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Vanderbilt Internship Experience in Washington (VIEW) Program

Exploring Public Service Careers in the United States’ Capital

VIEW Promo Image

 Now accepting applications for the 2018 VIEW program!

VIEW 2018 Information Sessions

Want to learn more about the VIEW program? Join us for an information session! Learn about program logistics, hear from former VIEW students, and get your questions answered.

All information sessions will take place in the OACS Lounge (Rand 305), and will last approximately one hour.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 3 | 3:30 – 4:30 PM
  • Wednesday, Oct. 4 | 4:00 – 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday, Oct. 10 | 3:00 – 4:00 PM
  • Wednesday, Oct. 11 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM

VIEW Program Overview

Program Dates: June 3-July 28, 2018 (eight weeks)
Program Fee: $5300.00
Program fee includes:
  • Excellent furnished accommodations within a ten-minute walk from a Metro station
  • Unlimited Metrorail travel
  • Meals during bi-weekly reflection meetings
  • Two cohort social outings
  • One service experience
  • Professional development seminars while in D.C.
  • Alumni chapter networking event
Program fee does not include:
  • Transportation to and from Washington, D.C.
  • Daily meals
  • Personal expenses
How to Apply:

Submit the online portion of the VIEW Program Application:

  • Essay question responses
  • Resume

Bring the following directly to the Office of Active Citizenship and Service:

  • One letter of recommendation (your reference may also email a recommendation directly to Meagan Smith at
  • Transcript(s)
  • Application fee of $50.00 (cash, or money order or check made out to “Vanderbilt University”)
  • Financial assistance application (optional)
Financial Assistance

Apply for OACS Financial Assistance by submitting the following directly to the Office of Active Citizenship and Service:

  1. 2017 VIEW Financial Aid Form
  2. A copy of your FAFSA or equivalent documentation

For your security, please do not send your FAFSA or any other document with personally identifiable information via email.

Introduction to the Program

The Vanderbilt Internship Experience in Washington, D.C. (VIEW) program provides students with an opportunity to meaningfully explore careers in the public service sector in the dynamic setting of the United States’ capital. This eight-week program introduces students to the career opportunities in the public service sector, provides training and support for the summer internship application process, connects participants with the local alumni chapter for networking and mentorship, and facilitates a community experience of this fast-paced and exciting hub of public policy development. The VIEW program is facilitated by the Office of Active Citizenship and Service, in partnership with the Vanderbilt University Career Center.

Students gather for group photo after a reflection dinner in D.C.

Phase 1:  Preparation

Internship Search Workshops

VIEW students are responsible for finding and applying for public service internships that interest them, and the VIEW program is designed to support them in that search process. All selected participants will be required to attend an internship search preparation workshop that will cover writing effective resumes and cover letters, and how to search for public service summer internships in Washington, D.C. Participants will be expected to bring a list of internships to which they intend to apply to the first spring seminar meeting. Participants are strongly encouraged to begin their internship search as soon as they are selected for the VIEW program.

Spring Seminars

During the spring semester, students participate in a series of eight seminars designed to equip them with the tools to find and apply for public service internships during the summer of 2018.

Seminars typically cover the following:

  1. Writing effective resumes and cover letters for public service internships
  2. Finding public service internships
  3. Professional networking skills (in person and digital)
  4. Interviewing skills
  5. Career paths in the public service sector, specifically in Washington, D.C.
  6. How organizations in Washington, D.C. work together to create change
  7. Guest lectures by local representatives and other public officials
  8. Reflection techniques and team-building skills

Phase 2:  Exploring Public Service Careers in Washington, D.C.

Summer Internships

Cohort Experience

  • Live and learn together with other VIEW students
  • Enjoy social outings facilitated by the VIEW program coordinator
  • Participate in a service opportunity
  • Think critically about your experience with your VIEW colleagues during bi-weekly reflection discussions

Alumni Engagement

  • Build a relationship with your alumni mentor
  • Learn about pursing public service careers from area alumni
  • Network with the extensive DC-area alumni chapter members at events


Intentional and structured reflection is a vital part of investing fully in the immersive learning process. To this end, OACS follows the David Kolb Learning Cycle, which includes four processes that must take place for learning to occur:

  1. Concrete experience (feeling)
  2. Reflective observation (exploring)
  3. Abstract conceptualization (thinking)
  4. Active experimentation (acting)

As part of the VIEW Program, we ask that students actively reflect as they pass through each stage in this cycle. Active reflection includes participation not only in the group sessions and one on one sessions, but also daily through personal introspection. We encourage students to share openly with their cohort, site leader, and reflection partner, and to record their reflections and learning process in a reflection journal. Checking in frequently with thoughts and feelings adds dimension and depth to the students’ experiences and ultimately results in more personal growth and transformation through critical thinking.

 Phase 3:  Think Globally, Act Locally

The exploration of public service careers doesn’t stay in D.C.! VIEW participants will create a civic engagement action plan to continue the learning process after completing the VIEW program.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of participating in the VIEW program, students will be able to:

  • Locate public service internship and job opportunities
  • Create an effective resume
  • Write a compelling cover letter
  • Utilize digital tools to cultivate a professional network
  • Demonstrate appropriate interview skills
  • Articulate personal learning objectives
  • Develop confidence in their professional skills (e.g., networking, appropriate dress, email communication, research)
  • Develop confidence in their networking skills
  • Identify at least three careers in the public service sector in Washington, D.C.
  • Reflect on and assess achievement of personal learning objectives


For more information about the Vanderbilt Internship Experience in Washington (VIEW) Program, contact Meagan Smith, the Program Leader, at

Informational sessions about the VIEW program will be offered leading up to the application deadline. Students of all years interested in applying are encouraged to attend.

To learn more from participants about the VIEW Program, we encourage potential applicants to read the 2017 VIEW blog by clicking here or the photo below: