School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA)

Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

We encourage our students to gain experience and practical knowledge outside of the classroom by participating in internships. Internships for political science majors may be arranged with area state legislators, congressional district offices, Dayton-area metropolitan governments, and governmental and policy advocacy agencies and organizations in Washington, DC. These internships complement classroom work and give you a chance to apply knowledge and develop valuable interpersonal and career-related skills.

Would you like an opportunity to get more involved in the community and to apply your degree? Our political science internship and volunteer opportunities will do just that.

Did you know?

You can complete a political science internship for three upper-level credits. In your plan of study, you can complete up to two internships for credit (six credits total) that will fulfill your upper-level political science credit requirements. This is a great way to get real-world experience, meet people with similar interests, and meaningfully contribute to the community.

Internship Opportunities

Students spend 12–15 hours per week on site with their supervisor and will have a few assignments connected to the experience (journal, final paper, professionalization seminar, etc.). Most of these opportunities are unpaid, but we do have the occasional paid internship.

A résumé, internship application (PDF), and advance approval of the internship supervisor are required for all internships. Students should reach out to the Political Science internship supervisor at least one month in advance of an academic semester to get everything set up.

Many of these opportunities require interviews.

Internships are available throughout the year.

State Legislative Internship – PLS 4820/6820

Students work for a state legislator in Columbus two days per week.

Opportunities to work with Republican and Democratic members of the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. Tasks include responding to constituent communication, researching policies, and observing legislative and committee sessions.

Pre-Law Internship – PLS 4821/6821

Students intern 12–15 hours per week in regional law offices, including prosecutors, public defenders, and private practices. Assist attorneys, participate in outreach program activities, and observe trials. A great way to explore the legal profession before committing to law school.

Specific opportunities:

  • Dayton City Prosecutor: Opportunities to shadow the attorneys in court and assist with tasks such as complying with discovery demands, etc.
  • Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office: Opportunities to shadow attorneys and meet with clients in the county jail. Help with intake and attorney assignments for clients.
  • United States District Court – Southern District of Ohio: Opportunity to observe the federal court system.
  • Additional legal opportunities – we have had students work in local district courts, other county court systems, special courts like veterans’ and women’s courts, and private attorney’s offices.

Congressional District Internship – PLS 4822/6822

Congressional district interns work two days per week in one of the area’s congressional district local offices to assist staff with constituency casework. Interns report weekly to the faculty instructor and write an assessment of the experience at the end of the assignment.

Specific opportunities:

  • Representative Mike Turner’s Office: This paid internship gives students an opportunity to work in Rep. Turner’s constituent services office. Respond to constituent request and help to complete casework for the representative.

Campaign Internship – PLS 4823/6823

Campaign interns work two days per week as volunteers for the candidate of their choice in a local, state, or federal election. Interns report weekly to the faculty instructor and write an assessment of the experience at the end of the assignment.

Specific opportunities:

  • It is too late to enroll for an internship this term (Fall 2021), so campaigns for elections in fall of 2021 cannot be used for credit (Dayton City Commission and Mayor’s race).

However, you can start volunteering with campaigns and building hours towards internship credit in Spring 2022 (contact internship supervisor).

Other campaign opportunities:

  • Representative Mike Turner (Republican) campaign — could get credit in Spring 2022 for the primary election or Summer/Fall 2022 for general election (pending he is the nominee)
  • Jane Timken (Republican) campaign for U.S. Senate – student could get credit in Spring 2022 for the primary election or Summer/Fall 2022 for general election (pending she is the nominee)
  • Mayor Nan Whaley (Democrat) for governor – student could get credit in Spring 2022 for the primary election or Summer/Fall 2022 for general election (pending she is the nominee)
  • We can reach out to the local parties or specific candidates if you are interested in interning. The above is a list of candidates who have directly reached out.

Local/City Internship – PLS 4824/6824

Local and City interns work 12–15 hours per week in a local governmental office. Jobs include working with city managers, mayors, and other city leaders to meet local needs and help with specific projects.

Specific opportunities:

  • City of Fairborn: This is a paid internship to help Fairborn with their downtown business incubator.
  • Village of Yellow Springs: Opportunity to work on a Climate Action and Sustainability Plan for the village.
  • SOCHE Internships: Internships with the City of Dayton and surrounding area (external application process)

Washington, DC Internship – PLS 4825/6825

There are internships available in Washington, DC for academic credit. Interns write an assessment of the experience at the end of the assignment. For information about an internship in Washington, DC, please check out the following website: The Washington Center.

Political Science Internship (General) – PLS 4819/6819

Internships that do not fit a specific description.

 

Volunteer opportunities

Not enough time for an internship? You can complete these short-term volunteer opportunities based on your own schedule. These opportunities can provide insights that help you figure out what you’re interested in and can also serve as ways to gain experience in the field and connect with other professionals. Throughout the year, we receive numerous requests for student volunteers and possible internship opportunities. We do not endorse any political party or organization.

You can set these up on your own, but we are always willing to help you.

  • City commission races: Scott Sliver and Stacey Benson-Taylor for Dayton City Commission and Jeff Mims for Mayor (all Democrat) are knocking doors in support of their campaign every Saturday (a.m./p.m.) and Sunday (p.m.) if you are interested in getting your feet wet with campaigns.
  • Mike Turner for Congress: Current Representative Mike Turner (Republican) is seeking volunteers to help with his reelection campaign (U.S. House) as well as exploratory committee (U.S. Senate). Typical activities will include phone banking, door-knocking, social media, assisting with lawn signs and campaign literature, and staffing campaign events such as parades or fundraisers. 
  • Local chapters of the Republican and Democratic Party regularly have opportunities to volunteer.
  • Local civic organizations in the area are always looking for volunteers (these could turn into internships too with a larger commitment). Here is a non-exhaustive list of local nonprofits.

 

If you would like to discuss any of these opportunities or if you have another idea or opportunity, contact the Political Science internship supervisor:

Lee Hannah, Ph.D.
937-775-2904
317 Millett Hall

 


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