Not just for the rich

Critics often see political internships as a rsum booster reserved for the rich-a division between the haves and the have-nots in America’s college system.

But Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, wants the U to be different.

Jowers said the U is working to make top-notch internships both affordable and open to all qualified students.

“(We’re) essentially the rich, powerful aunt or uncle for every student,” Jowers said. “The genius of Robert H. Hinckley was that he made internships a possibility for every student.”

The institute offers $3,000 scholarships to help cover the costs of international internships and provides stipends for students who serve internships in Washington, D.C.

At other universities, students often pay thousands of dollars and an application fee for internships. Thus, he said, the opportunity is primarily open to students from elite families.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘Here’s an opportunity,’ and it’s another to make the opportunity (affordable),” said Ron Hrebenar, chairman of the political science department.

Zan Larsen, a senior in political science who interned with the Scottish Parliament last spring, said without the institute’s help, she wouldn’t have been able to pay for her internship.

Even with the institute’s help, Larsen said she had to take out a loan so she could travel on the weekends.

“Money isn’t your passport to the world, (at least,) it shouldn’t be,” Larsen said.

Jowers said the stipend generally covers the basic costs and students must meet expenses for activities like weekend trips.

The internships are funded by a variety of donors, including the Hinckley family and philanthropist Li Ka Shing.

“Fortunately, the Hinckley Institute is thriving right now,” Jowers said.

Though most interns are political science majors, Jowers said he is looking for students from a variety of majors, especially business.

“We’re actually in dire need of students from some underrepresented majors,” he said.

To get more information on political internships, visit the Hinckley Institute online at

Photo Courtesy of Zan Larsen

Political science senior Zan Larsen poses outside the Scottish Parliament, where she interned last spring with the Hinckley Institute of Politics.