Internships are a milestone in the academic path. 

Securing an internship has always been a practice that requires effort and patience. An internship is a way for students to learn valuable skills and ethics. 

Otherwise, it’s difficult for students to obtain that practical experience. Students are often hesitant to apply for internships. 

How can someone with no experience gain experience?

Spencer Kleeberg, a senior in political science, previously interned for the Tennessee Legislative Internship Program (TLIP) as a legislative intern. Kleeberg advises that students research and keep their options open. 

Although the TLIP is a legislative program, Spencer described his experience of interning with students who were not political science majors like himself.

Kleeberg suggested that students should “learn as much as [they] can while [they] are there.”

He also emphasized that students should have solid experience with their references and interest in their internship field.

The campus may also have to reconcile with the idea of internships becoming remote in response to COVID-19 concerns.

Yet, the campus proves time after time that our students, faculty, and staff defeat the odds.

Individuals across our campus have secured on-ground and virtual internships and shown the flexibility that comes with being a Gov.

Sahil Goklaney, another senior in political science, virtually interned over the summer of 2020 at Pay Your Tuition Funds as a web developer/user experience testing intern. 

Goklaney’s internship was hosted through The Washington Center (TWC) based in Washington, D.C., yet he was able to complete the internship from Clarksville.

From the virtual experience, Goklaney gained communication, networking, leadership, and time management skills. Goklaney is confident that he would do another virtual internship.

Sydney Hawkins, a senior in communication arts, is currently enrolled in a virtual internship through TWC. 

Hawkins interns at Local News Now LLC as a communications intern.

Similar to Goklaney, Hawkins is enjoying her virtual internship from the comfort of her own home. 

Both Goklaney and Hawkins emphasized the need to remain open-minded to the opportunities that could assist in student success.

“There’s always a way to make your dreams come true.” Hawkins clarified stating, “It may not always look like what we imagine it will look like, but sometimes those are the best experiences.”

Hawkins also suggests that individuals pursue internship opportunities by distinguishing themselves and reaching out to professionals within a career field. 

Email communications and LinkedIn connections are one way to find a point of contact in a career area.

The application window for the TLIP has passed; however, the TLIP and TWC will host internships again in the Spring of 2020. 

If interested in any future internship opportunities with these programs, students should contact Dr. Matthew Kenney at

In general, reaching out to professors, campus alumni, and professionals in specific career fields is an efficient way to find an internship.

As stated by Hawkins in her words of advice, “Be persistent.”