Each semester, 20-30 students enroll in the program, interning for a wide variety of agencies and organizations.
They typically work at their internships during normal business hours Monday through Thursday. On Friday, they participate in a seminar class, where they engage with speakers on a variety of topics as well as take site visits and tours of places such as the White House, Supreme Court, Pentagon, US Capitol, Library of Congress, and NPR.
Our students often forge great friendships with one another as they learn from one another and together experience living in one of the world’s greatest cities. Most of our students typically leave here feeling satisfied that they learned and experienced in ways not possible back home or on their home school campuses.
A 50-Year History
The idea for a SUNY Washington Internship was first conceived in 1963 by SUNY Brockport professor Michael Weaver, who then officially established the program in 1967 and began offering classes in 1969 as the first director of the program. Professor Weaver remained as director until 1995, when Dr. John Fitzpatrick took over the program, who also had a lengthy and successful tenure, running the program until 2014. Robert Walter ran the program from 2014 until 2022, when Robert Powell took over.
These students have interned at government offices including the White House, Supreme Court, Senate, House of Representatives, and all of the Cabinet Departments and other Executive-branch agencies, as well as at a wide variety of other organizations, including foreign embassies, nonprofit NGO’s, trade organizations, policy think tanks, media, museums, party organizations, and political campaigns.
Those objectives still guide the program, although today we emphasize that the number of opportunities for students in Washington DC extends well beyond the realm of politics. While political offices and organizations are still a primary draw for many students interested in coming to DC, there are opportunities for students in practically every academic major or discipline. As a result, our program is now increasingly trying to demonstrate our appeal to students across a wider variety of majors than what was the focus during earlier years.