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Program Details


Participants gain knowledge, skills, academic credit, and practical work experience through this comprehensive and intensive program. While working full-time for a government agency or private firm in an academically supervised internship, students earn 6 credits in the summer term (9 credits during the fall and spring semester programs). American University provides full academic support for the internship and additional course work in the evenings. In addition to making connections in DC, participants meet other AI/AN/NH students from across the country through the full support of a multi-cultural campus environment.

A meaningful internship experience is at the heart of the WINS program and provides professional, real-world work experience. Special arrangements are made with a variety of federal agencies, private firms, and American Indian /Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) organizations to provide a focused, academically-supervised internship experience for WINS participants.

Academic courses are designed specifically for the WINS program and focus on issues important to AI/AN/NH communities through a combination of lectures, discussions, relevant readings, research projects, and guest speakers.

Cultural and social activities take place throughout the program, beginning with an extensive orientation and culminating in a farewell banquet. Recent summer events have included picnics with advisory board members and internship supervisors and a summer powwow to honor WINS participants. In their free time, students are encouraged to take advantage of the nation’s capital by visiting notable landmarks such as the National Museum of the American Indian, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and Capitol Hill.

Quotes from Recent WINS Grads

Not only do I feel as if I have a greater awareness of opportunities available to me and to Native students, but I feel better prepared to take advantage of those opportunities, which is just as important, if not more.
Bobby Joe Smith III
Hunkpapa/Middlebury College

I have great respect for Native people who change their lives by moving to DC to work. I know the hardships of leaving family to go East.
Naomi Kasto
Cheyenne River Sioux/United Tribes Technical College

My internship was a thrilling experience. It was very helpful in my career decisions for the future. It allowed me to explore the research world.
Jamie Thomas
Creek/Oklahoma City University

The WINS experience has had a tremendous impact on my professional life. The combination of the federal Indian policy course and, my internship at the National Indian Gaming Commission has given me tremendous insight into my career aspirations and helped solidify my goals.
Corey Hinton
Passamquoddy/Colgate University

I feel that this experience is a vital part of the circle known as my life.
Beatriz Reyes
Navajo/University of Oklahoma

My favorite part of the program was definitely the dorm life. Living in a dorm with 70 Natives around my age from across the nation was an opportunity I've never had before. Besides all the fun had after work and classes, this experience helped to frame my own goals within a larger Indian Country context.
Kevin Giddens
Cherokee/Baylor University



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