Congressional Internships

Summer 2019 congressional interns from Columbia standing in front of the Capitol building. (Left to right: Noah Chase Widmann CC'20; Sofia Garcia-George CC'21; Lilly Anderson, Barnard '21; Nada Zohayr CC'21; Emily Digman CC'20; Ciara Johnson CC'21; Kareem Sidibe CC'22; Allyssa Phelps CC'21)

The Office of Government and Community Affairs (GCA) provides assistance to Columbia undergraduates interested in spending the summer interning in either the local or Washington, D.C. office of a U.S. Member of Congress. In addition to assisting students as they apply for internships, our office also hosts summer events for Columbia students in D.C. Those who wish to receive advice and guidance from GCA should register their intention to apply to a congressional office by emailing Nathan Robb, Assistant Vice President for Government Relations, with their contact information, home state, and the offices to which they intend to apply.

Limited GCA stipend funds may be available to students eligible for financial assistance. In order to be eligible, applicants must be students of Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, or the School of General Studies. Barnard College offers assistance to students pursuing unpaid internships through the Beyond Barnard Internship Program. More information, including deadlines and requirements, can be found via their website.

Choosing an Office

Summer internships in Washington, D.C. afford students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience with the inner workings of the federal government. While interns are most often not directly involved in policy-making, they gain valuable exposure to the procedure, politics, agenda setting and policy of the nation’s capital. Unlike Washington, D.C. offices, district offices do not usually concentrate on policy-making, but provide students with valuable experience in constituent services and casework.  

The responsibilities of an intern may vary from office to office. In general, an intern will: 

Washington D.C. Internship 
Perform general office duties 
Have an opportunity for involvement in one or more of the following:                 

  • Attend committee hearings and prepare reports¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • Research policy and legislation¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • Draft correspondence, articles, and speeches¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • Represent the office at meetings and briefings¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • Lead tours of the Capitol for visiting constituents¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • Answer constituent mail¬†

District Office Internship 
Perform general office duties 
Have an opportunity for involvement in one or more or the following:                 

  • Perform casework for constituents¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • Record constituent sentiment on policy issues¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • Answer constituent mail¬†

Columbia does not grant students academic credit for completing congressional Internships.  

For more information on the Columbia University Congressional Internship Program, please contact Nathan Robb, Assistant Vice President of Government Relations at (212) 854-4611 (nwr2102@columbia.edu).

Washington, D.C. Housing Resources

While Columbia University does not provide summer housing for students in Washington, D.C., a number of local colleges and universities operate summer housing programs specifically tailored to student interns, regardless of their home institution. Here is a brief list of available university summer housing programs along with contact information:

American University
Website: Intern Housing
Email: summerhousing@american.edu
Phone: (202) 885-3370

Catholic University of America
Website: Summer Intern Housing
Email: cua-conferences@cua.edu
Phone: (202) 319-5291

George Washington University
Website: Summer Housing
Email: Sumhouse@gwu.edu
Phone: (202) 994-2552

Howard University
Website: Summer Intern Housing
Email: residencelife@howard.edu
Phone: 202-806-6131

Internship Stipend Program

GCA is happy to announce the 2020 Congressional Internship Stipend Program for Columbia College, SEAS and GS students. It is important to note that the application must be handed in complete. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please review the application and direct any questions you may have to Nathan W. Robb at (212) 854-4611 or nwr2102@columbia.edu.

Please note the following items:

  • Stipend funds are intended for students who will be interning in Washington D.C. (as opposed to district offices).
  • The stipend is need-based. Precedence will be given to students who have received Pell Grants during the academic year.

You will still be considered for a summer stipend, even if you have not received final acceptance from a Congressional office; however, stipends will only be distributed once GCA has received confirmation that you have been offered and have accepted an internship position.

Download 2020 Stipend Application. The 2020 Congressional Internship Stipend application is due on Friday, March 13, in person in Low Library, Room 302 or digitally to Nathan Robb.

For more information about congressional internships, check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

Other Internship Opportunities

United States Department of Transportation Summer Internship for Diverse Groups

The Summer Transportation Internship Program for Diverse Groups (STIPDG) provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and skills that will complement your academic pursuits. This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate tomorrow's leaders, strengthen their understanding of the transportation industry and prepare them for future public service opportunities.

The STIPDG is a paid internship program open to all qualified candidates without regard to their race, gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic prohibited by state or local law.    

For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of Transportation website.

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Internships

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation offers internships throughout the year that enable students to work in congressional offices or in federal agencies. There are three programs--the Congressional Internship Program, the Emerging Leaders Internship Program, and the Communications Internship program.

Program participants receive housing and stipends.

Applications for Summer 2019 are open until March 29, and the program runs from May 27 through July 26. For more information and to apply, please visit the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation website.

Internships through the Columbia University Center for Career Education

CCE has several summer internship programs for Columbia students. The Center for Career Education has the over 100 current international and domestic positions available in a wide variety of industries.