The Wallerstein scholarship & internship program is a collaboration between the Virginia Municipal League, the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, and the UVA Internship Placement program

2021 applicants can find more information about available positions through Handshake and the UVA Internship Placement Program (IPP).

Apply for 2021 Positions


lightbulb animation Ruth C. and Morton F. Wallerstein established the Morton F. Scholarship Fund at the University of Virginia in 1973 to foster interest and research in Virginia local government. Approaching its 50th year of operations, the scholarship fund, through its internship program, annually engages UVA students in policy research and analysis as well as in organizational management and operations within the context of local governing and community service organizations. Advancing the capacities of these organizations to be data-driven, innovative, and impactful is central to the mission of the Weldon Cooper Center and to the Virginia Municipal League.

The program also offers opportunities for graduate students and leaders already employed in governance to conduct research to advance their professional practice while contributing to the policy and research priorities of the Weldon Cooper Center.


The internship program aims to equip students with hands on public service and policy experience, to support their professional development, and to provide the Commonwealth of Virginia with practical, useful research. 


These internships and opportunities will be offered based upon applicant interest and qualifications. Interest in local government can be demonstrated by past experience with internships, volunteering, relevant research, or by a brief essay defining an interest in local government.

Undergraduate Students

The internship program for undergraduate students offers the following credit-bearing and paid opportunities annually through the UVA Internship Placement Program:

  • One full-time summer internship placement at the Virginia Municipal League (paying $5,000 in tuition and a $5,000 stipend)
  • Two full-time summer internship placements in local governing organizations across the Commonwealth (paying $2500)
  • Two academic year internship placements in local governing organizations for ten hours per week (paying $2500 per year)

The undergraduate internships are both credit-bearing and paid. To participate in the internship and receive credit for it, students must register for the required IPP course and pay the tuition and fees. Undergraduate interns will be expected to meet the requirements of the Internship Placement Program and to contribute positively to public service in the Commonwealth of Virginia through their placement.

Learn About Undergrad Internships

Graduate Students

The internship program includes four one-semester placements offered to UVA graduate students through the PhD+ program to work in research and direct service under the supervision of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. One of these students, annually, will be engaged in a research/service project specified by the Virginia Municipal League. PhD+ program participants will be expected to present their research to the Cooper Center at the end of their program. This program is designed to provide PhD candidates at the University of Virginia exposure to public service and a chance to explore opportunities outside of their chosen academic fields while applying their knowledge and expertise to public service.

Learn About the PHD+ Program

Scholars in Residence

The Scholar-in-residence position is proposed to connect scholars and practicing public servants within the Commonwealth of Virginia, to support rigorous and practical research in the public service arena, and to give the Commonwealth of Virginia access to practical, helpful, top-notch research.

Consistent with the wishes of the Wallersteins, the scholarship fund shall offer every two years a Weldon Cooper Center Scholar-in-residence position (ten hours per week) for a researcher, scholar, or governance professional who shall contribute to the research priorities and goals of the Weldon Cooper Center and release a paper (or other format) report on their research during that biennium. 

Previous Wallerstein Scholarship Essays

Joanne Kim

When I think about the word 'emergency,' I can draw the images of the fire department, police department, and EMT in my head. However, it was more than that. The work that the Office of Emergency Management puts
before and after the event/disaster is incredible...

Joanne Kim
Kiersen Mather

I approached my first local government internship seeking to learn hard, nitty-gritty research skills. I wanted to learn “how the sausage is made,” and to be certain, a colleague hit me with this cliche within three days of my start...

Kiersen Mather
Javaria Abbasi

The Albemarle County Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) is quite new; it was only established in the fall of 2018. Its mission is two-fold: first, to address existing disparities in community access to resources and services; second, to unearth the narratives of racial minorities that were systematically excluded from the historical record...

Javaria Abbasi


Virginia Municipal League

Sandy Harrington


Weldon Cooper Center

Larry D. Terry II, Executive Director
Michael Phillips, Associate Director
Charles Hartgrove, Virginia Institute of Government


University of Virginia Internship Placement Program

Rebecca Coulter