One America Community Efforts
Little Bar

Program: Washington Interns for Native Students, Washington, D.C.
Contact(s): Dr. Cary Ballou, Director: (202) 885-2033
Purpose: To provide an opportunity for Native American students to learn skills and gain practical experiences that will benefit them in their personal, educational and career development

Background Program Operations Outcomes


The Washington Interns for Native Students (WINS) program was founded in 1993 as a means of providing Native American students with internships in various government agencies. Implemented through American University, the WINS program provides work site experience along with a six-credit course taught at American University. Participants in the program make valuable contacts while learning marketable skills that can be shared with their respective tribal communities.

Program Operations

Native American students are recruited into the program and then matched with a sponsor from one of various government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Indian Gaming Association, the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Four members of the WINS board of directors, composed of Native American professionals with key positions in Federal government and private corporations, form a selection committee that chooses students for the program. Once selected for the WINS internship, students apply to Federal agencies that are commensurate with the student's interests, academic background and future career goals. Participants in WINS intern at their sponsoring agency for eight weeks while taking a class at American University titled "Washington Leadership Seminar in Tribal Issues and Native Studies." During this class, which is designed specifically for the WINS program, students discuss issues specifically related to Native American tribes, including: sovereignty, policy making, education, economic development and language and culture. Each sponsor funds the student's internship and expenses, including plane tickets, room and board, transportation and a weekly stipend.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Twenty-seven students were selected for and completed the WINS program in 1998. During the summers of 1997 and 1996, 25 and 15 students participated, respectively. Twenty-eight students successfully completed the summer of 1995 internship program and 32 students completed the program in 1994.

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