case western reserve university



Alumna Endows Political Science Internships

For students majoring in political science, a summer internship with a government agency, a Washington think tank, or an advocacy organization can provide direct exposure to the realities of policymaking and the political process. It can also give students an advantage in competing for jobs or admission to graduate school.

Now, thanks to an endowment gift from Elizabeth Michelle Hill '97, political science majors in the College will have enhanced opportunities to become interns. Each summer, four to five students will receive grants of up to $4,000 from the Wellman Hill Political Science Internship Program. The program is named for the donor's grandfather, who devoted his life to government service. Ms. Hill herself graduated from Case Western Reserve with a bachelor's and a master's degree in political science.

The Wellman Hill grants will pay for travel, accommodations, and other costs associated with internships. And, since most internships are unpaid, the grants will help make up for the income students would have earned if they had taken ordinary summer jobs instead.

As part of the new initiative, the political science department will name one of its faculty members as internship coordinator and begin creating lists of internship programs. "We are particularly interested in working with local governments and policy-oriented organizations, and with alumni around the country, to craft internships, paid or unpaid, for our students," says Joseph White, professor and chair of political science.

White notes that prospective students and their parents often ask about internship opportunities. They realize that potential employers and graduate programs are looking for work experience as well as academic achievement. Beyond this, White believes that experiential learning is critical in "rounding out" an undergraduate education in political science. "I think we do pretty well in the classroom," he says. "But I'm really glad that we'll be able to help on the experiential side, thanks to Ms. Hill's generosity."