Elsie Hillman Civic Forum

Institute of Politics Internship and Seminar

Get Political Experience Working in the Office of an Elected Official

This interdisciplinary program is designed to provide students with an exciting opportunity to work with local, state, and federal elected officials who are involved in the policy-making process for the Pittsburgh region. The students work closely with the official’s office, gaining firsthand knowledge of the political workings and atmosphere of the area that surrounds the University. These experiences are supplemented with a weekly seminar, designed to employ creative learning techniques and discussion to further analyze the public service process.

The Elsie Hillman Civic Forum partners with the Political Science Department and College of General Studies to offer this 4-credit, letter-graded course in both the Fall and Spring Term.

Who may apply for this internship?

The Student Internship and Seminar Program is open to all undergraduate students pursuing any major. Preference is given to juniors and seniors.

How do I apply?

Students apply online and participation is awarded on a competitive basis. Application requirements include: Resume, personal statement, and transcript. 

Fall Term Application Due Date: March 1 

Spring Term Application Due Date: November 1 

Why should I apply to be an Institute of Politics Intern?

The program is designed to further a student’s knowledge of the public service by exploring the role of the participant-observer in a field placement setting, providing a framework for understanding the profile of the Pittsburgh region and the district in which the student is placed, including historical background, economy, and social structure, requiring organizational analysis of the office in which the student is placed, and analyzing of the policy-making process and the various factors that influence decision makers. With this knowledge, students will be able to effectively pursue public service and recognize the importance of being politically active and involved in their communities and the nation.

What will I be doing if I am selected for this internship program?

The students will work closely with the official’s office to respond to constituent inquiries, coordinate events, prepare writing assignments, attend meetings with the elected official, and assist with general day to day office needs. Students commit nine hours per week to their internship training. Students will also convene once a week to analyze the public service process in a classroom seminar through the use of creative teaching techniques such as community bus tours, journaling, and role playing as members of a legislative committee.