Rogers State University has been selected to participate in a nationally recognized internship program that places students with private, public and nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C.
RSU expects to place three to six students in The Washington Center internship program starting in the spring semester.
The Washington Center was founded as an independent, nonprofit organization that provides internship programs and academic seminars to college students from across the country and around the world. The center helps arrange 2,000 to 3,000 internship placements in Washington representing major professional fields in the private, public and nonprofit sector.
Funding for RSU’s participation in the program was provided through a $25,000 legislative appropriation secured by Sen. Stratton Taylor, D-Claremore.
“RSU believes in providing opportunities, like The Washington Center internship program, that allow students to apply their academic lessons outside of the traditional classroom environment,” said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley. “Similar opportunities are available to students from other Oklahoma universities, including the University of Oklahoma, and we are appreciative of Sen. Taylor’s commitment to securing funding for RSU’s involvement.”
Taylor, who participated in The Washington Center internship program as a college student, has first-hand experience regarding the program’s benefits.
“The Washington Center program allows students to meet and interact with influential leaders, as well as other students who share their interests,” he said. “When I was a student at Claremore Junior College (RSU’s predecessor institution), I found my internship at Congressman Jim Jones’ office to be enlightening and invaluable.”
In affiliating with The Washington Center, Rogers State University joins an elite group of public colleges and universities including the University of Washington, University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois, and University of Massachusetts.
Mike Smith, executive vice president of The Washington Center, welcomed RSU’s affiliation with the program.
“Rogers State University is an up-and-coming institution with able, motivated students who will find many opportunities through our program,” Smith said. “It’s also gratifying that one of our distinguished alumni, Stratton Taylor, had an important role in bringing Rogers State University and The Washington Center together.”
The traditional components of The Washington Center’s general internship program include a four- or four-and-a-half-day per week internship, academic coursework, a Congressional Breakfast Series, a Presidential Lecture Series, embassy visit program, small group discussions, professional workshops, internship portfolio development, housing and student life services.
The Washington Center places students in a variety of public, private and non-profit environments. The program provides internships for students from a variety of academic disciplines, not just political science students, said Dr. Carolyn Taylor, RSU assistant professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the university’s faculty liaison for the program.
Students can participate in a broad spectrum of thematically organized specialty programs. As examples, Carolyn Taylor cited justice administration students might be placed with the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or other law enforcement agencies, while biology majors could be placed with the Environmental Protection Agency or a non-profit environmental group.
Each program has professional supervisors who counsel, place, supervise and help evaluate students, as well as organize activities for them during the day or half-day when students are not at their internships.
Students will earn college credit for their participation in the program, which provides a 16-week session during the spring and fall, and a 10-week summer session. Interested RSU students are urged to contact their dean or department head to learn more about the application process.