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Rutgers Scarlet Service in Washington, DC

The kind of experiential education I am advocating could change a life, could open a mind and could save a democracy.

Jonathan Scott Holloway

President and University Professor

Service in Our Nation’s Capital

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway sees civic engagement as a critical component of a Rutgers education and a path toward appreciating our differences, restoring civil discourse, and working in service to the common good. At his inauguration, President Holloway announced his vision for the Rutgers Summer Service Internship (RSSI) Program. Building on the success of RSSI, the Scarlet Service Initiative now includes Rutgers Scarlet Service in Washington, DC (RSS-DC), a program managed by the Rutgers Office of Federal Relations. 

Funded Academic Credits
Student Stipend
Housing Provided

High-Impact Summer Internship Opportunities

Washington, DC is a place of endless possibilities. It is a hub for innovative thinking, compromise, and progress. Our nation’s capital attracts students and young professionals from across the country interested in public service, government, and nonprofit work.

The RSS-DC program offers qualified Rutgers sophomores and juniors of all majors the opportunity to live, work, and learn in the epicenter of American government, politics, and public leadership. RSS-DC participants will be provided complimentary housing, a generous monetary stipend, internship placement support, and a three-credit course free of charge.

Capitol Building in Washington DC

A Path Toward Bettering Democracy

The RSS-DC program provides an opportunity for Rutgers students to contribute to solutions of societal problems; view the workings of the government from a fresh perspective; and develop a better understanding of our political system.

When we provide talented students with knowledge and skills and give them a task, great things happen. When their task is to improve our society and democracy, ALL of us benefit.

This internship program is designed to expose students to a more direct path towards bettering democracy and foster excitement and dedication to the endeavor.

Lincoln Memorial

RSS-DC Program FAQ

    • Rutgers Scarlet Service in Washington, DC (RSS-DC) provides select undergraduate students from all Rutgers campuses with an opportunity to earn $3,800 stipend while interning in Washington, DC during the summer at a government office or public service non-profit organization. Students will also participate in a concurrent in-person internship course designed to engage with the topic of public service while building their career readiness and professionalism skills.
    • Students are required to attend two in-person events/seminars on campus at the beginning and end of the program.
  • The RSS-DC course is a 3-credit, in-person internship course. This course is meant to ground students’ experience at their public service internships, providing them with the theoretical foundation and professional and civic skillset to thrive in their work and take advantage of all that Washington, DC has to offer. Through readings, reflections, and guest speakers, students will explore and engage with the topic of public service while building their career readiness and professionalism.

  • The application process for RSS-DC is open to current Rutgers University sophomores and juniors from all schools. Applicants must have an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and be in good standing with the university. Applicants must also be able to live in Washington, DC for the duration of their internship and have the ability to travel to their internship site. They must also have a passion for government work and/or a desire to engage in public service.

  • Yes, international students eligible for Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) can apply to the RSS-DC Program. This includes the fulfillment of at least one academic year in the United States. You can find additional information on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) here.

  • Stipends, Free Housing, and Experience: Students selected for RSS-DC receive a $3,800 stipend for completing a hands-on summer internship in public service where they make a difference, contribute to solutions of societal problems, view the workings of the government from a fresh perspective, and develop a better understanding of practical politics.

    Note: students are responsible for applicable taxes.

    Knowledge and Scholarships: Accepted students participate in a course designed to explore and engage with the topic of public service while building their career readiness and professionalism skills. RSS-DC students also receive a scholarship to cover the expense of the 3-credit course.

    Networking and Events: Meet talented students across Rutgers University who have a passion for making the world a better place. Students selected for RSS-DC will participate in a variety of in-person events where they will hear from guest speakers from the world of public service and build fellowship with one another. After their summer internship experience, students will share their stories and experiences at a September celebration with the broader university community. RSS-DC students will also be invited to various networking events in Washington, DC, where they will have the opportunity to engage with Rutgers alumni, friends of the university, and others!

