Resources for... William & Mary
William & Mary W&M menu close William & Mary

City Research Scholars Internship

Ready to act locally to tackle our greatest global challenges?

Take your interest in nonprofit management, public policy, human services, or local government to the next level by becoming a City Research Scholar.  Scholars receive $4,000 to complete ten full-time weeks of intern and research activities during the summer. Successful applicants will be matched, according to their interests and previous experience, with partners, who will then have the opportunity to vet final candidates through interviews.  This opportunity is open to all W&M undergraduates.

Applications are no longer being accepted for Summer 2023.  Applications for Summer 2024 will be available beginning Nov. 1, 2023.

Interns will be placed in the following internship opportunities for Summer 2023. 

thumbnail City of Williamsburg

wc,1During the 2020 State of City address, Mayor Douglas Pons unveiled a new vision statement for City of Williamsburg, charting the City's course for the future: "One Williamsburg that is courageously leading, innovating a modern city, prioritizing safety and wellness, engaging with our partners, while connecting with the world."

To advance the City's vision, every two years the Williamsburg City Council identifies and adopts new strategic objectives for City government. The biennial Goals, Initiatives, and Outcomes (GIOs) provide an expression of City priorities, as specific and measurable as possible, covering a two-year period.

Internship descriptions

The City of Williamsburg has two internship opportunities in areas that align with the City's top priorities:

  • Smart City Initiatives – The City is seeking a student researcher to identify ways in which the City can deploy smart city technology to better understand city attributes as a way of guiding policy decisions. Topic areas for smart city infrastructure include parking management, trash collection, maintenance code violations, air quality, lighting control, trail and bike path usage, and many more. The student will need to research other innovative city installations and catalog uses while considering appropriate applications in Williamsburg. The work product is a final report, including recommendations.
  • Carbon Emission Reduction – The City is seeking a student researcher to help develop the Strategic Targeted Action for Reduction (STAR) sustainability program. The student will be responsible for identifying sustainability changes to the physical and programmatic landscape of city government, establishing a carbon reduction for each change, and helping to define a quantified 13-step progression of carbon reduction. The STAR program is designed to be the City’s next sustainability ladder and serve as a model for other local governments to consider. 

For an example of the kind of project a City Research Scholar would be engaged in, read about the experience of History major Jack Boyd '23, whose research with the City paved the way for the creation of a future Williamsburg African American Heritage Trail.

Preferred skills, experience, and interests

  • Excellent organizational, research, and communications skills.
  • A strong interest in public service, community development, public policy, or related field.
  • Previous coursework in Government, Political Science, History, or related field.
  • Collaborative, team player

Learn more about the City of Williamsburg's goals here.

lat-house-thumbnail Latisha's House Foundation


Latisha’s House provides a long-term, transitional housing program for adult, female survivors of sex trafficking and offers individualized support to empower them to build a bridge from their traumatic past to a positive future.

Internship description

Latisha's House Foundation has an internship opportunity in Williamsburg, Virginia, in the area of nonprofit management.

This internship is designed to introduce students to various aspects of nonprofit management, with a range of potential research projects informing Latisha's House Foundation fundraising, communications, outreach, and organizational analytics and strategic planning efforts.  The intern will be able to design a research project that aligns with their interests and serves the mission of Latisha's House.

Preferred skills, experience, and interests

  • Interest in nonprofit management
  • Interest in understanding and preventing sex trafficking locally and regionally
  • Excellent organizational, research, and communications skills
  • Outstanding time-management skills

Learn more about Latisha's House Foundation here.

lfl,thumb1 Literacy for Life

lfl-rodolfo-sarmiento-and-lenola.jpgIlliteracy or low literacy can limit a person’s opportunities in life. Even seemingly simple tasks like helping a child with homework or reading a medicine bottle can remain out of reach if you can’t read or speak English.  But through free and low-cost tutoring programs, as well as job support, health literacy lessons and much more, Literacy for Life is opening new doors for members of our community.

Literacy for Life empowers adults by building foundational skills for success in life and work. Volunteer tutors provide free, individualized instruction in reading, writing, math, and English language skills. Literacy for Life also offers tutoring and classes in health literacy, financial literacy, digital literacy, high school completion, work readiness, and citizenship. Our vision is that every adult in our community has access to the skills and resources they need to live thriving and self-sustaining lives.

Internship description

As Literacy for Life approaches its 50th anniversary, we are interested in telling the story of the agency through the personal history of learners, and also to examine those learners' experiences, looking for patterns that might help us better understand what factors contribute to positive (or not positive) outcomes. The intern will create a survey, identify learners from previous decades, implement the survey, conduct interviews, and examine survey results. At the end of the project, Literacy for Life staff hope to have a better understanding of the factors that contribute to positive program outcomes along with a roster of "alumni" who are willing to share their story as part of upcoming anniversary celebrations.

Preferred skills, experience, and interests

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Experience conducting research using primary sources
  • Knowledge of survey creation, implementation, and analysis
  • Second language is helpful, but not required

Learn more about Literacy for Life here.

vpfb,thumb1 Virginia Peninsula Foodbank

 vpfb,1Virginia Peninsula Foodbank is committed to helping neighbors struggling with the hardships of food and nutrition insecurity by providing services and education to partner agencies and to our community through accurate information and quality food products, while reducing waste and caring for the environment.

Internship description

Virginia Peninsula Foodbank (VPF) has an internship opportunity focused on education, data collection and analysis, and community-centered communications.

VPF is seeking an intern who will research, create, and conduct a health equity survey for neighbors in need.  The intern will also have the opportunity to research and redesign VPF's culturally relevant foods survey.

Preferred skills, experience, and interests

  • Previous experience in data collection, analysis, and/or process improvement
  • Strong interest in health equity, nutrition, and/or cultural relevancy
  • An independent self-starter who is detail- and community-oriented
  • Computer skills

 Learn more about Virginia Peninsula Foodbank here.

wfm,thumbnail2 Williamsburg Farmers Market


wfm,1The Williamsburg Farmers Market's mission is to sustain, foster, and operate a weekly farmers market in Merchants Square for growers and producers to sell fresh seasonal food and farm products direct to consumers in the Williamsburg, Virginia, area.

Internship description

Williamsburg Farmers Market (WFM) has an internship opportunity in the area of data collection/analysis and process improvement. 

WFM is seeking to update the methodology with which it determines the impact of the market on the community through customer counts, trickle economics, environmental impact, etc.  The intern will assist with research, implementation, and evaluation of new methodologies.

Williamsburg Farmers Market works closely with the City of Williamsburg, Merchants Square Association, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Visit Williamsburg, Williamsburg Downtown Association, Second Sunday Art & Music Festival, and other partners, and plans to share the information and/or methodology gained through this intern/internship with these partners.

Preferred skills, experience, and interests

  • Previous experience in data collection, analysis, and/or process improvement
  • Strong interest in the impact a farmers market can have on surrounding businesses and communities
  • Curiosity about how things work and a desire to improve processes
  • A self-starter with excellent time-management skills
  • Excellent observational and record-keeping skills

 Learn more about Williamsburg Farmers Market here.

hm,thumb2 Williamsburg House of Mercy

hm,1 Williamsburg House of Mercy provides quality compassionate human services to all people, especially the most vulnerable, regardless of faith. We provide a safe and welcoming environment for area homeless to find respite, receive services, and work toward ending their homelessness, and emergency assistance and supportive services to those struggling to maintain housing and regain stability.

Internship description

Williamsburg House of Mercy has an internship opportunity in the area of data collection/analysis, strategic planning, and community engagement.

The intern will research and present findings on the awareness of clients, board members, staff/volunteers, and community members of House of Mercy program and local poverty.  The intern will compare data collected with the organization's mission statement, as well as create strategic goals to better align and to raise community awareness and engagement, with an eye toward long-term sustainability.

Preferred skills, experience, and interests

  • Excellent written and communication skills
  • Previous experience with survey writing and implementation skills
  • Working knowledge of Excel, particularly with pivot tables
  • Working knowledge of electronic survey programs (e.g., SurveyMonkey, LimeSurvey, etc.)
  • Interest in human services (food security, housing, homelessness)

Learn more about the Williamsburg House of Mercy here.

About the City Research Scholar Program

As City Research Scholars, William & Mary students participate in distinctive applied learning opportunities that hone their research skills while furthering the missions of local organizations.  Through creative partnerships, we seek to create distinctive experiences that put classroom learning into practice in ways that better our world.

City Research Scholars internships are designed to be substantive and transformative.  Host institutions provide mentored research experiences that align with their needs and strategic objectives.  Students are expected to apply and practice what they learn by contributing to the creation of an original project (e.g., report, digital initiative, etc.) that reflects the latest methods and best practices in the field.

Internships may include applied learning opportunities in the areas of program development, data collection and analysis,  community engagement, or nonprofit management and leadership, etc.


Applicant must be:

  • a student in good academic standing.
  • a continuing undergraduate student (i.e., not a graduating senior).
  • eligible to work in the United States on or before May 1 of the internship year.
  • available to complete ten full weeks of intern and research activities in the summer.
  • Internships will have a research component with specifics to be arranged with the internship supervisor. Students receiving internship funding are required to blog about their research experience during the summer on the Charles Center Summer Research Blog.
  • Students are required to participate in the annual Fall Undergraduate Research Symposium, typically held at the end of September. 

Your application for the City Research Scholars internship includes:

  • City Research Scholars Internship Application form (online)
    • You will be asked to enter the names of two references :
      • One reference must be a faculty member who has taught you in class.
      • A second reference may be a former supervisor, acquaintance, etc. who can speak to your ability to be successful in the internship.
  • Cover Letter, addressed to the Charles Center, explaining the following:
    • why you are interested in the City Research Scholars internship
    • the skill sets, academic preparation, and special interests or experiences you possess that qualify you for the internships you selected
    • why you consider yourself a good fit for your chosen internships
    • your personal qualities that make you suitable for this opportunity
    • how this internship relates to your career and academic goals
    • what you hope to gain from this experience
  • Writing sample, ranging from 3 to 5 double-spaced pages
    • The writing sample should be a reflection of your ability to conduct research and craft an argument using primary and/or secondary sources. This can be an essay for a class, independent research, a journalistic article, etc. 
  • Resume
  • Banner (unofficial) transcript
    • To access your unofficial transcript, log in to Banner at, navigate to the “Student” tab, select "Student Records" and then “Student Profile.” On the left-hand menu of your student profile, click “Unofficial William & Mary Academic Transcript.” Select “Undergraduate” and “Web Self-Service” on the drop-down boxes. This will take you to your unofficial transcript; right click anywhere, select “Print,” and select the destination as “Save as PDF.”

Applications are no longer being accepted for Summer 2023.  Applications for Summer 2024 will be available beginning Nov. 1, 2023.

For more information or questions about the internship program, please contact Maxwell Cloe at