22nd-Century Scholars Program

22nd-Century Scholars Program

Virtual summer internships help UVA students gain experience in public service

During the first summer of the pandemic in 2020, the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, the Weldon Cooper Center/Sorensen Institute, the Miller Center, the Democracy Initiative, the Batten School, and the Career Center teamed up to offer a first-of-its-kind virtual public-sector summer internship program to help students who lost summer internships due to COVID-19. The program continues with a hybrid approach, offering both in-person and virtual opportunities.


The five-week long program includes 50 currently enrolled UVA undergraduate students (rising second, third, and fourth-year students) who are interested in working in the public sector. Each student is assigned to one of five public-sector units of the University: the Center for Politics; the Miller Center; the Democracy Initiative; the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; and the Sorensen Institute.

Through this innovative program, students gain hands-on experience and have access to additional resources, such as career development sessions led by the UVA Career Center and webinars and networking opportunities with policymakers, non-profit leaders, and other guests. Each student is paired with a UVA alumnus/a mentor.


During the first three weeks of the program, students work at their designated participating unit. Programming criteria and internship requirements vary by unit, but students may be tasked with submitting a final project such as a white paper and/or a digital exhibit and/or a digital conference (open to the public) on themes to be assigned at the unit level.

Student interns work with supervising units to assist in specific unit-level projects and also assemble weekly on designated days for hour-long, day-specific educational programming.

During the final two weeks of the program, the entire cohort comes together to work on a virtual exchange program with a delegation of undergraduate students from Iraq.


Each student will be assigned to a participating unit, based on their indicated preferences on their application.

The Center for Politics: The University of Virginia Center for Politics is the nation’s preeminent institution for the study and promotion of civics education and political participation. Founded in 1998 by University Professor Larry J. Sabato, the mission of the Center for Politics is to educate and inspire the public to actively engage in practical politics and other civic affairs through programs that are unique, compelling, and open-minded.

The Miller Center: The Miller Center is a national, nonpartisan institute that seeks to expand understanding of the presidency, policy, and political history, providing critical insights for the nation’s governance challenges. Our scholars engage in research and writing that provides unparalleled insight into contemporary public policy debates. We are the sole source in the country of the oral histories of each presidential administration since Jimmy Carter's, and the annotated transcripts of the secret White House recordings made by Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership: The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership was founded in 1993 to bring together diverse individuals with a passion for politics and public service. All have a wide variety of viewpoints and backgrounds but want to work together for the common good. Our non-partisan mission is to strengthen and enhance the quality of government at all levels throughout Virginia. At the heart of every Sorensen program are three central themes: ethics in public service, the power of bipartisanship, and a concentrated study of public policy issues.

The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy: At the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, we are committed to solving the world’s toughest policy challenges. We know the complex issues of our time demand innovative, collaborative, cross-sector relationships within our walls and beyond. Our multidisciplinary approach to problem solving and emphasis on ethics reinforce our focus on how leadership works, why context matters in decision-making, and which actions lead to tangible results. We also know a preeminent, forward-looking leadership and public policy school will only flourish in an environment that includes individuals with different backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, and we are committed to becoming an inclusive, welcoming and supportive community.

Democracy Initiative: The University of Virginia’s Democracy Initiative aspires to excellence in integrated research, teaching and public engagement on democracy at a global scale—bringing together a diverse range of scholars, government leaders, and practitioners to study and advance the prospects of democracy around the world. Democracy can endure only with a broadly educated electorate and leaders prepared to serve the common good. UVA’s establishment in 1817 is inseparably linked to the nation’s bold experiment with democracy—as well as its unfulfilled promises. In this sense, the University’s history, current efforts, and commitment to the future—like that of the American republic more generally—is both inspiring and challenged, promising and in need of completion. Our history uniquely positions us to be the global center for the study of democracy’s successes and failures, opportunities and threats, and to influence policies that strengthen democracy at home and worldwide.

Have questions? Reach out to Alfred Reaves IV at ar2vc@virginia.edu.

2021 interns

Meet the latest class of 22nd-Century Scholars

Jaden Evans headshot

Jaden Evans

•Double major in foreign affairs and media studies
•Rising third year
•College of Arts & Sciences
•Historical and admissions tour guide at UVA

Geetanjali Gandhe headshot

Geetanjali Gandhe

•Double major in computer science and foreign affairs; minor in Japanese
•Rising third year
•College of Arts & Sciences
•Writes for the Virginia Review of Politics


Ryan Lanford headshot

Ryan Lanford

•Passionate about politics, history, and philosophy
•Rising second year
•College of Arts & Sciences
•Copy editor for the Cavalier Daily


Dante Massimo headshot

Dante Massimo

•Plans to study politics and public policy
•Rising second year
•College of Arts & Sciences
•Member of the Sigma Chi fraternity


Matthew James McConnell headshot

Matthew James McConnell

•Interested in policy relating to criminal justice, policing, and criminal reform
•Rising third year
•Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
•Enjoys reading philosophy


Olivia Morrison headshot

Olivia Morrison

•Double major in foreign affairs and Chinese language and literature
•Rising fourth year
•Writes for WUVA and VROP
•Hopes to attend law school after graduation


Elizabeth Rankin headshot

Elizabeth Rankin

•Double major in public policy and economics
•Rising third year
•Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
•Hopes to attend law school


Henry Schock headshot

Henry Schock

•Studying history and foreign affairs
•Rising fourth year
•Plans to attend law school
•Interested in American Constitutional law


Abigail Schofield headshot

Abigail Schofield

•Double major in history and foreign affairs; minor in sociology
•Rising third year
•Part of the UVA Women’s Center
•Involved in the Asian Student Union


Rahul Sharma headshot

Rahul Sharma

•Major in government and English; minor in architecture
•Rising third year
•Involved in the Virginia Review of Politics, Cavalier Daily, and the Filmmaker's Society

Emma StJohn headshot

Emma StJohn

•Double major in public policy/leadership and economics; minor in history
•Rising third year
•Involved in Turning Point USA chapter, Reformed University Fellowship, Chi Omega, and Madison House


Katherine Thomas headshot

Katherine Thomas

•Major in global studies; minor in French
•Rising third year
•Member of the Washington Literary Society
•Plans to attend the Peace Corps after graduation


Jacob Womack headshot

Jacob Womack

  • Major in foreign affairs
  • Rising fourth year
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • Interested in national security