Frequently Asked Questions
1 . How is the Program organized?^
It is jointly administered by the Legislative Council of the Alaska State Legislature and representatives from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), and the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS).
UAS in Juneau has primary responsibility for the academic administration of the program. All stipends and relocation allowances are paid through UAS and all course credits are granted by UAS. Credit hours are easily transferred from UAS to the other two campuses. All three campuses participating in the program have campus coordinators.
2 . Do I have to be a political science major to apply?^
No--definitely not! The program recruits students from all academic disciplines. Past interns have come from a diverse range of majors including: business, criminal justice, economics, education, history, journalism, land management, Native studies, the natural sciences, public administration, social work and sociology, as well as from political science. The program also recruits students participating in the National Student Exchange Program and foreign exchange students.
3 . Who is eligible for the Program? ^
Unless special arrangements are made, students must meet the following criteria:
- Are admitted to UAA, UAF or UAS at the time of their internship.
- Are registered, at the time of the internship, in any undergraduate or graduate degree program in the US or abroad.
- Are of at least junior standing at the time of the internship.
- Do not hold a paid position with the Alaska Legislature at the time of the internship.
4 . What if I’m interested but not yet eligible to apply?^
Then plan to incorporate the program into your degree at a later date. In preparing for the program be sure to take some political science courses. You should also develop your writing skills and obtain experience in conducting research. Your campus program coordinator will be most willing to give you further advice on preparing for the internship.
5 . What do Interns do in the Legislature?^
All interns work in the office of a legislator--a Representative or a Senator. But they don’t just do clerical work. Generally, interns do similar work to legislative aides including: answering constituent mail, researching bills, attending committee hearings; and some are given responsibility for pieces of legislation and may give testimony before committees.
6 . How many hours per week is the Internship and how long does it last? ^
The Legislative Internship is a full-time position running for the entire 90 day legislative session and the week prior to the session. It begins in early January and ends in mid-April, a period similar in length to the spring semester. You work for an average of 35 hours a week for a total of 490 hours for the fourteen weeks. Some legislative offices will require that you work more than 35 hours per week.
7 . Can I work part of the session, work part-time, or work in a legislative office outside of Juneau and still be in the Program?^
No you cannot. You have to work the full 35 hours per week and full-time each weekday for the entire session and be placed in a legislative office in Juneau.
8 . How many credit hours do I get and in what discipline?^
Interns receive 12 hours of upper division credit. Nine of these credits are for the placement in the legislative office and are graded Pass/Fail only. The other 3 credits are for the Internship Seminar and are graded A-F. These are political science credits. But these credits can be given other designations that the student’s advisor and the Statewide Program Coordinator work out in advance of the student’s internship.
9 . How much do I get paid?^
Not all students receive a stipend, but many of our students are granted stipends of approximately $5000, based on need and merit. Students from UAF and UAA who are granted stipends also receive a small travel allowance (around $800 for UAF students and around $700 for UAA students)
10 . How do I apply?^
See the “Apply” tab in the sidebar.
11 . Are all applicants accepted?^
Generally, qualified students are accepted, though only a limited number of stipends are available. Stipends are awarded based on a combination of need and merit.
12 . What criteria are used for admissions and the award of stipends?^
Applications are reviewed by the internship program’s admissions committee, which includes the statewide coordinator and the campus coordinators from UAA and UAF. Well-qualified students are admitted to the program, and stipends are awarded based on merit and need, taking into account economic factors, academic qualifications, recommendations, and other application materials.
13 . Who decides which legislator’s office I work in?^
Interns have a great deal of choice in where they work. The University does not place interns in offices; rather it acts as a facilitator to bring interns and legislators together. Once chosen, interns receive information about legislators interested in the program; and legislators receive information about the students chosen as interns. Then, legislators and interns are free to contact each other to work out an internship arrangement.
14 . Isn’t it hard to find housing in Juneau and isn’t it expensive?^
Not really! In all the years of the program no student has ever failed to find a place to live! Juneau rentals are about the same as Fairbanks and about 5% more than Anchorage. The legislature keeps a list of available housing; and legislative staff can often provide leads on housing. Student housing at UAS is also available.
15 . How does the seminar work?^
There is a four-day orientation focusing on the legislative process prior to the beginning of the legislative session. Then, there are seven bi-weekly three-hour seminars. At these seminars interns share their learning experiences and present papers on various topics related to the legislative process. A total of five pieces of written work are required for the seminar. Several guests--including legislators, legislative aides, members of the governor’s staff, agency personnel, court system personnel, lobbyists and journalists--come to the seminars to provide practical insights.
16 . Who is the Statewide Program Coordinator and where can I contact him?^
Statewide Program Coordinator
University of Alaska Southeast Juneau, AK 99801
Your campus coordinator can provide you with further information. Or contact the Statewide Program Coordinator. He will pass your inquiry on to your campus coordinator and place you on the mailing list for announcements about up-coming program promotion and deadlines.