Weldon Cooper: Communication and Media intern


The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at University of Virginia works to improve governance and community life throughout Virginia through applied research, leadership development, and direct partnerships with communities and organizations across the state. The Center’s values include access, collaboration, community, and impact – all of which require a robust and multi-faceted communications strategy. The Center’s in-house Media Team makes video and audio content to help promote and tell stories of the impact of the Cooper Center’s different departments. We create videos that go on to the Weldon Cooper Youtube Channel that tell stories of impact or describe the work that the Cooper Center does. We also create a podcast entitled Intersections in Public Service that hosts various people involved with the Cooper Center to talk about how the work they do relates to public service goals and ideas. We tell the stories of what the Cooper Center does to create awareness and accessibility to the public.


The Weldon Cooper Center Executive Team will sponsor this internship using Morton C. Wallerstein funds dedicated to inspiring work in public service.


PhD Plus interns will help us communicate the public service work of the Cooper Center to a wide and diverse audience. We aim to give the general public a deeper understanding of what public service looks like in action and to utilize the writing, research, interviewing, and creative expertise of interns to draft scripts, conceptualize projects, and deliver at least one completed project at the conclusion of the internship.

Career Development 

This internship will prepare intern for careers in any of the following

  • Communication and outreach
  • Digital Media
  •  Publishing


The interns will contribute to the creation of content including podcasts and videos, and will be invited to participate in communications strategy meetings to help shape Center's priorities in this area. They will be given a topic and a client with whom to make a project. The client will be one of the public service units here at the Cooper Center. They would participate in content strategy meetings to identify audiences, establish a message, and plan content creation. Then they will draft a script for that video/podcast addressing the messages and audiences identified in the content strategy meeting. The script they produce will then be recorded and turned into a video/podcast by the rest of the media team. (Optional) Interns can participate in the recording and editing process if they wish.

Skills Development

This internship will provide experiences to develop and polish the following skills

  • Communication to diverse audience
  • Inter-disciplinary team collaboration
  • Project management and leadership
  • Writing and research storytelling
  • Content Strategy and Marketing

Mentoring Plan

Larry Terry, Executive Director of the Cooper Center, and Meredith Gunter, Director of Strategy and Public Engagement will collaborate with Claire Downey in the Center's Media Team to mentor the interns in high level attention to effective and strategic communications, resulting in learning associated with how communications are prioritized, developed, and sustained; how audiences for different types of communications are identified; and low-cost, specific strategies for effective communications about all aspects of our work. This mentoring will be grounded in theories of public administration and organizational management.

Claire Downey will mentor the interns in the production of the communications through the media team. The goals of this part of the mentorship would be to facilitate initial meetings and communication with other departments – who are our “clients”, organize content strategy and teach how to develop it through content strategy meetings, and assist with overall project management, a process the intern will be expected to learn and oversee. She will also provide mentorship on the use of media editing software and use of media equipment.

Desired Qualities

Broad understanding of any of the following is desired

  • communication 
  • digital media
  • working with nonprofits 
  • writing and journalism
  • project management

Duration and Effort

The internship will commence in Summer at an average effort of 20 hours per week for 10 weeks. The internship may be extended in Fall at an average effort of 10 hours per week for 20 weeks. Hours of effort would be broken up between different projects in various stages or Interns would take on a full project of their own depending on their interest. 


The internship provides $5000 per semester funded by Morton C. Wallerstein scholarship