TN Legislative Internship Program Applications Now Open
For more than 50 years, the Tennessee Legislative Internship Program (TLIP) has provided students from across the state with the opportunity to experience Tennessee politics firsthand and contribute to the democratic process by serving as interns in the Tennessee General Assembly. At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TLIP is jointly administered by the Howard H. Baker Jr. School of Public Policy & Public Affairs and the Department of Political Science.
“If you really want to understand how something works, there is no better way than to participate,” said Jon Ring, director of undergraduate studies at the Baker School. “TLIP challenges students to grow in ways that are difficult to capture in a classroom, building the momentum they need to succeed in their next stages.”
Through TLIP, students will be assigned to legislative offices for the session of the TN General Assembly for the period of January 8 until April 26, 2024. Interns will work side by side with legislators and their staff on a full Monday – Friday schedule. Duties vary from office to office but could include bill analysis, constituent work, research, and general office work.
“My biggest takeaway from the internship was learning the contrast between expectation versus reality,” states Anna Ree Darby, a senior who interned for Senator Richard Briggs in the 2023 session. “My preconceived notions about the law, how it is created, and how it is executed changed quickly once I got to the Capital.”
Outside their internship duties, they will be expected to attend weekly intern meetings; some will include guest speakers, while others will be site visits and networking events. Students can register for 12-15 hours of academic credit during their semester internship. The Baker School and the Department of Political Science collaborate to offer students courses that provide support and context for their internship experience.
“TLIP provides an excellent opportunity to explore career opportunities in government,” states Patricia Freeland, professor and associate head of the Political Science Department. Former interns report that the experience and contacts gained from TLP helped them find employment after graduation.”
TLIP is open to students enrolled as a junior, senior, graduate, or law students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applications are open now until September 22nd. For more information on the TLIP program, eligibility, and to apply, visit the Baker School’s TLIP page.