Washington Center names state top university system

Katherine Wade

Along with the other seven public universities in Kentucky, WKU helped the state become the 2011 University System of the Year by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.

Saundra Ardrey, head of the political science department and WKU liaison to The Washington Center internship program, said WKU has the largest number of students in the state who get internships with the Washington Center.

She said she is thankful for the recognition the award will bring to WKU.
    “It acknowledges our participation in the program and the hard work that has gone in to make the program a vibrant one here,” she said.

The Washington Center, which was established 1975, is a nonprofit organization that helps hundreds of colleges and universities provide students with internships and other opportunities for academic credit in Washington, D.C.

Ardrey said WKU usually has between seven and 11 students intern with the Washington Center every summer and two or three each semester. She said there are three WKU students there now.

According to a press release from the Council on Postsecondary Education, Kentucky’s state universities have partnered with The Washington Center for seven years. During that time, they have collectively sent 130 students to the capital for work and learning experiences.

Mike Smith, president of The Washington Center, said in the press release that Kentucky is a true model for other states.

“Kentucky’s university system has worked hard to make The Washington Center program within reach for students, offering scholarships and academic credit arrangements,” he said.

Ardrey said the students’ experiences with The Washington Center have been positive.

“They have such a large selection of placement,” she said. “We’ve had students do internships in government, non-profit organizations, corporations, and even some internships abroad.”

Ardrey said The Washington Center helps students make the connections they need for their careers, and many have even been offered jobs after completing their internships. She said she hopes this award will allow the program to continue to grow.