The University of Alaska’s legislative internship program has received a substantial investment from the Ted Stevens Foundation, which has pledged $157,500 over five years to expand the initiative. The program, which will be renamed the Senator Ted Stevens Legislative Internship Program, is nearly 30 years old and has hosted 300 interns during legislative sessions since inception.
Managed by the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), this non-partisan program affords university students an opportunity to work in state legislative offices during the annual legislative session in Juneau while earning college credits in an Alaska-focused public policy seminar. The Ted Stevens Foundation has pledged $31,500 annually during each of the next five years to support the program. In addition, the Foundation has agreed to match up to an additional $10,500 per year in private contributions to the program from other donors.
"This program honors Senator Ted Stevens’ legacy of bipartisanship, innovation and collaboration,” said UA President Jim Johnsen. “The Foundation’s support allows our students the real world experience of public service, and we are thankful to the Ted Stevens Foundation for its generosity and partnership with the university.”
Karina Waller, executive director of the Ted Stevens Foundation, said “the Foundation’s support of the Senator Ted Stevens Internship Program fosters the Senator’s commitment to education and public service for Alaska’s next generation of leaders.”
During his 40 years in the U.S. Senate, Senator Stevens hosted his own legendary congressional internship program giving hundreds of students from across Alaska an opportunity to engage in the political process in Washington D.C. UAS Professor Glenn Wright, the program’s faculty coordinator, said the university internship program has become an excellent source of future full-time legislative staffers. He estimated that 30 percent of the current staff working in the Alaska State Capitol are former university interns.
“We’re very grateful to the Ted Stevens Foundation for this investment in Alaska’s future leaders,” said UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield. “This support allows us to take the program to a higher level and sustain the Senator’s legacy of public service and his dedication to the professional development of young Alaskans.”