AVMA Governmental Relations Student Externship Program

The AVMA extern program pairs talented veterinary students together with the AVMA Governmental Relations Division for a four-week program that introduces externs to the breadth of public policy issues facing the profession and provides hands-on lobbying experience with legislators and staffers on Capitol Hill.

It's an opportunity to learn a facet of the profession that you won't find in school – and make a difference in shaping the profession at the same time.

AVMA provides $1200 stipends for ten externs.

Externships run for four weeks. Applicants are asked to select first and second choice blocks from the options below. Note that May and June are the most popular timeframes, so applicants may select one or the other, but not both, when listing their choices.

What do AVMA Governmental Relations Externs do?

Externs learn about federal legislative and regulatory processes and are actively involved in advancing the AVMA's legislative agenda in Washington.

Externs work first-hand on issues that affect the veterinary profession, such as the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, animal welfare, funding for veterinary education, and small business and tax issues. As part of that process, externs work with members of Congress and congressional staffers.

Why be an Extern?

Externs gain valuable knowledge about the issues facing the veterinary profession today and enhance their skill sets and resumes. Externs are asked to problem solve, collaborate, adapt to daily changes in priorities, and influence others – all skills of immense value in every area of veterinary medicine.

What's more, there's no other place where you'll be able to use your unique knowledge and skills to make a difference in legislation that literally impacts thousands of people daily. It's a chance to take the learning from veterinary school and apply it outside of a clinical setting. And have a great time doing it!

2018 Externship Dates

February 5-March 2

March 5-30

April 2-27

April 30-May 25

June 4-29

September 4-28

The deadline to apply will be October 13, 2017

Do I qualify?


  • Are a member of SAVMA
  • Have completed two years of a professional program at a college of veterinary medicine before beginning the externship
  • Are interested in public policy
  • Want to help advance the AVMA legislative and regulatory agenda


  • Think clearly and stay focused under pressure
  • Be results-oriented, with a high drive to meet goals
  • Have excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Relate well to people from diverse backgrounds in varied social settings

How do I apply?

The application for the 2018 AVMA Governmental Relations Externship Program will available in the summer of 2017.  

Please email externship@avma.org if you have any questions or contact Valerie Goddard at 800.321.1473 x 3201

Additional resources

  • Externs on the Hill
    A weblog chronicling the life & times of AVMA student externs in our nation's capital.​​​​​​