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Director's Message


Dear Cornell Student:

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the CIW Program.  I am also honored to be the new CIW Director as of July 1, 2016.  I have been involved with CIW in various ways for the last ten years and look forward to taking on this new role.

I recently read the evaluations of CIW submitted by students after they had completed a semester in DC.  They included many statements like “This was by far the best experience I have at Cornell in the last four years!” and “This is an amazing program, I wish more students knew about it!”  If you are reading this, you now know about it.  And there are plenty of CIW alums on campus who can tell you more… let me know if you want us to connect you.

Here’s a snapshot of the program:  Each semester thirty or so Cornell undergraduates come to Washington for an “out of Ithaca” experience. That experience includes working as an intern, taking small classes with great teachers, and getting to know one of the world’s most interesting cities. Most students come away saying things like the above – a great time in a great place.

Why not join us? If you do, you will be able to get “real world” experience working in a public agency, a private firm, a think tank, a non-profit or another organization of your choosing. Over the years, students have worked in places like: 

  • National Institutes of Health
  • Center for Science in the Public Interest
  • Children’s Defense Fund
  • Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
  • Merrill Lynch: Private Client Group
  • Chamber of Commerce: Business Information and Development
  • U.S. Department of Justice: Civil Rights Division
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Amnesty International: Human Rights Education
  • Brookings Institution: Foreign Policy Studies Program
  • Center for American Progress
  • Voice of America
  • Sierra Club
  • The Climate Institute
  • Talk Radio News Service
  • White House
  • The Federal Reserve Board
  • Federal agencies (various)
  • Congressional offices and committees (various)

And those are just examples. You may find something more interesting. Not only can such an experience help you refine your career goals, but it can quite possibly lead to letters of recommendation, summer jobs, and even a job after graduation.

In addition to this “real world” experience, you will take courses at the Cornell University Wolpe Center so that you still make progress towards graduation. The courses are simply first rate. This is a Cornell program and we who teach in it are proud to maintain the level of excellence that you are accustomed to in Ithaca. Moreover, classes are small, and there is plenty of opportunity to bring Washington into the classroom. That can mean everything from invited speakers, to class trips around town, to lively discussions about today’s headlines. And incidentally, Cornell in Washington can be a great place to discover the topic of an honors thesis and even begin work on it.

Interested? I hope you will consider applying for Cornell in Washington. You can find more information on this website and at our Information Meeting (held on campus each semester), where you can talk to me, other CIW staff, and former CIW students.  And, shoot me an email (dlp5@cornell.edu) and come see me in my campus office, 105A Morrill Hall. I'd be delighted to talk with you.

See you in DC!


David Pelletier
Director, Cornell in Washington