    • Applications for Summer 2024 are open now cloesd. Candidates will have to complete an application form, attach a resume and unofficial transcript, and respond to the essay prompts. The application form also asks for the names, titles, and contact information of two references, with at least one being an academic reference.
    • Student applications will be reviewed by a selection committee and RSS-DC administrators. All student applicants will be notified of their status in the program by the end of January 2024.
    • Internship placement will be facilitated by the RSS-DC program, but students are encouraged to begin the internship search process before selection to the program is made. Specific information about the placement process will be shared with applicants upon admission to the program. 
  • Yes, though it will need to be approved by the RSS-DC program. Specific information about this process will be shared with applicants upon admission to the program.

  • Yes, you may. However, you are not eligible for selection into RSS-DC if you have already been matched with an internship through RSSI. You will need to decide between RSS-DC and RSSI before you go through any internship matching process.

  • Contact Sonya Abrams at

  • Rutgers Scarlet Service in Washington, DC (RSS-DC) Summer 2024 application is now closed. Below is an overview of the now closed application.

    This is a joint application for the RSSI and RSS-DC programs. You may apply to one or both program(s) in this application. If you decide to apply for both programs, you will need to answer the required application questions and essay prompts for each individual program.

    Please read the full instructions below and collect all items before getting started. We highly recommend that you preview the application (preview the complete application here) to ensure you are ready to submit all required information before starting the process.

    Students can learn more about RSS-DC and the application process by attending an information session. Registration information coming soon.

    All materials must be submitted via this form by November 27 at 12:00 pm noon. It is important to note that students cannot save draft version(s) of this form and return to it later. Before completing the RSS-DC Summer 2024 Application, please collect/draft the following items:

    • Resume: One page preferred, two pages maximum
    • Unofficial Transcript: Rutgers transcript, including your current semester of classes. If you are transfer student and have been at Rutgers for less than one academic year, please include transcripts from previous colleges/universities.
    • Two References: Provide the name, title, phone number, organization, and email address of two contacts who can speak to your experiences and work ethic. References can include advisors, faculty, staff, supervisors, etc. Your references should not be related to you, and one should be academic. Reference checks are conducted when more information is needed to determine between two or more equal candidates.
    • Essay Prompts: Responses will allow the selection committee the opportunity to learn more about each candidate. Please craft your responses in a word processing application (MS Word, Google Doc, etc.) to ensure your answer is within the noted word limit of each essay prompt.
      • Please describe your interest in public service and how it might relate to your career goals. What do you hope to get out of this program? Applicants are encouraged to include previous relevant experiences or related personal experiences. (300 words or less)
      • Why do you want to intern in Washington, DC specifically? What type of internship experience would you prefer (e.g. government agency, congressional office, non-profit, think-tank, arts/museum, international affairs, etc.) (200 words or less)
      • Describe a situation where a decision you made was impacted by including different perspectives. (200 words or less)
      • Consider a time you experienced failure and share how you dealt with it. (200 words or less)
      • Is there anything else we should know about you? (optional)

    When you submit your application, you will see a confirmation screen and receive a copy of the submitted application to the email you provided.

    All students will be notified of their selection into the program by mid-January 2024. 

Summer 2024 Employer Information and FAQ

Are you a government office or nonprofit organization with a public service mission? If you are interested in hosting an RSS-DC summer intern, please contact program coordinator, Sonya Abrams, at

  •  All internship sites must:

    • Have a mission in service to the public.
    • Provide an in-person immersive, high-impact learning experience.
    • Be either a government office or a nonprofit organization located in Washington, DC.
    • Employers will be expected to provide time off on Fridays for students to engage in academic coursework related to the program.
  • Any government agency or nonprofit organization may request a Rutgers intern. The students will only be available to participate in internships during the length of the program, which will be available soon.

  • Yes, you may offer as many as you would like. We, however, cannot guarantee Rutgers intern placement in any/all offered positions.  

  • All internships must have a significant in-person component. A hybrid format is acceptable, but not preferred.

  • The summer internship matching process will take place in Spring 2024. Student internship placements will be confirmed no later than May 1, 2024.

  • Given the size of the cohort, we cannot guarantee a Rutgers intern for all offered positions. The goal is to match students with internships that best fit their interests and career goals. 

  • Please submit the RSS-DC Prospective Employer Form to indicate your interest in hosting an intern.