Students in the School of Government & Public Policy interned for over 50,000 hours at nonprofit organizations and government agencies in Tucson, and beyond, this past year.
From internships with the Arizona Superior Court to working with the International Rescue Committee, close to 400 School of Government & Public Policy (SGPP) students each year gain career experience while contributing their knowledge and skills to organizations throughout southern Arizona.
SGPP Director Brint Milward says, “Our students gain a great deal from internships in public and nonprofit organizations. It gives them useful skills and experience and allows them to compare what they have learned in class with what they experience in the workplace.”
Tucson community partners consistently praise the interns. “Your intern exceeded expectations on every project and her work will have a lasting impact on this office,” said Cheryl Lapper with the Pima County Attorney’s Office.
Nikki Skelton, from the International Rescue Committee, commented, “I wanted to thank you for allowing (your student) to work with our organization this past semester. He has been an amazing intern, and I feel both parties benefitted greatly from the time he spent here.”
Peter Le, from the March of Dimes said, “Both interns did an outstanding job for us!”
SGPP undergrads intern at around 200 distinct organizations each year, not only in Tucson, but also in congressional offices in Washington, D.C. and with organizations around the globe, says Internship Coordinator Susan Warren. Developing new community partnerships is key to the success of the SGPP internship program, and a new partnership with agencies in Hermosillo, Sonora will begin this June. The department encourages students to widen their educational experiences and provides travel stipends to help cover costs.
Although some internship programs have their critics, SGPP interns enthusiastically report that they gain important professional experience, new insights into their career plans and begin to develop a network of professional contacts.
Political Science major Jacob Hansen said, “At the beginning of the semester I was dreading the idea that I would commit 12 hours a week of free labor, but now I am absolutely in love with my internship and look forward to the days I have to go in. I realized that this internship has provided valuable experience to help me find a career that I love after I graduation."
Criminal Justice major Anna Hulquist reported, “Being able to work in a criminal justice setting has been a great learning experience because I am able to apply what I have previously learned in my criminal justice courses. This internship experience has been extremely helpful.”
Thanks to a robust internship program, SGPP students graduate from the UA with both the academic knowledge and professional experience necessary to succeed in their careers.
Written by Susan Warren, internship coordinator for the School of Government and Public Policy