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Explore America Summer Internships

The Starr Center’s Explore America Summer Internship program is one of the most exciting and distinctive opportunities available to Washington College students — and characteristic of the hands-on learning that sets us apart from other liberal arts institutions.

We match students with full-time, fully paid summer internships reserved for Washington College undergraduates at an array of leading cultural institutions and nonprofits. Past locations have included five different Smithsonian museums, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Apollo Theater, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the LGBTQ Center, the U.S. House of Representatives, and many others. In addition to providing paid jobs ($4,500 summer stipends) and valuable experience, Explore America Internships introduces students to mentors who sometimes change the course of their lives. Quite a few of our past recipients have been hired upon graduation at the places where they interned. Students from all majors are encouraged to apply. 

Photo: Jada Aristilde '21 at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.


About the Program

52nd Street Project, New York, NY
American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA
Apollo Theater, New York, NY
Brown University's John Carter Brown Library, Providence, RI
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Center for the Book, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Chadds Ford Historical Society, Chadds Ford, PA
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, VA
George Washington's Mount Vernon, Alexandria, VA
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York, NY
Hagley Museum, Wilmington, DE
Historic Jamestowne, Virginia
Human Rights Campaign, Washington, D.C.
LGBT Center, New York, NY
Library of Congress, Publishing Office, Washington, D.C.,
Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, MD
Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, PA
National Archives and Record Administration, Washington, D.C.
National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, GA
National Park Service - Harper's Ferry, West Virginia  
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
New-York Historical Society, New York, NY
Public Religion Research Institute, Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, Suitland, MD
Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art, Washington, D.C. 
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.
U.S. House of Representatives, Office of the Historian, Washington, D.C. 
Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA
Winterthur Museum, Gardens and Library, Winterthur, DE

The Explore American Summer Internship Program (formerly known as Comegys Bight) provides Washington College students with unique opportunities to integrate their academic work with real-world practice, resulting in experiences that often change their life paths. Click here to hear, read, and see more about our interns' past adventures. 

MacKenzie Brady ’21: Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art, Washington, D.C.
Maria Betancur Cardona ’20: New-York Historical Society, NYC
Julia Clifton ’22: Winterthur Museum and Gardens, Winterthur, DE 
Lorna Cummings ’23: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD
Jillian Curran ’22: American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA
Gaviota Del Mar Hernández Quiñones ’20: U.S. House of Representatives, Washington. D.C.
Liz Hay ’22: Society for Women’s Health Research, Washington, D.C.
Michael Hershey ’21: Chadds Ford Historical Society, Chadds Ford, PA
Elizabeth Lilly ’21: American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA
Jaime Morris ’21: George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Alexandria, VA
Leah Morris ’21: Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, NYC
Nicole Noce ’21: Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE
Megan Walsh ’21: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD
Tamia Williams ’21: National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, D.C. 

Check back on February 1 for listings! 

Application Materials 

We will begin accepting applications on February 1, 2021. 

1. An information sheet is required and will be available for download on February 1, 2021. It must include a ranked list of desired internships in order of preference . You may be considered for multiple positions. A listing of current 2021 internship opportunities will be posted beginning in February as well. 
2. A cover letter (1-2 pages) describing your strengths and interests, and explaining how a summer internship will help you to achieve your goals.
3.  A résumé.
4.  A copy of your Washington College transcript (WebAdvisor copies are acceptable).

  • Applications are due by March 1, 2021 and should be submitted by email to:
  • Please submit your application in a single PDF or Word document.
  • Please continue to check this website throughout the month of February, as more internship opportunities may be added as they arise.

Studies from a wide variety of majors are encouraged to apply. The Starr Center will consider applications from former interns, however applicants must articulate how the second internship would build on the previous one, rather than simply being a repetition. Most positions are open to students of all class years, including graduating seniors, although preference is given to sophomores and above.


Stipends for selected interns will be dependent upon the length of the internship, up to a maximum of $4,500 (based on ten, 40-hour work weeks). These funds may be used to cover living expenses during the internship period or spent/saved at the recipient’s discretion.


Due to the COVID pandemic, the 2021 internship listings include experiences that are remote, in-person, or hybrid (virtual work with limited in-person days). Please select your preferences accordingly. Due to the uncertainty of the coming months, please note that in-person positions may convert  to remote at any time. Students are encouraged to list at least three partner institutions on their information sheet. Selected interns will arrange their start/end dates directly with their host institutions. Most institutions have some flexibility in scheduling, although a few will need their interns to start by a certain date.


Recipients are required to complete a survey and evaluation of their summer experience, to attend a dinner with the fellowship donors, and give an oral presentation on campus the following fall. Academic credit for these internships may be available on an individual basis through the office of the Assistant Dean for Academic Resources.

Selection Process

Applications will be reviewed by a faculty selection committee looking for exceptional ability and commitment, excellent academic record, pronounced interest in/knowledge of subject area, strong oral and written communication skills, demonstrated maturity and reliability. The Starr Center will notify applicants if they have been selected on or before March 15, 2021.

The number of students selected as interns will depend on donor support and other factors. The Starr Center will work to place interns in one of their preferred positions, although we cannot guarantee that each intern will ultimately be matched with one of their top choices.

There will be a Student Information Session held via Zoom on Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. To obtain the Zoom link for the session, students should check their email the week of February 1 (email from Amber McGinnis) or find the link inside the event on CampusGroups.

For more information about specific positions, questions about the application process, or any other questions about the Explore America Summer Internship program, please contact:

Amber McGinnis 
Assistant Director for Communication & Outreach
The Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience