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Help to fund an internship

Students are advised to conduct internships from the moment they start college.  It is sound guidance. According to a 2012 Chronicle of Higher Education survey, internships topped the list of attributes that employers are looking for when hiring recent graduates.  Internships enable students to gain on-the-job experience, develop marketable skills, and make contacts for securing a permanent job.  Unfortunately, internships are out of reach for many students.  Most are unpaid.  And between housing costs, tuition and fees, and other expenses, a typical internship requires a substantial financial commitment.  As a result, many students cannot afford to take what is widely seen as a crucial first step toward launching a successful career.

The JMU Washington Semester program provides an ideal platform for taking this first step.  The program enables students to pursue a full-time internship while completing upper-level coursework.  Because participants work full time for the entire semester, they are in a good position to get the most out of their internship experience.  Yet because of the significantly higher costs in terms of housing, transportation and meals, Washington Semester participants spend an estimated $4,300 more than they would during a normal semester on campus.

The additional $4,300 is a wise investment.  Washington Semester participants gain all of the advantages that come with completing a long-term internship.  Because they earn a semester’s worth of JMU credits, participation does not delay their progress toward earning a degree.  Interning during the semester relieves them of the pressure to intern during the summer, freeing them to earn money between semesters.


Reflections of past scholarship recipients

Soraya Hayes -- FALL 2019 -- "I first heard of Washington Semester my first month into my freshman year, and ever since then I knew I wanted to be a participant. I knew that this would be an amazing opportunity for me to make connections and figure out what direction I might want to take my career.

Brandon Handy -- SPRING 2019 -- "Growing alongside my Washington Semester cohort was a major highlight for me. From start to finish we all grew in confidence of our career aspirations. Seminar-style classes were also a great experience.

Mary Osei -- SPRING 2019 -- "The highlight of my overall experience was meeting goal-oriented people who are passionate about politics and international affairs with drive and determination to make their future aspirations a reality. It was a refreshing and inspiring atmosphere for me.

Cate Beard -- FALL 2018 -- "Washington is truly the place where we change the world. Being able to get lost in that city and find yourself in that knowledge is the most beautiful thing. I loved everything about being there. Everything.

Luke Robb -- FALL 2018 -- "The project work I was given was thought-provoking and provided me new insights on how to approach problems within the workforce. The network I was able to establish within my internship will continually prove valuable for many years to come.

Taylor Barrett -- SPRING 2018 -- "I met so many intelligent and kind people that were willing to spend time to educate me about their own experiences and so many things that I didn’t know before." 

Shannon Shevlin -- FALL 2017 -- "From a deputy U.S. attorney general to some of the best securities lawyers in the country, I found it to be incredibly rewarding to have the privilege of interacting with these people on a daily basis."

Sydnie Kostelac -- SPRING 2017 -- "Forge true connections with the people that you meet -- whether it be at your internship, your friends from the program, your professors, or people you meet at networking events."

Ruth Esther Johnson -- FALL 2016 -- "Do not be afraid. Washington is a great place to be, enjoy your internship, try your best, and remember your goals."

To read more about these students' experiences in the JMU Waashington Semester, click to see profiles of past scholarship recipients.

Investing in our students

Your contribution to the Washington Semester Scholarship fund will support need-based scholarships for students seeking financial aid to participate in the program.  Each scholarship will be awarded in the amount of $4,300 to cover the estimated cost difference between a semester on campus and a semester in D.C.  In short, your generosity will help us extend this potentially life-changing opportunity to students who otherwise could not afford it.

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