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       Political Science Intern Program
                     PLS 290
               Supervised Study

             Professor Jill McKee
                 Web Page:


Political Science Intern Program
PLS 290
Supervised Study – 3 credits

Humanities Department
Loudoun Campus

Professor Jill McKee, Political Science
Web Page:

Some Placements Where NOVA Students Intern on Capitol Hill:

      Senator James Webb
      Senator Mark Warner
      Senator Jon Kyl
      Congressman Frank Wolf
      Congressman Gerry Connolly
      Congressman Morgan Griffith
      Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard
      Congressman Eric Cantor
      Governor Bobby Jindal
      Virginia Governor’s Liaison Office
      National Governor’s Association
      Senate Republican Policy Committee
      U.S. Geological Survey
      Presidential Campaigns
Some Places Where NOVA Students Intern Locally:

      Fairfax County Supervisor
      Loudoun County Supervisor
      Loudoun County Government
      Loudoun Parks, Recreation and Community Services
      George C. Marshall International Center – “Dodona Manor”
      Loudoun County School Board
      The Connection Newspapers
      H. Ross Perot Systems
       Fairfax County Bar Association
       AOL America On-Line
       Loudoun County Social Services
       Loudoun County Comptroller’s Office
       Loudoun County Building and Development
       Loudoun County Sheriff
       Loudoun County Mental Health

Explore the excitement of politics and service in the world’s most powerful city,
Washington, D.C. NOVA offers an exceptional experience in the nation’s capital.
Placements foster growth in professional development and leadership
opportunities. Participate in Washington’s places of power, nationally or locally.
        Real-World Opportunities

  How to Apply:

  Application available at:
 Intern application in this packet of material

  Questions about Intern Program:

 Professor Jill McKee, Political Science
United States Senator Jon Kyle

           United States Senator Jim Webb

United States Senator Mark Warner

 Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell
Congressman Frank Wolf

Congressman Eric Cantor

Congressman Gerry Connally
Capitol Hill Intern Placements          Rotunda – U. S. Capitol

Local Intern Placements   George C. Marshall International Center “Dodona Manor”


                      Northern Virginia Community College
                               Intern Application
                                    PLS 290


____________________________________________________________    ________________
Last                     First                  Middle           EMPLID ID


Street                                                     Apartment #

City                                            State               Zip Code

Contact Information

Home Phone ______________________ Cell Phone _______________________

Work Phone _______________________ Other Phone _____________________

Educational Background

_______ Semester Hours Completed        _______ Hours This Semester

_______ GPA (approximate)      _______________________ Major or Area of Interest

Special Skills

What Languages Do You Speak ________________________________________________

Are You Fluent? (Read, Write, Speak) __________________________________________
Computer Skills __________________________________________________________________

Office Skills_______________________________________________________________________

Docent Work ______________________________________________________________________

Sales Experience _________________________________________________________________

Other ______________________________________________________________________________

Activities – Extracurricular/Sports/Volunteer (High School/College)

Awards and Honors

Political Organizations and/or Activities

Areas of Interest

Are You Considering

Capitol Hill Placement ________________ Local Placement ________________________

Do you have a specific placement of interest? __________________________________

For placement purposes, are you: Democrat _________ Republican ____________

                                     Liberal ____________ Conservative ___________

              Register for the course – PLS 290 Supervised Study
   Please return to: Professor Jill McKee jmckee@nvcc.edu



                               INTERNSHIP AGREEMENT
As an intern I understand that there are several requirements and deadlines that are
necessary to successfully complete in order to receive a passing grade for the experience.
Those requirements are:

1. Complete an internship Application Packet and Assumption of Risk Waiver.

2. Register for the course, PLS 290 – Supervised Study (3 credits).

3. Keep in touch with your instructor throughout the placement process regarding any contact
you may have with a placement including telephone calls; interviews, etc. (call anytime you
have contact with your placement including results of interviews).

4. Complete your First Assignment prior to your start date.

5. Meet for the prerequisite number of hours at/with the internship site.

6. Complete a Daily Journal entry for each period of work.

7. Provide your instructor with assigned Memorandums due on the assigned dates. Each of
these should capture the relevance of the experience up to that particular point. Each should
be submitted in the proper format (see sample).

8. Complete a Research Paper that is typed, 12 point font, double spaced and in good
grammatical order. This paper must be at least 3 to 5 pages in length.

9. Complete a Thank You Letter to your contact with a copy to your instructor. This should be in
a business style, typed.

10. Present your intern coordinator with your Student Evaluation Form to be filled out and
returned to your instructor. Also complete and return your Student Self-Evaluation Form.

I have read the above and I am familiar with all program requirements. I will fulfill each and
every requirement in a professional manner and to the best of my responsibilities.

___________________________________                             _____________

Student Intern Signature                                              Date
                          Northern Virginia Community College


        Student participation in the Political Science Internship – PLS 290 – Supervised Study
(the activity) is entirely voluntary, and students may withdraw from the activity at any time. In
determining whether you will participate in the activity, you should be aware that the college
cannot undertake financial responsibility for you in the event that you are injured while
participating in the activity.

        In consideration of the College’s permitting your participation in the activity, you must
agree to assume the risks known to be inherent in the activity, as well as any unforeseeable
risks. The known risks inherent in the activity are:


       As in the case with many other activities in which you may engage, you should
determine whether you or your family have health insurance in effect to adequately cover you
should you be injured while participating in this activity.

        I have read and understand the foregoing explanation of the risk inherent in the
voluntary activity. I am at least eighteen years of age, and it is my decision to participate in the
activity, if accepted by the college. I hereby accept the risk of injury to me as a result of
participating, and, as further consideration for its permitting me to participate, I hereby release
the College from any and all claims which I may have against it for loss or damage to property
resulting from my activity.

Date: __________________________            Student Signature____________________________

                                    Printed Name of Student ____________________________


                                                                    Parent/Legal Guardian



          “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.”
Interns dress in business attire – conservative dress.

   •   Business attire includes business suits or skirts. You may pair the skirt with a blouse,
       sweater, or jacket. Skirt s must be a conservative length. Slack outfits should be
       professional looking. Always wear stockings with skirts. Appropriate footwear includes
       pumps or flat shoes, No spiked heels.

   •   Conservative hairstyles also fall under appropriate attire. No streaking, odd colors, or
       strange hair styles.

   •   Conservative jewelry, (you shouldn’t wear much jewelry). No additional visible piercings
       other than pierced ears (only wear one pierced earring per ear).


   •   Business suit or sport jacket of conservative style and color, dark dress slacks, collared
       dress shirt and conservative tie.

   •   Wear dress shoes, dark socks, and a belt.

   •   Men MUST have short, conservative haircuts. Must be clean shaven.

   •   Under no circumstances are tattoos and piercings visible.
Examples of Appropriate Dress

      Check Dress Code with Supervisor


   • Contact Professor McKee regarding all information about your
     placement process.
          • Send a confirmation email to Professor McKee
            (jmckee@nvcc.edu) when you accept a placement, and
            please include start date, days interning each week, name of
            intern coordinator, and all contact information for office in
            which you intern.
      You must register for the course PLS 290 – Supervised Study
      •      Feel free to call regarding any questions or concerns:

Remember: The most important part of the Intern process is communication
with your instructor. Should problems or concerns arise, your instructor needs to
be the first to know about any difficulty in order to address them with the
Please read your intern packet of information and comply with all guidelines and
          • Make sure you understand the Intern PLS 290 Course Syllabus and
            Course Calendar. It is your responsibility to meet all assigned
          • Download copies of the PLS 290 Intern Orientation Packet, Course
            Syllabus and Course Calendar from the instructor’s web page:


Many offices may interview you by phone. Make sure you are professional, as if it
were an interview in person. Be upbeat, knowledgeable, and show energy.

Keep contact information clear and precise – it must be easy for them to contact
you directly.
Writing sample: The writing sample is extremely important! How you write is
important, no errors, etc., however, what you write is also important. They look
   • Reasons you want to intern.
   • Why this makes a difference in your life.
   • Well- rounded students.
   • You may consider including something you’ve struggled with and
     conquered or overcome.
   • If you have lived in another part of the state, include that information.
   • They want to know about you, what makes you who you are. Add
     something that makes it personal. What makes you unique?

Follow Up

   • You will continue to follow up on your initial email by telephoning your
     contact. Just leaving call back messages will not get you an interview. These
     are very busy people. Don’t take their inattention personally – you must do
     the pursuing.

   • The rule is to always be courteous, but persistent.

