US onAir Internships
US onAir internships are sponsored and supervised by Democracy onAir, a nonpartisan, student-focused, 501c3 nonprofit providing trusted information on governance and elections and an online town square to facilitate more civil, collaborative democracies. Over the past four years with the help of George Mason University faculty, staff, and alumni, Democracy onAir has been working with student interns to develop the US onAir network of 50 state governance and elections Hubs and national US onAir Hub.
The fall 2022 US onAir Internship program is designed to help US students and the public become more informed and engaged voters for the November 2022 elections by way of the US onAir national Hub and state Hubs like this North Carolina onAir Hub. Many of our recent interns have continued working with Democracy onAir in management positions.
We encourage student interns to integrate their internship with their intern courses for credit, class projects, capstone projects, and research work. A five hour per week commitment through Nov. 8 is required for this internship. After Nov. 8, interns can reduce their time commitment especially the week before final exams. All work is done online and unpaid.
Next semester our plan is to have some paid fellowships as well as new onAir networks in democracies throughout the world with a focus on Asian democracies such as South Korea, India, and Taiwan.
Here is a 2 minute video about US onAir internship opportunities.
Fall 2022 Intern Opportunities
State & US Hub Leaders
State & US Hub Leaders
In September and October, interns will interact with candidates in their state’s US Senate, US House, Governor, and other state-wide races as well as in the national US onAir Hub doing the following:
- Oversee the curation of politician, issue, committee, and other Hub posts
- Oversee the producing and moderating candidate and race aircasts (student produced, livestreamed zoom discussions) and editing videos based on these aircasts
- Oversee the establishment and coordination onAir chapters at NC colleges and universities
After Nov. 8, interns will similarly interact with elected representatives, emphasizing finding common ground on key issues and legislation.
State onAir Hub Managers
Students in their home states can become the team leaders for their state Hub as well as Curation, Aircasting, and Chapter outreach managers. Go to the state you are interesting in interning and select the second post on the home page to learn more about the opportunities in your state.
About US onAir
US Students of all ages now have a platform to better communicate with their elected officials – their goals, ideas, and projects for how to improve the lives for All of U.S.
The US onAir curators aggregate and organize the best publicly available information on federal and state governance and elections. You can learn about YOUR federal and state representatives as well as other federal and state candidates and representatives. You can also learn about the legislative committees and issues you are interested in and the nonprofit organizations promoting democracy and citizen engagement.
As an onAir member, you can participate in forum discussions in posts on Hubs that have student onAir Curators moderating the discussions to keep them civil and positive. You can also discuss your concerns and ideas as part of a live zoom meeting with representatives and candidates.
Work with your public university to engage with US onAir and and the democratic process through curating posts, moderating forums, producing online interviews and discussions as well as donating to and sponsoring the US onAir network of state Hubs.
Participate in aircast discussions that seek common ground with your fellow citizens and representatives on issues important to you.
To learn more about the US onAir network, go to this post.
Why Become a Intern?
The primary fellowship benefits beyond helping to reinvigorate US democracy are intended to be career-enhancing:
- Fit your interests & strengths w/ our opportunities
- Learn about current issues, governance, & elections
- Develop your communication & technology skills
- Improve your collaboration & leadership abilities
- Interact & network w/ politicians and their staffs
- Visibility in your field; potential contact with thought leaders, organizations, and potential employers
- Career opportunities with Democracy onAir and US onAir as Hub Directors.
- Have a post about yourself with PDFs and videos and place in the Hubs where you want to discovered
Fellowships are mostly virtual with weekly online meetings. Since most, in some cases, all of the fellowship work is done remotely, students are on an honor system as to the hours they report to us. Part-time interns do not receive any monetary compensation. Significant effort is made by intern supervisors to meet the learning objectives of the intern’s academic programs.
The fellowship is intended to be a learning experience as much as it is a work experience. Fellows will deepen their knowledge of democratic processes in individual states as well as the United States as a whole. Interns will also gain a better understanding of contemporary politics and issues, whether they are local, regional, or national.
Primary internship opportunities involve curating posts, aircasting, and outreach in Hubs you are interested in. Depending on the number of hours required for an internship or project and on the interests and strengths, interns can engage in one or more of the following opportunities:
- Gathering and posting information on committees and representatives in congress and state legislatures;
- Provide up to date and relevant new articles, livestreams, commentary, videos and more;
- Moderate forum discussion in posts
Curate an issue post
You can learn more about issues important to you by assisting in the curation of the relevant posts on US onAir.
Write about and compile information on an issue of interest to you that has been started by US onAir.
Learn how to create a post and curate information and news items regarding a chosen issue that will be addressed by the 2021 US Senate and US House.
You can provide background on the issue, associated organizations and corporations, major perspectives, and current legislative efforts. You can cover a new aspect to the issue, such as public opinion, related events (e.g. hearings, town halls, etc), or details on a piece of legislation.
Reaching out to representatives interested in the issue is recommended.
Content should be unbiased, though common perspectives should be represented. Separate opinion/advocacy pieces will be available later.
Example issue post: Climate Change
Curate a politician post
You can learn more about your US politicians and their staffs by assisting in the curation of the relevant posts on US onAir.
Curate new information on a politician, especially ones who represents you.
Learn how to curate information and news items regarding a politician. Information that might be curated:
- Any updates to staff, contact information
- Record (voting, elections, fundraising)
- Positions on issues
- Sponsored legislation
- Media coverage
Example politician post: David Bulova
Aircast Producers, Directors, & Moderators
Aircasts are Zoom meetings with a host, featured guests, student discussants, and an online audience livestreamed to the public and archived as YouTube videos in this Hub and YouTube channels. Be a aircast host, director, discussant, and producer who oversees the livestreams and video production for aircasts on:
- Issues you are interested in and relevant for your state e.g. this aircast on Climate Change and Governance.
- News and issue-related aircasts like this one on ranked choice voting;
- Online interviews with state and congressional representatives e.g. this interview with VA state senator Barbara Favola;
- Produce aircast on state and congressional committees e.g. this interview with members of the VA General Laws Committee;
Speak Up Managers & Video Editor
Managing Speak Up Contests … 1-minute videos where citizens tell their representatives what they’d like done about issues. Assist students and the public with producing and editing their 1 minute presentations.
Social & News Media Managers
Creating One minute Educational videos … and shared on social media and onAir such as Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram.
University Chapter Organizers
Setting up & managing university “Students onAir” chapters to engage student volunteer curators, moderators, and discussants
State Hub Managers
- Serve as team leader for your state’s hub e.g. VA Democracy onAir;
- Outreach to other universities, organizations, and other groups in your state such as these universities;
- Start an OnAir chapter at your local university;
- Communicate with and work in tandem with other State Hubs in the US onAir Network;
- Coordinate State Hub curators and moderators.
Nation Hub Managers
We are also starting onAir networks in other countries such as Ukraine onAir. After the November 8th elections in the US, there will be more intern opportunities to be part of Hubs in other countries. Contact Ani Prakesh at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about these intern opportunities.
Help manage a Hub’s revenues and expenses and work with the nonprofit Democracy onAir.
Computer science and information technology students can assist with the software development behind the onAir digital democracy network platform as well as to enhance server management, cybersecurity, and user engagement/analytics efforts. Contact Scott Joy at email@example.com for further information.
The Internship Experience
This discussion occurred among GMU fellows from the Spring 2022 Virginia Fellows cohort. It was led by Eve Armstrong, US onAir Internship Director and was part of her Sociology research practicum on how internships work for today’s youth.
The first eight minutes of the discussion were one minute videos by each intern talking about their internship experience and what they would recommend to future interns.