Native American Congressional Internship

Apply - Advice and Guidance

Here you will find advice from the Udall Foundation, the Internship selection committee, and our alumni that will help you prepare an effective application for the Udall Internship.

Advice from the Udall Foundation

Think of the internship application as a personal statement
Approach each short essay as if it were part of one long personal statement, instead of a series of disconnected questions. Your application should reveal to our readers: Who am I? Who do I want to be? What kind of contribution do I want to make, and how? Why does my career plan make sense, and why is the internship right for me?

Use the short essays to:

  • Demonstrate your values, interests, and motivation to support Tribal communities, or pursue a career related to Tribal government and/or public policy;
  • Provide insight into your goals and aspirations, both personal and professional;
  • Demonstrate any skills or knowledge that will be useful in a Congressional office or Federal agency; and
  • Alert the Udall Foundation to any unusual circumstances or hardship that may have affected your academic performance or limited your activities.

Research the life and legacy of Morris K. Udall or Stewart L. Udall
The Udall essay should demonstrate:

  • Excellent research ability, by using and citing outside sources;
  • Outstanding writing and communication skills. Interns should have strong writing skills in order to be assigned substantive projects; and
  • Your knowledge of Morris K. Udall or Stewart L. Udall's commitment to Native American and/or environmental issues.
  • A strong essay will follow a two-part structure. The first part should be a critical analysis of the legislation or policy statement, the issues it addresses, and its impact. The second part should relate these issues to your interests and career goals.

Select recommenders who can attest to your

  • Commitment to and potential for making a difference in your Tribal communities or regarding issues affecting Indian country;
  • Maturity and responsibility;
  • Leadership and ability to take initiative;
  • Academic and professional achievements; and
  • Character.

Limit your resume to two pages
Include both paid and volunteer work experience. Briefly identify or explain any honors or activities.

Be sure that your application is free of grammatical and typographical errors
The application form, essay, and resume must be typed or word-processed. Handwritten applications will not be accepted.

A few additional words of advice

  • Start early. Leave yourself plenty of time to revise your application;
  • Get feedback. It's hard to be objective about your own writing, particularly when the topic is you. Ask professors, advisors, and friends to read your application and give you honest feedback.
  • Revise, then revise again! First drafts are never as good as second or third drafts. Give yourself time between drafts to reread your writing with fresh eyes.

Tips from the Selection Committee

Be professional
You're not just applying for an internship opportunity; you are applying for a job. Your application may be read by Congressional or Federal agency staff that are considering you as an intern for their office – maybe even by a Representative or Senator themselves.

Show your commitment
Tell us about your participation in campus and community activities, such as Native American clubs, pow-wows, or ceremonies. Have you volunteered with non-profit organizations that benefit Native Americans, such as a Boys & Girls club or law clinic? How will you give back to your Tribal community or to Indian country?

Connect the dots
A good career goals statement will identify issues that you want to address in your career, articulate a path that will benefit Native people, and make the case for why the Internship is the logical next step in your educational and professional development.

Reveal your get-up-and-go
Tell us how you’ve made the most of your opportunities. Highlight experiences that demonstrate your ability to adapt to the fast-paced work environment of a Congressional or Federal agency office.

Pay attention to style and presentation
Tone, grammatical errors, and carelessness will impact how we perceive you as a professional. Do write in your own voice but be sure it's your professional voice.

Advice from Alumni

Use the Udall essay to demonstrate your writing and research ability
These will be your most useful skills as an Intern and will ensure your office supervisor gives you substantial assignments.

Give yourself two to three weeks to complete and edit the application
Spend some time editing your responses and find someone to look over your materials as well.

Connect with someone who has already completed the program
Use their feedback to refine your application. Be very specific in your responses and don't rush the application. Take your time to work with each section.

Emphasize your leadership
As an Intern, you're expected to take on individual projects and show initiative, creativity, and responsibility. If you already possess leadership qualities, you will excel in an office environment where you have the freedom to propose projects and tackle those problems alone.

Highlight your community outreach and future goals in your application
The Internship Program values bringing Native perspectives to government and politics. Students who are dedicated to helping their home communities, their Tribe, or Indian Country as a whole are ideal candidates for the program. Be honest in your essay about your goals for the future and how your background led you to pursue policy issues in Washington, D.C.