   • Speak in a confident manner, friendly and upbeat. You want to project

    Do your homework. Before interviewing with a placement, go to their
     website to learn as much as you can about what they do, events they
     sponsor, and areas of interest. Determine what you find interesting about
     the office or placement.
    You have to sell yourself as a hard worker, willing to learn, and thrilled to
     have such an opportunity.


   • Always call me 703-759-2322. I need to know what happens at each step of
     your journey. If you make a contact and get an interview, call. After you
     have the interview, call me. If you have questions, call me. I need to know
     where you are in the process at all times in order to help you secure the
     internship position.
What to Do After You Send Your Resume:
You may begin calling the contact person in congressional offices as follow up to
them receiving your resume. Ask for them by name and offer to come in for an
interview. Your goal is to meet them.
    Remember to dress in business attire - very conservative dress.
    You will continue to follow up on these phone calls; just leaving a call back
     message will not get you an interview.
    Very busy people need pursuing - don't take it personally.
    Always be courteous, but persistent.
Remember – Always communicate with your instructor.
Knowing where you are in the placement process allows your instructor to help


                           Procedures for Placement

    Complete Intern Application and Submit to Professor McKee
    Register for the course – PLS 290 Supervised Study (under Loudoun Political
    Read all Intern materials – Review how to complete each requirement
    Complete a resume
    Complete Personal Statement/Writing Sample
    Complete Congressional On-Line Application if congressional office requires
     it (Found on Member’s Web Page)
    Cover Letter (email)
    Sign Internship Agreement
    Sign Assumption of Risk Certificate
    Deliver all forms to Professor McKee
    Email Cover Letter and attach resume to all intern placements suggested by
     Professor McKee (Do as soon as you have contact information)
    Immediately Email or call Professor McKee when you hear from a
     placement, obtain an interview, or are placed at an intern site

Professor Jill McKee Contact Information:

Email – jmckee@nvcc.edu

Phone – 703-759-2322 (If you leave a message, speak clearly, repeat phone
number where you can be reached).

Congratulations! You are embarking on a wonderful journey; I am here
                            to help you.
                       RESUME WRITING TIPS

            Limit to one page. You do not have to state everything you have done on a
             resume, but everything you state must be true.
            Determine the type of layout that works best for your experience. You may use
             bolding to emphasize key skills and accomplishments.
            Tailor your resume to convey your abilities.
            Maintain a consistent writing style.
            Never use "I" or "my."
            You may use complete or fragmented sentences as long as the meaning is clear
             and style is consistent.
            Start each description with an action word. Use present tense verbs when
             referring to current activities. Use past tense verbs when referring to past
             activities. (See Action Word List)
            Emphasize outcome, accomplishments and breadth of responsibility.
            Be concise and clear in your descriptions. Do not try to impress employers with
             the use of complicated or confusing words.
            Make sure there are no typing, spelling or grammar errors.
            Do not use contractions and make sure you define abbreviations or acronyms.
            Be consistent. For example, if your headings are in bold type, all headings should
             be in bold. Each entry should follow a uniform format.
            Spell check, but remember that spell check does not catch everything. Have
             someone proofread your resume.
            Choose a font that is easy to read: Palatino or Times, no larger than 14 point and
             no smaller than 10 point.
            A cover letter should be attached to your resume.
            Print final copies of your resume on quality paper. Use the same color and type
             of paper for resume, cover letter and envelope. Make sure the paper
             photocopies well.

Seek advice from the Writing Center for suggested improvements in wording, layout and style.
Students requiring assistance with a writing assignment should contact the Writing Center.
Their office is LR 250. Telephone 703-450-2511. For further information see
http://loudoun.nvcc.edu/wc. Appointments are required.
Sample Resume

                                         Robert Smith
                                         Email Address
                             Home Address: Street, City, State, Zip Code

                                Telephone Numbers (Home and Cell)

  Northern Virginia Community College – Loudoun Campus, Sterling, VA
  Degree, Major or area of interest
  Cumulative GPA – only list if 3.0 or higher
  Optional: relevant coursework, foreign study programs.


