Charles H. Percy Summer in Washington Program

The IOP's Charles H. Percy Summer in Washington Program provides summer-long programming in Washington, D.C. for UChicago students interning in politics, public service, government, and other related organizations during the summer months. 

Each summer more than 80 Institute of Politics students participate in paid, career-oriented internships in Washington, D.C. Through the Charles H. Percy Summer in Washington Program, these students engage in substantive summer-long programming in the nation’s capital. They attend weekly discussion programs with top political leaders and policy makers; learn from issue-based and career-oriented seminars; participate in an extensive alumni mentoring program; and visit Capitol Hill, think tanks, cabinet agencies, and newsrooms to see politics and public service in action.

Since the program’s inception, students have visited the White House, the U.S. Department of Labor, CIA, American Enterprise Institute, PBS NewsHour, USAID, Brookings Institution, POLITICO, and the Huffington Post, among many other organizations.

“The Summer in Washington program has been one of our great success stories so far,” says IOP Director David Axelrod. “It gives students the chance to engage hands-on each summer with the issues, people, and organizations they care about.” The program is supported by a generous gift from Sharon Percy Rockefeller, honoring the legacy of her father, the late Charles H. Percy (AB ‘41), a distinguished alumnus, past Trustee of the University, and former three-term Republican United States Senator representing Illinois.

The Program

Seminars: Summer in Washington includes a diverse set of weekly evening seminars that reflect on different relevant issues of national importance. Seminars are built to best leverage the expertise of the speaker, and vary from lectures and informal discussion groups to panel discussions and guest lectures. UChicago students interning in DC over the summer will have the opportunity to moderate the seminars.

Site Visits: Each week, Summer in Washington offers UChicago students the opportunity to attend a site visit in DC. Site visits aim to highlight the range of public service careers available in Washington DC. UChicago students will be able to visit a range of places including private organizations, government agencies, and NGOs.

Mentorship Program: UChicago students will have the opportunity to foster interaction with UChicago alumni living in DC through the Summer in Washington Mentorship Program. The Mentorship Program offers alumni an exciting opportunity to engage with the IOP and UChicago by meeting with an intern throughout the summer. Alumni may also wish to mentor UChicago students by hosting office hours for interested interns, or participating in any other Summer in Washington events.

Community Engagement: In addition to interacting with alumni and leaders in District, Summer in Washington offers UChicago interns the opportunity to engage with the community through service and exploration. Through community engagement, UChicago students will have a fuller understanding of the city and all it has to offer.

Social Events: Summer in Washington will offer students the opportunity to gather with one another and share their own experiences in DC through multiple social events. Social events, such as bike tours or picnics, will provide UChicago students with a different perspective of DC that is not work-related.

Get Involved

If you are a student working in DC over the summer... Our Charles H. Percy Summer in Washington Program will begin in June 2019. In the meantime, contact Scott Davis, Program Coordinator of Career Development, at with any questions.

If you are an alum… SIW wouldn’t be a success without the support of UChicago alumni in DC. If you are interested in attending SIW events, or participating in the program in the future, please fill out the following survey letting us know how you would like to be involved. Thank you!

In keeping with the University’s commitment to diversity and the free and open pursuit of knowledge, Summer in Washington incorporates a broad array of political views and offers diverse policy perspectives. For more information on Summer in Washington, please contact Scott Davis, Program Coordinator of Career Development, at

Download the PDF overview on the IOP Summer in Washington Program