Chapter 4: Ancillary Resources for: “Integral or Irrelevant: What Makes a Desirable Political Science Intern?”

Published: Nov 5, 2021
Contributor: Clinton Jenkins

Shannon D. McQueen
Susan L. Wiley

License: CC BY NC ND 4.0 license – Allows redistribution but no additions or revisions to content. Forbids commercial use.

Although the benefits of interning are well known, we know less about the qualities and skills of interns that sponsoring organizations value highly. We examine this question using site supervisor feedback about a major urban research university’s political science internship program. We analyze quantitative data from site supervisor evaluations of student interns to determine which qualities are valued highly, and find that dependability, work ethic, attendance, usefulness to the organization, and level of initiative are most desirable. We also analyze open-ended responses regarding intern tasks, and both positive and negative aspects of intern performance. This research offers greater insights into the role of internships in undergraduate education, as well as the skills and traits that are perceived to closely affect interns’ performance. Our conclusions are relevant to political science educators as well as political science students seeking internships or preparing to search for a job.

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