                List experiences as follows: Job title, employer, location (city, state) and the
                 dates. The order of the job title and the employer depends on how you want to
                 present yourself. De-emphasize dates, months may or may not be relevant.
                You may choose to put either the job title or employer name first. You should
                 decide which is more important - where you worked or what you did. May
                 include full-time, part-time, related volunteer work or relevant campus activities.
                        Use actions words and adjectives to describe the skills you have
                 developed and applied. Cite your specific responsibilities and accomplishments
                 for each position.
          Computer: Even if it is only word processing skills, list familiarity with computer systems,
          applications and programs. If you don't have it, they assume you don't know it.

          Language: State degree of proficiency in reading, writing and speaking.


          List academic, leadership and athletic honors. If you only have academic awards you can
          list them under your GPA in the Education section.


          Include leadership positions, such as offices held and responsibilities. You do not need
          to include everything you have done, be selective in your listing.
                                    Cover Letter Tips
Your cover letter is in the form of an email to your contact at the placement. Attach your
resume to this cover email.

When writing your cover letter (and resume), keep in mind that the receiver is only interested
in the facts. Your cover letter should be brief, to the point, well written, and NO spelling or
grammatical errors; it is not an autobiography. The purpose of the cover letter and resume
should be one thing – to demonstrate that you meet or exceed the requirements for the
placement. More importantly, you should show obvious interest in the position.

Your cover letter is NOT a summary of your resume. It should be your introduction to the Intern
Coordinator and an argument for why you are the best candidate for the position.

Avoid clichés in your cover letter. Every candidate promises "excellent written and verbal
communication skills", and the ability to "think outside the box" and "juggle multiple tasks".
The point here is to be different and stand out. The goal is to demonstrate your written
communication skills by writing a good cover letter.

Personalize your cover letter. It should be addressed to a specific person.

How to Begin the Placement Process:
   • Professor McKee will provide information about the intern sites for which you qualify.
   • Email your resume and writing sample with a gracious cover letter of introduction.
       Please mention that you are a part of NOVA’s Intern Program and you may mention
       your instructor’s name as contact. (Professor Jill McKee – jmckee@nvcc.edu).

Cover note:
           Introduce yourself

           Tell them WHY you are writing

           What documents you are attaching

           How you can be reached

           Requesting an interview, you would like to know when it would be convenient to
           come in for an interview. (This is your goal!) You want to meet them. Thank them
           for their consideration.

           Many offices may interview you over the phone; make sure to be professional.
           Keep contact information clear and precise – it must be easy for them to contact
           you directly.
                           Personal Statement/Writing Sample

The writing sample is extremely important! How you write is important, no errors, proofread
carefully. What you write is also important. They look for:

   •   Reason you want to intern

   •   Why this makes a difference in your life

   •   They look for well- rounded students

   •   You might consider including something you’ve struggled with and conquered or

   •   If you have lived in another part of the state, include that information

   •   They want to know about you, what makes you who you are. Add something that makes
       it personal. What makes you unique?

IMPORTANT – Many Senators and Congressmen personally read the personal statements.

In about 250 words, describe how family, community; civic involvement, or your educational
experience may have influenced you to apply for the internship program.

Suggestions of what you might discuss in your application essay:

      Your interest in politics (or local government if being placed locally) or in whatever fields
       you desire placement.
      Affords you a unique opportunity as a learning experience.
      Discuss your values or beliefs and how important they are to you
      Who or what has inspired you; many interns speak of their family and what it has
      How you feel about your education; activities or organizations which have shaped you
      How you feel you could contribute as an intern

These are just a few ideas you may consider when writing your essay. Don't feel that you have
to discuss each one of these points. They want to know what is important to you and why. This
gives them insight into who you are and what sets you apart from other applicants.

Seek advice from the Writing Center for suggested improvements in wording, layout and
style. Students requiring assistance with a writing assignment should contact the Writing
Center. Their office is LR 250. Telephone 703-450-2511. For further information see
http://loudoun.nvcc.edu/wc. Appointments are required.
                                     Your Goal

You will continue to follow up on your initial email by telephoning your contact.
Following up is what gets you the intern placement. Your goal is to get an
interview, either in person, or by telephone. Don’t rely on leaving messages to call
back—they won’t.

The rule is to always be courteous, but persistent.

Speak in a confident manner, friendly and upbeat. You want to project energy.

                             Preparing for Interviews

Do your homework. If you are interviewing with a Capitol Hill office, go to their
website to learn what committee assignments they have, issues and legislation
they currently pursue, media coverage, hearings scheduled, and interests the
Congressman or Senator has.

Be ready to discuss what you find interesting about the office.

You have to sell yourself as hard worker, willing to learn, and thrilled to have such
an opportunity.

Be genuine. A little awe and wonder are appropriate.

For those doing local government or community placements, visit the site’s
webpage to learn as much as possible about what they do and how they connect
to the community.
                             Political Science Internship
PLS 290 -01 Supervised Study - 3 Credits              Professor Jill McKee

Email: JmcKee@NVCC.edu

Webpage: http://loudoun.nvcc.edu/home/kmckee

                                    Course Calendar
NOTE: All assignments are due the first week of each month.

                   January                  Classes begin.
                                            First assignment due BEFORE reporting first
                                            Interns report to assigned placements this
                                            week on assigned day
                  February                  First Memorandum Due.
                                            Follow proper format (See Sample
                                            Memorandum) NO EXCEPTIONS!
                   March                    Second Memorandum Due.

                                            SPRING BREAK – No classes. It is not
                                            mandatory that you report to your intern
                                            office; however, many do. Notify your Intern
                                            Coordinator about your intentions to report.
                    April                   Third Memorandum Due.

                                            Third week:
                                            Give your Intern Coordinator the Contact
                                            Evaluation Form. Have them return
                                            completed confidential form to instructor.

                    May                     Final Papers due.
                                            You are required to write a formal Thank You
                                            letter to your Intern Coordinator and anyone
                                            else in the office you feel should receive such
                                            a letter. A copy of this letter must be
                                            submitted to instructor.

                                            Classes and Examinations End.
Assignments are due the date indicated.
How to Submit
       Assignments may be turned in at the Humanities Division office, Room R- 304. Check
        for times office is open. Office assistant will place them in my mailbox. The Humanities
        Division office personnel must initial and indicate date and time assignment is turned in.
        If no one is available in the Humanities Office, please have someone on the library staff
        initial and date with time noted. You may use any available staff member.
       Interns may also email assignments to jmckee@nvcc.edu

Failure to turn in an assignment on the required date results in a
grade reduction.
Course syllabus information and calendar are subject to change in the event of extenuating


For Capitol Hill Interns:
Congressional Intern Handbook: A Guide for Interns and Newcomers to Capitol Hill.
  Congressional Management Foundation, 5th Edition, 2006.

Insider’s Guide to Research on Capitol Hill. Congressional Management Foundation, 5th Edition,
Optional Text:
Plano, Jack. C. and Milton Greenberg. The American Political Dictionary. Latest Edition,
This text will prove invaluable in defining the many new terms, laws, democratic principles and
constitutional cases you may encounter while working in your intern position. All items are
indexed and cross referenced and each definition includes the political significance of each
Required Purchase – All Interns: Small notebook to record incites, events, questions, etc.—this
will be valuable when you write your Final Paper.

Course Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this course is to give the student the opportunity for an off-site learning
experience which can increase a student’s knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the
relationship between theory and practice. This internship gives the student a professional job
experience, and may even open career opportunities. It exposes interns to a congressional
office and the legislative process. You will find that each office has its unique qualities.
Congressional Intern Program

Your congressional intern experience will be one you will value for the rest of your life. What
you gain from this opportunity depends mostly on you. You must be a good, reliable, hard
worker. You will also need to take the initiative in asking to help and know the right time to
approach the staff on these matters. These are busy people. You cannot sit back and wait for
them to recognize that you are able to take on more responsibility.

However, you must realize you are not a policy make. Sometimes offices are very busy and they
have little time for you. Take the opportunity to observe the legislative process, track the bill
they are working on, go to a hearing, help in any way you can.


Purchase a small notebook that you can carry with you at all times, or use an electronic device
such as a Blackberry, to record things you have to remember, assignments from staff, or
questions you need answered at a more appropriate time, You will be expected to use these
notes throughout the semester for your Memorandums and Final Paper.

Contact Report

These are sample questions your instructor will ask your Intern Coordinator about your intern

   1. Did the intern report on time each day as required?

   2. What is your assessment of the interns work habits?

   3. Did the intern get along with the rest of the staff?

   4. Was the intern dedicated? Did the intern take advantage of the opportunity available?

   5. Did the intern go above and beyond, ask to do things?

   6. Would you have the intern back?
Intern Placement

             Be on time, no excuses and work every minute required.
             You are not to take off any time during this PLS 290 course without consulting
              with your instructor.
             You instructor is responsible for your work in this course, not your intern
             If you are unable to be at the intern site for any reason, you must contact your
              instructor and your contact at the intern site.
             If problems of any nature arise at the intern placement, you must notify you
              instructor immediately.
             Your instructor needs to know the nature of the problem BEFORE the Intern
              Coordinator contacts your instructor.

Course Work

             All assignments are due on date indicated on syllabus.
             When turning in assignments as a hard copy, make sure each is initialed and
              dated by someone in the office, or other staff member.
             If submitting assignments via email, you will receive your grade via email.
             Late papers will be graded more harshly.
             You are responsible for picking up completed work that has been graded from
              instructor’s mailbox if you submitted a hard copy. This should be done in a timely
              manner. Failure to do so reflects poorly on your attitude in this course.
Before Reporting to Placement

              Read a daily newspaper and a weekly news magazine, and/or locate Internet
               sources, and a variety of news programs.
              All placements will require writing skills. Please review Writing Notes in this
              If you are placed in local offices, you should read local news and sources
              Be aware of all issues your office is handling.
              Your work must be professional and of the highest quality.

  The manner in which you present yourself will determine whether
your office will accept NOVA interns next year. NOVA interns and this
  intern program are highly regarded. Keep the tradition. Strive for
First Assignment: Due before your first report date, word-processed to include the following

       1. Know when, where, and to whom you will report
       2. Your congressmen’s or senator’s committees and subcommittees.
       3. Your member’s major legislative interests and initiatives.
       4. Your member’s major legislative interests and initiatives.
       5. Latest bills introduced.
       6. Past accomplishments.
       7. Recent press coverage.
       8. What major issues will this next congressional session be addressing.


Memorandum: three are required, one per month. These are to be typed, single spaced and in
proper memorandum format. These memos are to be substantive, not just a chronicle of daily
activities. All due dates are on course calendar.

All memos will be submitted in the Sample Memorandum format in your packet of materials.

Final Paper: 3-5 typewritten, double spaced pages. Topic: “What could this experience mean
to my future?” You will be expected to use a number of examples from your notebook and use
critical thinking to assess your experiences. Due date on course calendar.

Thank You Letter: This should be a business-style thank you letter, typed and addressed to
your contact. Intern may mention their experiences, what this opportunity has meant, and how
grateful you are for this opportunity. Submit a copy to your instructor.

Contact Report: your contact on Capitol Hill will assess your conduct and work habits during
your internship. Please see separate handout as to criteria for this portion of your grade.
Grading Scale for Assignments
A   100 -90

B   89 - 80

C   79 - 70

D    69 - 60

F    59 - 0

Assignments and Total Points for Course
First Assignment                          50 points
Memorandums (3 required)                  50 points each/150 Total
Thank You Letter                          50 points
Self-Evaluation                            50 points
Final Paper                               100 points
Contact Evaluation                        100 points

Total Points for Course                   500 points
                                   Orientation Notes
        Internships on Capitol Hill (Much of this information applies to any intern site)

What You Can Expect:

            Making the most of this experience depends entirely on you
            You can look at everything asked of you as an opportunity, or you can just act
            Be realistic, you are not a policy maker, you will not become a congressman’s
             right hand man, you are an INTERN
            You should present yourself realistically. Work to the best of your ability and
             don’t tell people you have capabilities beyond those you actually possess
            Keep your eyes and ears open to learning all you can
            “Soak-Up” the entire Hill Experience
            Try to explore different places each day
            Make the most of your time as an intern
            This is an experience you should not forget
            It’s like the first day of school – you can get lost
            Be patient - there is a great deal to learn and it’s up to you to learn it
            There will be surprises
            There will be things you can’t do – Ask someone to help you
            Be responsible, be resourceful
            Only ask questions when necessary, only ask once. People are busy, they do not
            Be flexible
            Even minimal tasks are important - A “can do” attitude and good work will lead
             to more opportunity.
Getting Organized
          Report to contact and request a copy of Congressional Internship Hand Book and
           read it thoroughly.
          Read course texts and materials.
          Ask for a staff list if they have one and learn the names.
          Use your notebook to help you take notes and learn things quickly.
          There is a CRS Orientation that you may be able to attend. (Usually at the Library
           of Congress).
          Learn the rules, don’t ask questions twice and don’t ask questions at all during
           pressure times in the office. Look things up.
          They will issue proper ID – DON’T LOSE IT.
          Observe whether this is a quiet office or a more conversational one. In either
           case, fit in. Figure out lunch practices.
          Try to anticipate when you are needed.
          Keep work area clean.
          Stay professional, it is appreciated and expected. It will allow you to do more.
          Learn your way around Capitol Hill (See maps in Intern Packet)
Adapting To Your Office
     Every office is autonomous, don’t think you can compare rules between offices, they all
      operate differently.
     Know your working hours, dress code, what you call a member, how you greet a guest.
     Always use courtesy and integrity. Know office phone etiquette and procedures.
     Confidentiality is paramount

