Hamilton Scholars

The premier student advocacy leadership program offered by The Talent Lab at FIU in Washington, D.C. 

The Hamilton Scholars Program is a selective opportunity for FIU Honors College student advocates who are seeking to make an impact in the issue area about which they are most passionate and launch their careers during an academic semester in person in the nation's capital.

The Hamilton Scholars cohort will consist of a wide cross-section of majors, including from the arts, social sciences, and STEM fields. The Scholars will be essential Members of the FIU in Washington, D.C. team, both helping advocate for FIU research priorities and host signature national programming to advance those priorities.

Selected scholars will:

  • Complete a paid internship in the Washington, D.C. area
  • Receive a scholarship to assist with expenses 
  • Take and receive 3 academic credits for the Honors College Washington Seminar course which includes a real-world policy advocacy project FIU research advocacy project. (Project example from Spring 2023 cohort)
  • Network through regular professional development sessions and mentorship

In addition, Hamilton Scholars can enroll in internship credits through their home department and/or online courses needed to stay on track for graduation.

Register for a Hamilton Scholars Information Session!

Fall 2024 Information Sessions will be posted here when announced.

  • Who Should Apply

    The Hamilton Scholars Program is intended specifically for current FIU undergraduate Honors College students who:

    Are able to commit to:

    • Living and working for a Spring or Fall semester in Washington, D.C.
    • Actively applying to paid, DC-based internships related to your policy and career interests.  You must show that you have already submitted applications to two internships in order to schedule a group interview for the program.  Hamilton Scholars are active partners in finding and applying for relevant internships, with the full support of the FIU in DC team's network, resources, and guidance.
    • Enrolling and excelling in the Washington Seminar, in-person course scheduled weekly in Washington, D.C. This will include a policy advocacy project in collaboration with FIU’s Office of Governmental Relations.
    • Supporting the university’s advocacy in one of the research themes below, which, will also include taking a leadership role in planning, hosting, and executing signature national programs.
    • Attending and actively participating in FIU in DC professional development events, and small group mentorship/networking interactions arranged by the FIU in DC team.


    Meet the following requirements: 

    • A strong interest in a career in Washington, D.C. after graduating, especially for the purpose of making a positive impact on society
    • 60 credits earned
    • A 3.3 GPA or higher
    • No financial, academic, or disciplinary holds
    • Priority will be given to participants of an FIU in DC fly-in

    And, whose policy interests align with FIU in DC's priority advocacy areas.

    When applying, prospective scholars will select one of FIU in DC's priority federal advocacy areas listed below.  Special consideration will be given to applicants with evidence of previous work, research or leadership in these areas.  Students whose policy interests who do not already directly align with one of these areas are welcome to indicate a willingness to learn more about these areas, and how they envision their own work could relate.

    • Population Health and Health Equity
      • Health Disparities
      • Brain Health
      • Environmental Neuroscience
      • Community Healthcare
    • Environmental Resilience
      • Water Quality
      • Coastal Ecosystems
      • Transportation Infrastructure
      • Extreme Events (Disaster Resilience) 
    • STEM Education
    • Innovations in Defense-related Technology
      • Biomedical Engineering and Advanced Neural Prosthetics
      • Advanced Materials research
    • Latin America and the Caribbean
    • Cybersecurity
    • Small Business
    • Higher Education Policy
    • Global Forensics, Justice, and Trafficking


  • How To Apply

    Be sure to have the following information and documents prepared prior to accessing the application link at the bottom of this page.


