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Summer Internship Program: Community & Social Change


Program Includes:

  • Community & Social Change Internship in Washington, D.C. (4 days per week)
  • Seminar in Community & Social Change with faculty from AU’s School of Public Affairs (3 credit hours)
  • Research Project on the topic of your choice (optional; 3 credit hours)
  • Housing with American University or you can make your own independent housing arrangements

The Program in Community & Social Change

AU’s Summer Internship Program in Community & Social Change will give you an unsurpassed opportunity to immerse yourself at the intersection of local and national politics and policy. Federal policy changes are placing more responsibility on state and local governments to address their problems. Now is the perfect time to evaluate these changes and to study initiatives for revitalization. You will experience Washington, D.C. as a distinctive learning laboratory for exploring how leadership, grassroots action, advocacy, litigation, and government programs can improve communities. Through AU’s Community & Social change seminar, you will gain a true insider’s view of the American political process on a community level. Through your internship, you will gain experiential exposure to a key element of the political and social change arenas. At the end of the summer, you will return to your home institution with new and valuable connections with professionals in your field, a stronger résumé enhanced with real-world experience, and academic credit toward your undergraduate degree.

The Internship in Community & Social Change

We will help you to secure the best possible internship to pursue your interests. Through your internship, you will gain practical knowledge in your field, make connections with professionals who share your interests, and gain valuable, hands-on experience to help you get noticed in today’s challenging job market. Past internship options have included:

Sample of our Internships:

  • Amnesty International
  • Children’s Defense Fund
  • Community Development corporations
  • Corporation for National & Community Service
  • Congressional Offices & Committees
  • Department of Education
  • District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Faith-based organizations
  • National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
  • National Low Income Housing Coalition
  • Democratic National Committee
  • Department of Health & Human Services
  • Environmental organizations
  • Foundations & Philanthropic Organizations
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • National Conference on Citizenship
  • Peace Corps
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • TransAfrica Forum
  • U.S. Public Interest Research Group
  • Youth Service Opportunities Project

The Seminar in Community & Social Change

Our seminar in Community & Social Change is focused on providing you with in-depth knowledge of politics, policy, and community issues. Your class will meet with representatives of all three branches of government, the advocacy and litigation community, grassroots nonprofit organizations, education institutions, and policy organizations. These seminar discussions will create the context for you to understand and apply more fully the theories of political science: a critical asset for your future involvement in and study of local American politics.

Sample Seminar Topics:

  • Elections and Campaigns: Strategies, Campaign Organizations, and Media
  • Economic and Social Policy
  • The Media: 24/7 News Coverage and Politics
  • The Chief Justice John Roberts Supreme Court
  • How Congress and the White House Really Work
  • Campaign Finance Reform: The Next Step Taxes and the Budget: Can a Balance be Struck?
  • How Well is "No Child Left Behind" Working?
  • Religion and Politics
  • Civil Liberties and Rights
  • Immigration Reform
  • The Influence of Organizations on Policy

The Research Project in Community & Social Change (Optional)

With all of Washington at your fingertips, summer is the perfect time to complete a research project on a topic of your choice. This will not be your typical research paper; you will have access to the leading professionals in your field as you conduct firsthand interviews and collect information directly from the source. Your research topic should reflect what you are passionate about and encourage the critical thinking that will help you become a specialist in your field.

Sample of Previous Research Project Topics:

  • Economic, Political, and Sociocultural Impacts on Communities
  • Community Development
  • Housing
  • Homelessness
  • Public Safety
  • Drugs, Alcohol, and Mental Illness
  • Work and Jobs
  • Health Care
  • Supporting Families
  • Children
  • Education
  • Community Institutions: Faith-based and Secular Nonprofits