Office Functions
            Learn how to use all devices in the office – it is very crucial you do it right. Offices
             are sensitive about these things.
            All offices guard privacy.
            Learn the Bell System (actually a system of electric lights and bells)
            Know that thousands have gone before you—be confident. You can do this.

Security and Safety
            Watch yourself and your surroundings. Don’t be careless.
            Capitol Hill policemen are great. If you are concerned about a security issue,
             discuss this with your contact (Capitol Hill police are happy to escort you).
            Use obvious precautions - Never walk, wait alone.
                                   Important Reminder

While you are working at your placement, your cell phone and any and all personal electronic
devices should be turned off and NEVER accessed during the course of your work day.

In congressional placements it is a matter of confidentiality. In all professional business settings,
it is discourteous and unprofessional to use these in the office environment.

Remember, what you do and how you work at your intern placement reflects on this program,
and your good work opens the door for another intern who will follow you from our school.
                                   Sample Memorandum
To: Professor Jill McKee

From: Your name                           (Initial in your handwriting)

Date: (First Week of Each Month)

RE: Subject of your memorandum

       INDENT and begin your topic. You should choose something substantive to discuss

       All assignments must be word-processed – single-spaced and use a business 12-point
font. Use one inch margins.

       Your memorandum should focus on a piece of legislation that you have been following
or working on, interesting comments regarding what you find in the mail, special newsworthy
event, or other topic which relates to what you are doing in your office. LOCAL PLACEMENTS
choose a similar topic of substance.

       This is NOT about feelings. This is about what you do at your placement and what you
have learned from the experience. You are to treat these assignments as if you are writing to
your professor about work you have been assigned.

       Always use critical thinking skills. You may include anecdotes about your experiences
with staff. Use excerpts from your notebook notes.

       A good memorandum should be one page. It is much more difficult to write a succinct
page loaded with information than it is to write three pages that you don’t edit. There should
NEVER be spelling or grammatical errors in professional communication. Proofread your work.

        REMEMBER- a memorandum is never signed, just initialed beside your name at the top
of the page.
                                      Local Placements
County Offices

These are the largest territorial units between a state and a city or town. Numbering more than
three thousand, county governments are especially important in rural areas where people do
not live in incorporated cities or towns.

An elected board of county supervisors or commissioners governs most with a separately
elected sheriff, county clerk, coroner, prosecutor or (District Attorney) and various other

A few counties, especially those with a large, urbanized population, also elect a county
executive who functions much like a mayor of a city, and some appoint a professional county
administrator who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the county and administrative

The NOVA Intern Program places in all of these types of offices in both Fairfax and Loudoun

Board of Supervisors

This is the governing body of the county. The board is comprised of a number of supervisors
who are elected by the voters of the county. The board administers state law in the county,
levies taxes, appoints numerous officials, and supervises the general affairs of the county.

These boards are significant because they are the political power in a county. The growing
importance of the county in urban areas has added to the power and influence of these boards,

Some say that these boards aren’t as effective as they should be because they do not have
adequate power to meet their responsibilities and so people advocate for a county manager or
an elected executive. They feel by doing this, one person will have full responsibility for the
county. Boards are also problematic due to their limited exercise of control in many areas.

This is the chief elected official of the township (called Trustee in some states). The supervisor
has overall responsibility for the governing of the township, presides over the board, and may
represent the township on the county and state levels.