    • Cumulative GPA
    • # of Credits
    • Your public policy or issue area of passion, and how it relates to our priority issue areas (listed in the previous tab)
    • What internships you have already applied to and are you in the process of applying to


    • Resume, emphasizing any work relevant to your public policy passion area
    • Letter of Reference, emphasizing any work relevant to your public policy passion area 
      • Letters can be uploaded directly by you to the application form 
      • If your recommender prefers to send it directly to us, it can be emailed to fiuindc@fiu.edu.
      • If you need more time for your letter, please still apply by the deadline and email fiuindc@fiu.edu with the name and contact information of the person who has already agreed to do a letter.
    • Essay (detailed instructions below)


    In order for the selection team to understand your commitment to your issue area, upload an essay, no longer than one page, detailing:
    • A public policy issue that you believe needs to be changed relating to one of FIU’s priority federal advocacy areas
    • Why you are interested in this issue?
    • What national DC-based organizations, Congressional committees, and federal agencies have jurisdiction or are active over this issue?
    • The current laws/regulations in place, and a brief statement of the current problem(s)
    • What you've done so far to engage with this issue (courses, research, advocacy, volunteering, etc.), and what DC-based organizations are advocating on the issue, that you'd like to intern for or network with?

    (Include at least two sources, at least one of which is from a DC-based organization)

  • The Washington Seminar Course

    Hamilton Scholars will enroll in IDH 3034: The Washington Seminar, a three-credit Honors College course offered  in-person in Washington, D.C. 

    The course will meet weekly in the evenings, one day per week,  from 6:00-7:15pm.

    Being an Honors College student is not a requirement to apply for Hamilton Scholars. Honors College students can count this as their IDH course for the semester! Accepted Hamilton Scholars who are not existing Honors College students will be invited to discuss the possibility of applying to the Honors College or alternate, customized options for enrolling in this course for credit.  

    The Washington Seminar course will:

    · Provide students with the opportunity to experience Washington, D.C. using the city as the classroom.

    · Provide students a firm foundation of Washington, D.C. as the epicenter of political, economic, international relations, technology, and culture.

    · Prepare students to launch their individual career in Washington, D.C. by exposing them to career tracks, options, jobs, etc.

    · Incorporate key leadership lessons by having weekly guest lectures, and experiences as part of the class experience.


  • Internship Placements

    Prospective Hamilton Scholars and the FIU in DC team will collaborate on securing a paid internship for the student.  Prospective Hamilton Scholars should not wait until being accepted to the program to apply for internships, and must apply to at least two internships prior to accepting a Hamilton Scholars interview.  Please refer to these links and deadlines as a starting point toward a policy-oriented internship. This is a sampling of where Hamilton Scholars and other FIU students have interned in the recent past and is not an exhaustive list of possibilities.

    Congressional Internships - Member Offices

    Rep. Mario Diaz Balart

    Rep. Carlos Gimenez

    Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar

    Rep. Frederica Wilson

    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

    Rep. Sheila Cherfilus Mccormick

    Congressional Internships - Third Party Programs

    Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute

    Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute 

    Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

    Think Tanks, Advocacy Organizations, and Trade Associations

    Partnership for Public Service 

    U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

    Heritage Foundation

    American Foreign Policy Council

    Federal Agencies

    Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities

    National Internship Program (HNIP)

    Arts & Humanities 

    Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

  • Housing

    Students are responsible for arranging their own housing contracts and are not required to use a specific provider. Students are encouraged to research and compare housing options to best meet their financial and geographical preferences. The Resources section of our main Internships page offers a wide variety of companies and directories dedicated to intern housing.


  • Ruth & Glenn Hamilton

    This program is named in honor of Ruth and Glenn Hamilton.  Ruth Hamilton began her career with the university in 1980 as Assistant Director of Activities, and continued to advise and support the Panther community until her retirement as Director of the Graham Center in 2014.

    Since then, Ruth and her husband Glenn have been the leading supporter of FIU students interning in Washington, D.C. via the Make a Difference-DC Scholarship Fund.  This Fellowship program is made possible by the generosity of the Hamiltons.

Priority Deadline will be May 10, 2024 and final deadline will be Friday, June 7, 2024.

Final Deadline: Friday, June 7, 2024. Applying by the priority deadline provides us ample opportunity to work together to identify paid internship opportunities and resolve any academic schedule issues related to your semester in DC.