New CSU program offers opportunity to study in D.C.

Charlotte Lang

Colorado State University students looking for a professional experience now have a new program to look into.

CSU’s Straayer Center for Public Service Leadership and the Department of Political Science have worked with The Washington Center to open up the opportunity for 10 CSU students to spend an undergraduate semester at the Washington D.C.


The Washington Center, one of the partners for the program, is a nonprofit organization that provides selected students the opportunity to work and learn in D.C. for academic credit. Partnerships with institutions are made in order to best recruit strong students, provide internships and academic seminars to all majors and open paths to successful careers.

According to Sam Houghteling, program manager for the Straayer Center, the goal is to equip students with the skill and experience needed to become successful public leaders. This program, known as CSU in D.C, compliments The Center’s other state and local programs.

The Center’s programs, open to all majors and colleges, includes the Northern Colorado Local Government Internship, Legislative Internship Program at the State Capitol and the CSU in D.C. program. Each one is focused on developing the hard and soft skills future public servants and leaders would need.

Though, Houghteling says, many imagine political science majors for this role, there are many opportunities available for students from any major.

“There’s just so many opportunities in abundance at D.C.,” Houghteling said. “The Washington Center will make sure you get to do something you’re really excited about.”

Lydia Sundberg, a freshman studying international studies, is looking into the program with an appreciation for the opportunity to gain valuable experience in how the nation’s systems work.

“It seems like a great program that will help anybody get their foot in the door,” Sundberg said.

At D.C., students will complete a professional internship, seminar and colloquium, the latter of which including planned field trips and the chance to watch a variety of official speakers present. This will total into 15 credits.

“The internships in D.C. vary so substantially from another. We have students interning with the U.S. Senate, Peace Corps, U.S. Department of State, Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, along with private law firms, and more,”  Houghteling said. “This is a semester-long experiential learning opportunity, which includes a 4-day a week full-time internship, in a field of your choice. It’s an incredible professional experience for undergraduate students.”

According to Houghteling, the idea for the program has been around for years.


“With so many incredible internship and networking opportunities in Washington D.C., the program emerged from conversations over the last few years that included faculty, staff, students and alumni at CSU,” he said.

Houghteling also said they’re looking for students with a passion for solving problems and a want for high-level professional experience over the semester.

You’re an ambassador of CSU when you’re in D.C”

Sam Houghteling, Straayer Center Program Manager

Ideally, these students will also be driven, enthusiastic and system-thinkers. Because of this, applicants can expect a competitive application process with only 10 accepted students for these upcoming semesters, though Houghteling would like to see this grow in the future.

“The students we’re looking for will be proactive and see this not only as a professional opportunity but as the chance to represent the University,” Houghteling said. “You’re an ambassador of CSU when you’re in D.C.”

Students interested will complete a competitive application through the University. This will include a personal statement referencing career goals and a complete policy brief. Those accepted through the University will then handle additional paperwork with The Washington Center.

The CSU in D.C. program will be available each semester moving forward, with the exception of summer terms. Applications for Spring 2019 are open and due Sept. 26. Applications for Fall 2019 will be due March 27.

Charlotte Lang can be reached at or on Twitter as @ChartrickWrites.