This program offered through Southern Illinois University provides paid internship opportunities to SIU undergraduate students interested in professional careers in politics and with state government. Students from all academic backgrounds who have reached junior status (i.e., completed fifty-six hours of course work) and who are in good academic standing are invited to apply to the program.
The program is named after Senator Vince Demuzio of Carlinville, who, after battling colon cancer, died April 27, 2004. A champion of Downstate Illinois, Senator Demuzio was elected to the Senate in 1974, served as chairman of the state Democratic Party from 1986 to 1990, and was serving as Majority Leader of the Illinois Senate at the time of his death at age 62.
The Vince Demuzio Governmental Internship Program offers two distinct types of internship experience.
- Legislative staff internships with House and Senate Republicans and Democrats. Typically, interns work in the home office fifteen to twenty hours per week while attending classes full time and perform duties as regular staff members. The most important criteria for the internship experience are good oral and written communication skills and a strong commitment to public service.
- Internships with a state agency. Typically, interns work fifteen to twenty hours per week in one of several local state agency offices while attending classes full time and perform duties as regular staff members. The most important criteria for the internship experience are good oral and written communication skills and a strong commitment to public service.
Interns may begin working any time openings are available. Subject to evaluation, interns may work upwards of eight semesters. Concurrently, they enroll for two or three hours of internship credit each semester. Interns enrolled in a field practicum course required for their major may use that course to fulfill the academic requirements of the internship, provided part of the course assignments relate to the Demuzio internship experience. Enrollment in the internship course is waived for the first semester if the internship begins six weeks or later into the fall or spring semester. Upon completion of the internship, many students seek employment at other levels of government, pursue further graduate or professional education, or choose career opportunities in the private sector.
The program has several objectives:
- Make Illinois state government an attractive career goal for college graduates.
- Provide undergraduate college students with a unique opportunity to work in and observe close hand the benefits of careers in public service.
- Partner with participating legislators and state agencies in their efforts to attract qualified candidates to careers in state government.
What are the requirements for eligibility?
- Maintain full-time student status through period of internship (minimum of twelve credit hours per fall/spring semester and six credit hours during summer sessions) and make good academic progress toward degree completion as determined by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
- Minimum of junior status (i.e., at least fifty-six hours of baccalaureate-level course work) and be in good academic standing.
- Minimum GPA of 2.75 overall and/or 3.00 in the major on a 4.00 scale.
- Willingness to commit for a one- to two-year period of time.
- Concurrent enrollment in a two- to three-credit-hour internship course for fall and spring semesters (summer session excluded), for which students will complete reading and writing assignments related to the internship experience as assigned by SIU faculty. Interns enrolled in a field practicum course required for their major may use that course to fulfill the academic requirements of the internship, provided part of the course assignments relate to the Demuzio internship experience. Enrollment in internship course is waived if internship begins six weeks or later into the fall or spring semester.
Interns who work sixty hours per month receive $720 per month; interns who work eighty hours per month receive $960 per month (Rates are established by and may be modified by the Office of the President.)
When is the application deadline?
Applications are received any time during the year and, depending upon eligibility and availability, are referred to the appropriate legislator or department supervisor for consideration.
Who administers the program?
Legislative staff internships are administered for the Illinois General Assembly by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Southern Illinois University (tel. 618-536-3465). Internships in the state agencies are administered at SIUC by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute (tel. 618-453-4009) and at SIUE by the Career Development Center (tel. 618-650-3708). Under special circumstances, such as one in which it would be necessary to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, placement of interns may be handled other than as outlined above (for example, the Office of the President may handle placement of an intern in a state agency).