Demmer Scholars

Are you interested in natural resources, science and public policy? Applications are OPEN for the 2024 cohort of the William A. Demmer Scholars Program which includes a related course and internship in Washington, D.C., during summer 2024.

The Demmer Scholars Program course runs from May 20 - Friday, Aug. 09, 2023, and will be in person.

The William A. Demmer Scholars Program started in 2009, and each year about 25 students intern at number of high-profile agencies and groups. The goal of the program is to provide students with exposure to and experience in policy making on a national level related to natural resources and conservation.

Apply to be a Demmer Scholar

The Demmer Scholars Program is a competitive process open to upper-level undergraduates and graduate students.

Applications are typically posted in the fall and are open until late October for the next year's Demmer Scholars Program. Interviews are a part of the application process and typically take place in early November.

Applications are currently OPEN.

How to Apply

  1. When open, complete the online application to submit your resume and cover letter by Oct. 29, 2022.
  2. Attend the program overview meeting on Oct. 27, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. in the Natural Resources Building, Room 223.
  3. Applicants will participate in an in-person interview during the first two weeks of November.

Apply to the Demmer Scholars Program

Program Details

Demmer Scholar Program alumni are changing the world on policy at a time. 

Since its inaugural program more than 200 Demmer Scholars have participated in the summer program. Many stay in Washington, D.C., and more than 50 are employed in government and non-government natural resources positions there following graduation.

Participating students come from majors in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, James Madison College, College of Social Work and others. (This program includes students from Michigan State University and Mississippi State University.)

Demmer Scholars Course

All participating students enroll for the 3-credit summer course ANR 491: Selected Topics-Internship -- Washington, DC: Elements of Federal Policy Development in Natural Resources.

The course will be taught by Program Director Mark Rey through one two-hour lecture and discussion session each week, augmented by 10 Saturday field trips designed to ground class participants in the policy-making arena. Students learn how each branch of federal government, as well as non-governmental groups -- including the media -- affect the development and implementation of federal government policy in the natural resources area.

Internships & Partners

Demmer Scholar participants also complete a 12-week, 40-hour per week paid internship with a government or non-government organization active in natural resources policy making in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Interns earn between $1,000 - $1,500 per month depending on the internship. Students are responsible for their own transportation to D.C., lodging and other living expenses.

“Through these internships, the students get real-world experience, see classroom principles applied in practice and make valuable career contacts for educational and employment opportunities in the future,” said Mark Rey, the program director.

Some of the Demmer Scholar partner agencies and organizations include:

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • House Natural Resources Committee
  • National Science Foundation – Office of Legislative Affairs
  • Senate Agriculture Committee
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Forest Service – Legislative Affairs
  • White House Council on Environmental Quality

Contact Information

For questions about the program, contact Demmer Program Director Mark Rey at Rey is an Executive in Residence in the MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Rey can also answer questions about the Demmer course content, the schedule or internships.

For questions about the application or interview schedule, contact CANR Assistant Director for Undergraduate Programs Stratton Lee at