Utah Valley University’s Internship Services offers many different internships, but one program in particular seems to be taking the spotlight more than others. Presentations can be heard, open houses can be attended and signs and banners can be seen throughout the school talking about the “D.C. Experience.”
Internships in Washington D.C. are offered through UVU. Students who are accepted receive the chance to go to the nation’s capital and live in housing provided by the university. Students have the opportunity to do a Congressional Internship, which is the most popular and most competitive internship. Students may work in the
Smithsonian, Holocaust Museum, The White House, American Journalism Center and other museums and businesses.
“There’s a variety,” said Jordan Guinn, Internship Services employee. “We have so many opportunities for students, that every student can find a fit.”
It comes as no surprise that internships are encouraged, and even a requirement, for some majors.
“55 percent of students graduate and can’t get a job,” Guinn said. “You have to make yourself competitive.”
The D.C. Internships provides students with that opportunity outside of Utah.
“Students who have done these kinds of internships in D.C. come back so excited,” said Marsha Haynes, director of Internship Services. “I would say more than half of our students that have done our internships in D.C. end up with jobs back there. The ones that come back and have these great experiences on their resume find that they are able to get jobs.”
Candice Backus, political science major, attended the D.C. Internship in the fall of 2011 and spoke highly of her experience.
“I loved it out there,” Backus said. “I was a history major before political science, so I felt like a kid in a candy store.”
Backus interned for Utah Senator Mike Lee’s office in D.C. and participated in giving tours, helped respond to constituent correspondence and was able to shadow Senator Lee for a day.
“It was a really great office to work in because I actually got to meet my senator,” Backus said.
Students from other schools in Utah also compete for the D.C. internship, which gives a competitive spirit. Although the number of attendees from UVU varies each semester, on average ten UVU students apply for the program and four or five students get accepted.
“We’re hoping to double that number,” Haynes said. “We’d just like more students to have a great opportunity … [The D.C. Experience] helps you to build your network.”
Students who apply for the D.C. Internship, especially the Congressional Internship, are looked at for their 3.0 or higher GPA , leadership experience, specific skills related to their major and extracurricular activities.
“Anything that’s a little bit unique and makes you stand out,” Haynes said.