Professor offers help with applying for federal paid internships

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Workshops are scheduled for students and faculty

By Andrew Casas

Sylvia Deleon, coordinator for the public administration program, wants more students to apply for federal paid internships, she said Sept. 19.

Deleon said she is willing to help students apply.

Deleon was selected this past summer by the U.S. Department of Agriculture  to receive the 2019 E. Kika De La Garza Education Fellowship.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture logo. Courtesy

She spent two weeks in Washington, D.C., for the fellowship where she had seen first-hand policymaking and research at the USDA, Department of Labor, NASA and other federal agencies.

Deleon plans to use what she learned in the fellowships workshops to help her students and any other students interested in applying for these federal paid internships.

In Deleon’s 29 years at this college, she has helped 51 of her students prepare applications, and all received merit-based paid internships in government positions, she said.

These internships were in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Huntington, West Virginia, and New York City

Deleon said the internships are 10-weeks courses in the summer or 15 weeks in the spring or fall. The internships require students to have 30 college hours and a 3.0 GPA. Weekly pay, which is a 40-hour work week, is distributed biweekly. For students achieving an undergraduate degree, the pay is $580. For students pursing a graduate degree it’s $650.

Interns will stay in dorms and the cost will be taken out of their weekly pay.

Deleon said the internships can become permanent positions.

“All of my students, 51 of them were all asked to stay in D.C.,” Deleon said.

“We prepare our students very well for these particular opportunities.”

One student stayed in the nation’s captial to finish a bachelor’s degree, Deleon said.

“Rosa Garay is now a regional director at EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity) in Dallas,” Deleon said.

Dr. Anthony Hancock is another student who went to one of the internships.

”He now is the vice chancellor of the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia,” she said.

Deleon pointed out that these federal internships open a lot of doors. Now her plan is to share her information.

“Students can apply for these internships no matter their major,” she said.

Working for a federal agency has benefits paid for by the employer, such as retirement. She said for the retirement system and benefits, there’s a pension where the employer pays for the benefits. These benefits only apply to jobs relating to a city, county, state or federal agency.

Deleon plans two workshops.

One will be for faculty at 1 p.m. Oct. 16 in Room 306 of Oppenheimer Academic Center. She will share her experiences and tips for encouraging  students to apply for internships.

On Oct. 22., the workshop is for students at 12:15 p.m. in Room 308 of Oppenheimer.

 Jerry Gonzales, a former public administration student, will talk about his experiences with internships in Washington, D.C., and will encourage students to apply for the internships.

Dr. Mike Flores, Alamo Colleges chancellor, will speak to students as well.

 “These opportunities are there for students,” Deleon said. “It’s just convincing the students to leave San Antonio is the tough part. I had to talk to my students into going, and everyone that has gone, they loved it.”

 Applications include a professional edited résumé, an essay and answers to problem-solving questions.

Deleon prepares her students with writing and mock interviews. Deleon encourages students to have an updated résumé on file.

“You never know when opportunities knock, so always be prepared,” she said.

Deleon said the interviews are by phone call or through Skype.

“Usually the student will get nervous in these interviews, but we already prepared them to answer these questions with poise,” Deleon said.

Deleon wants students to know that if they miss a phone call from the interview they will be skipped. She also wants students to use a professional email and to be cautious on what they put on social media.

“Also, do not use your student email for these internship or any job you are applying to,” she said. “Once a student graduates, the email is no longer active.”

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities offers internships, Deleon said. Students do not have to be Hispanic to apply.

“There’s other ways you can apply, but HACU hires the most students. At least 400 or 500 per semester, sometimes to 1,000 nationwide and Puerto Rico,” she said.

For more information, call Deleon at 210-486-0192 or email


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