Did you know that students across the university system can earn college credit while interning in the Alaska Capitol?

October 21, 2022

The Senator Ted Stevens Legislative Internship Program empowers UA students to study and be a part of the legislative process in Juneau. The program draws students from all three universities and many majors to Alaska’s Capitol during the legislative session to work as full-time interns, while completing a rigorous academic program. 

The Internship program is non-partisan and takes place in Juneau during the spring semester. Interns participating in the program work full-time in the office of a state senator or representative. Interns earn academic credit by participating in a weekly policy seminar. 

The application period is now open for the class of 2023, and interested students must submit their application packet by midnight November 1 to be considered for the program.

Since the program began in 1988, more than 450 students have interned in Juneau. Graduates include Val Davidson, former Lieutenant Governor and current President/CEO of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and U.S. Representative Mary Peltola, who interned before she served in the Alaska State Legislature.

The internship is sponsored through a partnership with the Ted Stevens Foundation. During his four decades representing Alaska in the U.S. Senate, Senator Stevens hosted countless students from across the state as interns in Washington D.C. His office served as a learning laboratory for young Alaskans, teaching them to work collaboratively and develop solutions on issues important to Alaska.

Legislative internships are life changing experiences. Working in the capitol gives students a front row seat to the legislative process. Around 20% of current legislative staff are graduates of this program. Roughly 40% of past participants have gone on to be professional staff for the Alaska Legislature. Many alumni work in federal, state, or local government agencies. Some even became legislators themselves! 

Typically, interns work as regular, full-time staff and participate in all the responsibilities of full-time legislative staffers, including tracking and moving legislation, communicating with constituents, and meeting with lobbyists and other legislative staff. It is not uncommon for interns to draft and manage legislation which is ultimately signed into law. Interns also testify on legislation in formal hearings, and engage in constituent service and outreach. The legislative component of the internship is a demanding experience

Credit options include a Science Policy experience for students in the Natural Sciences awarded through UAS’ Environmental Studies program, or for Alaska Native Studies through UAS’ ANS program. More typically, students receive their internship credits in Political Science. There is also a graduate option delivered through UAS’ Public Administration program. Students receive a stipend for participation in the program; as of this year, that increased to $6500.

To learn more about the program visit the Ted Steven Legislative Internship site.