Demmer Scholars

The William A. Demmer Scholars Program started in 2009, and each year about 25 students intern at number of high-profile agencies and groups. The goal of the program is to provide students with exposure to and experience in policy making on a national level related to natural resources and conservation.

Applications are currently CLOSED.

Applications are typically posted in the fall and open until mid-October for the next year's Demmer Scholars Program. Interviews are a part of the application process and typically take place in early November.

Program Details

Demmer Scholar Program alumni are changing the world on policy at a time.

Since its inaugural program more than 200 Demmer Scholars have participated in the summer program. Many stay in Washington, D.C., and more than 50 are employed in government and non-government natural resources positions there following graduation.

Participating students come from majors in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, James Madison College, College of Social Work and others. (This program includes students from Michigan State University and Mississippi State University.)

Demmer Scholars Course

All participating students enroll for the 3-credit summer course ANR 491: Selected Topics-Internship -- Washington, DC: Elements of Federal Policy Development in Natural Resources.

The course will be taught by Program Director Mark Rey through one two-hour lecture and discussion session each week, augmented by 10 Saturday field trips designed to ground class participants in the policy-making arena. Students learn how each branch of federal government, as well as non-governmental groups -- including the media -- affect the development and implementation of federal government policy in the natural resources area.

Course Meeting Dates

The course begins in May and ends in August. If meeting in person for class is not possible, an online course (synchronous) will be provided.

Internships & Partners

Demmer Scholar participants also complete a 12-week, 40-hour per week paid internship with a government or non-government organization active in natural resources policy making in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Interns earn between $1,000 - $1,500 per month depending on the internship. Students are responsible for their own transportation to D.C., lodging and other living expenses.

“Through these internships, the students get real-world experience, see classroom principles applied in practice and make valuable career contacts for educational and employment opportunities in the future,” said Mark Rey, the program director.

Some of the Demmer Scholar partner agencies and organizations include:

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • House Natural Resources Committee
  • National Science Foundation – Office of Legislative Affairs
  • Senate Agriculture Committee
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Forest Service – Legislative Affairs
  • White House Council on Environmental Quality

For questions about the program or application process, contact Demmer Program Director Mark Rey at