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College of Agriculture Transformational Experiences

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CATE Issues in Agriculture

Public Policy Internships - Washington, D.C.

Since 2005, the College of Agriculture Public Policy Washington D.C. Summer Internship Program has been sending students to Washington D.C., to learn about agriculture policy, obtain professional work experience, and network in their field of interest.

The program selects up to five outstanding undergraduates (rising juniors or seniors) from any major in the College of Agriculture to spend eight weeks in Washington, D.C.  Our nation's capital is one of the most energetic cities in the nation and COA interns have the once-in-a-lifetime experience to live and work there for an entire summer!  Students intern in paid or unpaid internship placements that reflect their specific areas of academic or career interests.  Internship opportunities abound in our nation’s capital.  From congressional internships on Capitol Hill to positions with think tanks, international affairs associations, nonprofit organizations, and advocacy groups, there is truly something for everyone.

Past interns have secured internships in the following entities: The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Congressional Research Services, USDA ARS, USDA NRCS, USDA SEL, Smithsonian Institution, USDA APHIS, EPA, on Capitol Hill, Senate Ag Committee, World Bank, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council (IPC), Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Society for Plastics Manufacturing, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), The Pinchot Institute for Conservation, National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), American Farm Bureau Federation, Corn Refiners Association and Animal Agriculture Alliance.  Program alumni have represented Purdue University and the College of Agriculture in the highest regard, providing a distinguished presence in Washington D.C.

Included in the eight-week program are FREE housing accommodations valued at $5,000 in the center of Washington, D.C. at George Washington University - Foggy Bottom campus.  Program participants also receive a $2,000 stipend to offset miscellaneous expenses during their time in D.C.

The COA public policy internship program offers an academic component providing academic credit towards a student’s plan of study.  During the following fall semester, students enroll in an independent study (1-3 credits) with a faculty member to convert their internship experience into an academic project.

The Washington D.C. Internship Program participants emerge from their memorable internship experience with soft skill sets that will distinguish them from their peers.  COA interns are transformed personally and professionally after participating in this program.  Program alumni have gone on to become highly successful in their chosen field with many going on to graduate and professional schools.

Dig Deeper

Morgan Winder

I have a lot more autonomy to take initiative on tasks, hearings, briefings and tours in the congressional office.  It’s been an immersive experience and I really enjoy the type of work I am doing.  I enjoy that every day I’m diving into a new subject to learn as much as I can in order to report to the Legislative Assistants. The best office-related task so far was attending a USDA briefing on crop insurance and reporting back to the legislative director.

- Morgan Winder – Congressional Intern, Office of Congressman Jim Baird

Photo with U.S. Congressman Jim Baird (IN-4)

Morgan Winder

Josephine “Jo” Cameron

My time in D.C. has sparked many questions, thoughts, and interesting conversations.  I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing people on a multitude of projects.  I also gained knowledge in subject areas that most Midwestern, farm girls probably never would.  I have a new appreciation for the cocoa and coffee sectors.  Learning about new agricultural value chains has been my favorite part of this experience. I have been able to learn about paths that take a nontraditional route to policy.

- Josephine “Jo” Cameron – Pathways Student Economist Intern, USDA – Foreign Ag Service

Jo Cameron