Weldon Cooper: Virginia Municipal League internship


Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia


The  Cooper Center serves communities, governments, and organizations across the state and nation with policy research, data analysis, leadership development, and technical assistance to public leaders. In this internship, we hope to bring a student into our partnership with the Virginia Municipal League, a voluntary nonprofit, nonpartisan organization created to improve local government in urban communities; an agency designed to promote the interest and welfare of municipalities through investigation, discussion and cooperative effort; an organization designed to promote closer relations between cities, towns and urban counties; a clearinghouse for information; a municipal consulting service; and a medium through which local officials of all cities, towns and urban counties can cooperate in improving municipal administration. VML's primary mission throughout its history has been to serve as a legislative advocate for Virginia localities.


The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service


The intern will work on a priority project identified jointly by the Weldon Cooper Center and the Virginia Municipal League. This project will benefit the mission, goals, and impact of the League in serving member localities across Virginia. The work may involve legislative/issue analysis; research on a topic of import to cities, towns, and urban counties; the development of curriculum for strengthening urban leadership; or other topics identified by the sponsoring organizations. The intern will be invited to bring his/her research and analytical skills, interest and background (if any) in local or state government or planning, and fresh perspective to creating impact through our programs and services.

Career Development 

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

  • Government
  • Non-profit
  • Advocacy and Policy
  • Consulting
  • Data Science
  • Communication, outreach and publishing


The intern will learn, from an inside post, the functioning of an advocacy organization. In this case, in particular, the individual will learn about the needs and priorities of urban municipalities, their relationship to their surrounding counties and the state, and the priorities they have for supporting their members and advancing the needs of urban centers to the benefit of their citizens. The individual in this role will also be a member of the Cooper Center team working to serve the needs of our clients and partners through the Virginia Municipal League; will see how we establish and maintain goals for that partnership; and how we maintain communications and effectiveness working together long term on projects of mutual interest.

The individual in this role will also gain a broad understanding of the field of public service and of state and local governance.

Skills Development

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

  • Communicating to diverse audience
  • Inter-disciplinary team collaboration
  • Problem solving and analytical
  • Project management and leadership
  • Thought leadership and innovation
  • Marketing

Mentoring Plan

Larry D Terry, Executive Director of the Weldon Cooper Center and Sandy Harrington, Government Relations Associate for the Virginia Municipal League will provide mentoring to this intern. Michael Phillips, Associate Director of the Weldon Cooper Center and Director of the partnership with VML, along with Charles Hartgrove, Associate Director of the Virginia Institute of Government (the Cooper Center's office in Richmond) will contribute to shaping the internship activities and mentoring the intern.

Desired Qualities

We encourage student with background or interest in public policy, Government and politics, background to apply. Broad competence in writing and communications, analytical skills and project management skills are desired. 

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, if of mutual interest. The internship can also begin in Fall based on prospective intern's preference


The internship provides up to $5000 per semester in wage raplacement or augementing other fellowship support.