This is one of the primary functions of these offices. The American public has been slow to
embrace the need for planning, viewing it as an intrusion of government into private lives.
However, the need for some planning is generally recognized. This is never a politically neutral
exercise. This planning usually involves street layouts, parks, public utility routes, zoning and
other governmental problems.

                              Other Local Placement Opportunities

Every intern semester we place students in historic settings such as The George C. Marshall
International Center, “Dodona Manor,” Sully Plantation, and others.

There are many opportunities for students to intern in local placements. A few of these have
included the Fairfax and Loudoun County school boards, Cox media, local newspapers and radio
stations, Fairfax County Bar Association, and Loudoun County Sheriff.

The program will work with a student to develop an intern opportunity in any area of interest.

    Should you begin to feel over confident, it may interest you to know college
                graduates are often receptionists on Capitol Hill.


              Final Paper - Writing a Thesis Statement - Arguing a Point
   1. All thesis statements are really arguments. In an essay you are advancing and supporting
      a point of view.
   2. Argument is about persuading a reader to take a side on an issue.
   3. An argument is an organized series of facts and material to support a point of view.
   4. Arguments support opinions.
   5. Arguments are not right or wrong, but graded on the basis of being well or poorly
   6. A well-written argument essay should use clear, logical reasoning to persuade.
   7. Argument should always focus on facts, not emotions.

Note that your reader will be perfectly capable of generating reasons to support the side
       opposite the side you take.

You need to anticipate and defuse opposing arguments.

Steps to Writing a Thesis Statement

   1. Choose a topic of interest.
   2. Focus your topic on a specific point or aspect of the issue of interest that you feel you
      can support.
   3. A method of narrowing a topic is to define your terms.
   4. List reasons in support of your thesis.
   5. List reasons in opposition to your thesis.
   6. Group the reasons by issue details or subject areas.
   7. Organize the issue details.
   8. Save the most powerful issue/argument as your last point.

This step-by-step process will help you write a strong, focused thesis statement.

More information on argument: Hacker, Diana. Rules for Writers. Boston: Bedford/St.
Martin’s, 2008.


                        Student Internship Self-Evaluation Form
                           (Please Return to Your Instructor)

Full Name _____________________________________           Date _________________________

Intern Placement _____________________________ Intern Coordinator__________________

Approximate Number of Hours in Placement to Date ___________________________________

Did you experience any problems in the internship? Please be specific.____________________

Do you have concerns about this placement?

Have you discussed these with your intern coordinator? ________________________________

What was the best part of your internship? __________________________________________

What was the worst part of your internship? _________________________________________

What would you change about this experience? _______________________________________

How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the internship experience?

(High)              1           2            3           4           5             (Low)

In relation to what is expected of you by your intern placement, how would you rate your
overall performance?

(High)              1           2            3           4            5            (Low)


                                For Intern Coordinator

Thank you for your time and commitment in mentoring a NOVA student intern.
You have helped foster knowledge, professional motivation, and self-confidence
assisting our students in reaching individual goals for future success.

We value your incites and evaluation of this student’s experience. When
completed, please return to: Professor Jill McKee, Humanities Division, Northern
Virginia Community College, 1000 Harry Flood Byrd Highway, Sterling, VA 20164

This evaluation may also be completed on-line at Instructor’s Web Site:

Political Science Internship – PLS 290 http://loudoun.nvcc.edu/home/jmckee

Or you may FAX to: 703-404-7368

On the rating system below, please rate the student intern on the evaluation
criteria. Thank you.

Rating System:

         0    =   Insufficient Knowledge for a Fair Rating
         1    =   Below Average
         2    =   Average
         3    =   Above Average
         4    =   Outstanding


                      Student Intern Evaluation

                                     0    1       2   3   4
Intellectual Curiosity
Self Esteem – Pride in Work
Vigor, Initiative, Industry
Imagination or Insight
Emotional Control, Social Maturity
Sense of Responsibility
Cooperation and Helpfulness
Personal Appearance, Dress
Adaptability to New Ideas
Rapport with Fellow Professionals
Capacity for Written Expression
General All-Around Ability
Growth Potential
     1. What is your evaluation of the student’s motivation, and their potential
        in future professional work?

     2. Please add any other comments that you think may be relevant in
        evaluating this student.

Position ____________________     Signature _____________________________

                                  Print Name ___________________________

Institution __________________________________Date ___________________

                                  Thank You

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