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Department of Political Science
Internship & Research Project

Internship (POLI 7920)

The public service internship is required of all pre-service students in the MPA program as the first part of the capstone experience, which culminates in the ePortfolio. Its purpose is to provide the student with a realistic exposure to an organizational-bureaucratic environment. This experience should develop the students' awareness of the internal dynamics of an organization, of the value of public employees, and of their attitudes toward both their clientele and their administrative and political superiors. It should give the student an opportunity to become aware of both professional obligations and obligations to the public.

Administration of the internship is a joint effort of a supervisor at the organization where the student interns and a member of the Auburn MPA faculty. The agency supervisor is expected to monitor the work of the student, ensuring that the experience provides a meaningful introduction to public service for a future administrator, and to evaluate the intern. The faculty supervisor will monitor the internship through regular written reports from the student and a site visit, where possible. The faculty member will supervise and evaluate written assignments in which the student applies concepts from MPA coursework and other assigned readings to practical questions, issues and problems that the student can observe during the internship. The student will receive academic credit for the internship, and the faculty supervisor will assign a grade based upon the student's reports, the supervisor's evaluation and the research paper.

Recent Internship Placements:

Boys and Girls Club of Lee County
City of Auburn Parks and Recreation
Museum of East Alabama
Lee County Autism Resource and Advocacy Center
Goodwill Industries
Congressional Internship Program
Students for a New American Politics
Lee County Public Defender
The Nature Conservatory, Inner Mongolia, China
Marine Stewardship Council, Beijing, China
YMCA (China)
City of Auburn
I Am My Brother’s Keeper (IAMBK)
Lee County Literacy Coalition
No-Boundaries International Art and Culture, Inc.
The Accountability Lab

Research Project (POLI 7930)

After MPA students complete a public service internship (POLI 7920), they may enroll in POLI 7930 - Research Project as the second piece to the capstone experience, which culminates in the ePortfolio. This three-hour professional development seminar provides students the opportunity to synthesize the theories, concepts, internship and professional experiences, and other skills and abilities acquired as an MPA student, pull it all together, and start thinking about how to apply all that information in a “real world” work environment. This course is designed around projects that emerging professionals and mid-career administrators will likely confront in professional life. Emphasis is placed on the transition from an academic setting to a professional one, which requires various types of communication and work products.