Experiential Learning: Where Theory Meets Practice
We aim to provide our graduates with hands-on credentials to their portfolio of career competencies through a professional internship. It gives them the opportunity to experience the challenges of public and community service first hand, to see theory put into practice. With our powerful network of organizational and professional relationships, both locally and nationally, we are able to craft an applied experience to fit almost every student's chosen pathway to serve.
An Investment in Internship Excellence
The School of Public Affairs has four dedicated professionals working as a team to bring you the best internship experience. Angela Crist, Director of USF's Florida Institute of Government, serves as the internship coordinator for both graduate and undergraduate programs. Assisting her with the MPA internships is Dr. Stephen Aikins, MPA Program Director, and Dr. Evangeline Linkous, MURP Program Director, for the MURP internships. Robyn Odegard, Program Planner/Analyst for the institute, serves as the university's liaison to The Washington Center (TWC).
A Commitment to Finding Placement Opportunities
As a first-semester MPA or MURP graduate student, you will be required to work with your faculty advisor and the internship coordinator to identify the kinds of practicum experiences that would be most conducive to your course of study and longer-term career interests. The faculty advisor and internship coordinator will then work with you to find the appropriate placement office for you. Through this matching process, key deliverables and expectations will be developed between the student, program, and host agency/organization.
As an undergraduate student, the school offers several opportunities for aspiring leaders to engage in public service whether it is at the local government level in Tampa Bay as part of the Legislative Internship Program (LIP), at the state of Florida level in the Tallahassee Internship Program (TIP), and/or in Washington, DC at the federal level in The Washington Center (TWC) program.
Our strong network of working relationships within local, state, federal, and nonprofit leaders and organizations, affords students a wide variety of host organizations to choose from whether in an urban, rural, or global setting.
Student-Led Project Opportunities
We are a professional school, and in keeping with our educational mission, our graduate programs go beyond theory to emphasize practice in the form of experiential learning. Thus, a growing number of our MPA and MURP courses require students to complete an individual or group project, ideally dealing with a real-world public management and/or planning challenge for a real-world client. For example, our students have worked with Hillsborough County, Hillsborough County Public Schools, the local James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the cities of Zephyrhills, Dunedin, and Largo, and a number of nonprofit organizations on projects that have made a real difference for the those organizations and jurisdictions, as well as the employees and citizens that they serve.
A Critical Component of Our Professional Education Model
A rigorous, realistic internship experience is a critical component of the School's professional education model, serving as a key contributor to post-graduation employment and long-term career success. Our curriculum is designed to give each student a real-world experience with an array of pathways to do so—preparing our students as professionals for careers in the 21st century of public service.
For more information on internship or student-led project opportunities, contact Angela Crist, Internship Coordinator.