Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics 2015 Political Scholarships and Awards

Diana Chudacoff Levin Award, Kam Kuwata Award for Political Involvement,

 Coady Scholarship for Summer Interns,  Independent Spirit Award 

The political internship scholarships and awards include the Diana Chudacoff Levin Award, Kam Kuwata Award for Political Involvement, Coady Scholarship for Summer Interns and Independent Spirit Award. All internship awards and scholarships will be applied to internships during the summer semester and the award amounts will vary by each award recipient.

Internships provide exciting opportunities for students to gain direct hands-on experience in the worlds of politics, government and public service. Interns develop insight into the nature of political institutions and learn about important policy debates while building invaluable relationships with potential future employers. Internships are available with elected officials, political consultants, non-governmental organizations, state and local government agencies, environmental organizations, political parties and campaigns, interest groups, political media and more.

Diana Chudacoff Levin Award

The Diana Chudacoff Levin Award provides support to outstanding students who would like to explore the real world of politics through an internship experience. Students who demonstrate an interest in the political process and whose aspirations include future civic engagement are most likely to be successful in the highly competitive selection process. Interns may take positions in political and governmental offices in the Los Angeles area, Sacramento, Washington D.C., and other locations in the United States. All internships must be unpaid. Those selected will enroll in POSC 395: Directed Governmental and Political Leadership Internship, and must fulfill the course requirements. Award winners will receive a generous stipend and/or 2 units of tuition credit to be applied to POSC 395. 

Kam Kuwata Award for Political Involvement

The Kam Kuwata Award for Political Involvement will be offered to a student or students who have demonstrated a strong interest in politics, government, or public service. The Kuwata Award will provide them with financial support to students whose interests include electoral politics, political advocacy and organizing, and other relating fields. 

Coady Scholarship for Summer Interns

The Coady Scholarship for Summer Interns provides funding to sophomore and junior students with demonstrated financial need, who are pursuing a major or minor through the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Awardees will be selected to participate in internships with a focus on political service or social activism as part of the Gateway Internship Program. The Gateway Internship Program enhances students' summer internship experiences by offering mandatory seminars focused on career exploration and leadership development, which be can be completed remotely. For more information on the Gateway Internship Program, please visit:

Independent Spirit Award

The Independent Spirit Award will be granted to a student or students whose internship endeavors demonstrate an entrepreneurial vigor and visionary approach to solving public policy challenges. The award will support students who have internship placements with organizations or offices that have pioneered reform policies or programs that aim to make lasting change. Candidates will be expected to make the case for why their political internship is particularly innovative. 


All awards are open to undergraduate students of all majors currently pursuing degrees at USC with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants must not graduate before the end of the 2015 Summer Semester. Internships must be unpaid or low-paid and students must work a minimum of 25 hours per week. 

While it is not required to have an internship confirmed when submitting an application, students must have applied to a number of possible internships and have a strong area of interest or specific internship placement in mind. As these are competitive awards, in addition to exemplary academic work, candidates should demonstrate an interest in politics, government or public service, as shown through means such as:

  • attending and/or organizing political events (especially on-campus events)
  • prior political volunteerism
  • political internships
  • politically-related student activities
  • attendance and/or participation in Unruh Institute events
  • having or are planning to enroll in POSC 395
  • 3518 Trousdale Parkway, Von KleinSmid Center 263, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0045
  • Phone: (213) 740 - 8964
  • Fax: (213) 740 - 3167
  • Email: