Political paid internships offered for students in January


Dan Elson

AACC students can apply for paid internships in January working with state politicians.

Tomi Brunton, Reporter

AACC students can sign up for paid internships working with state delegates and senators starting in January when the Maryland General Assembly begins its next session.

Students interested in the internship, which entails sending emails, taking notes, researching legislative information and attending committee hearings, should contact political science professor Dan Nataf by Oct. 31.

“It’s a great supplement to in-class learning,” Nataf said. “It’s experiential learning. It’s… applied learning, and all these things make it stick much better than just sitting in a class and learning about state and local government.”

The internship was established in 1979 to help students all over Maryland get engaged in local politics. Usually between 5 and 15 AACC students apply for this internship every year. Across the state, approximately 150 students from multiple colleges and universities participate.

Carolyn Pelli, a student programs assistant for the Maryland General Assembly, said the program has remained strong since 1980, even continuing in a virtual format during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think that the program is … a prestigious opportunity for students to transition, you know, from the classroom to the career environment and it allows them to grow their responsibilities and skill set, as well as their references and their networking,” Pelli said. 

AACC students can get college credit from the internship if they enroll in Nataf’s Political Science 276 course, where they will learn how to apply for the internship and prepare for their interviews with the delegates and senators. The internship runs during the legislative session, from the second Wednesday of January to the beginning of April of each year. 

Dillon Conaway, a second-year transfer studies student who participated in the internship last semester, recommended it to students interested in politics or government

“It was fantastic,” Conaway said. “[It was] a life-changing experience. I got to meet people in government. I got to learn more about how it works firsthand. I got to do things I never get to do otherwise. … So it’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” 

“I want[ed] to see how Maryland law works, like how this whole thing works.” Kayla Houston, who took the internship last semester, said. “And then while I was doing it … I learned a lot, just how complicated it is.”

Nataf said the program is a unique opportunity and it is “nothing but positives.”

“It’s got to be one of the most impactful things you can do in political science, and maybe in social science overall,” Nataf said.