semester, the process occurs in November and December; and for the summer semester, the process occurs in April and May. 

The application for the City Fellows program can be found here.  The application for other local internships is available here. Please see the linked resume for an example (in fact, use this format to overwrite your material.)   Applications and resumes can be emailed to Professor Yawn at mike.yawn@shsu.edu, given to a student worker in CHSS 480, or dropped in Professor Yawn's door tray (CHSS 477).  Applications for the Fall of 2020 will be considered starting July 20 and applications will be accepted until August 12.  Qualified applicants may be called for interviews prior to the application deadline, so students are encouraged to apply early.

Applications and resumes will be reviewed by a SHSU selection committee (consisting of the LEAP Center Director, LEAP Center staff, and intern alumni). The LEAP Center will then work with selected students to apply for positions that provide the best fit. Student applications and resumes will be submitted to partner agencies, and agency supervisors will select the students they wish to interview. Students are encouraged to be open to multiple opportunities. The more interviews the students accept, the greater chance they will have of being selected. Following interviews, both students and agency supervisors will rank their preferences, and LEAP Center staff will work with all parties to find the best match.

While the selection criteria depends on the needs of agencies and the quality of intern pool, the selection committee considers the following qualities:

  • Academic Performance
  • Reliability and Professionalism
  • Participation in LEAP Center, Political Science Department or Closely Related Events
  • Interviews and interactions with faculty and staff
  • References

Internship Requirements

To be considered for either internship program, students must agree to abide by the program's code of conduct, register for and remain enrolled in POLS 4095 during the semester they intern, and must fulfill the responsibilities of the agency. The internship is not a "class" in the traditional sense. Students attend a mandatory orientation at the beginning of the semester and complete three assignments throughout the semester, but their primary responsibility is to do quality work at their intern agency. Students will receive a grade for their internship, and students who fail to complete the internship or fulfill its requirements will receive an F. For the part-time option, students will earn three hours of credit. In paid internships the student must work 16-20 hours per week; students in unpaid internships must work approximately 10-20 hours per week (depending on the internship). 

Credit for internships cannot be given after the fact. That is, students cannot setup their own internships and then seek credit after the internship has been secured. If you are interested in a specific internship, please check with the Intern Director Mike Yawn to see about the feasibility of receiving credit. Credit will not be given to students who do not meet the regular qualifications, for internships with family or friends of the family, or with agencies without institutionalized procedures. Because the Political Science Department and LEAP Center want students to be successful in their internship the student should expect to work closely with advisors to insure that they have an appropriate number of hours while attempting an internship for credit.

"City Fellows" Program

The City Fellows program has the same requirements as above, but students will also participate in regular programs.  What distinguishes a formal "fellows" program from a normal internship program is that "fellows" receive additional training and learning opportunities.  Thus, in this program, students will participate in a "Mock City Council" program, go on behind-the-scenes-tours, and have the opportunity for mentorship by local leaders.  You can learn more about this program here.

LEAP/POLS Internship Program

This internship includes both paid and unpaid internships with government offices, election campaigns, law offices, and non-profits.  This program selects top-notch students, allows them to earn academic credit, and provides rewarding duties, builds resumes, and helps students expand their professional network.  For paid positions, students should expect to work 15-20 hours per week; for unpaid positions, students should expect to work approximately 10 hours per week.

Former Interns

Former participants in the Political Science Internship Program have gone on to impressive careers in diverse fields. Emily Johnson now works for the Sunset Commission in the State Legislature; Blake Roach is a field representative for Governor Greg Abbott; Ariel Leaf works for the Texas Department of Health; Melva Gomez works for a nation-wide non-profit; Megan Bryant works for one of the largest non-profits in the world, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation; Laken Jenkins works for Coats Rose PC law firm; Justin Veillon is a Presidential Appointee in the Defense Department; Daniel North works for a law firm in Chicago; Annel Gonzalez works as field representative for TX Senator Charles Schwertner.  In short, this is a path to a wide and rewarding number of occupations. Moreover, the Political Science Internship Program is an excellent stepping stone to the Austin Internship Program. Of last year's ten Austin Interns, six previously participated in the Political Science Internship Program.