AVMA government relations student externships

APPLICATIONS FOR 2021 externships have closed.

The AVMA extern program pairs talented veterinary students together with the AVMA Government 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.

Externs will discover the scope of veterinary medicine in the various branches of the government while expanding their understanding of the legislative process and the veterinarian's role in that process.

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 a $1200 stipend for each student who is selected as an AVMA GRD extern.

What do AVMA government 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!

2021 externship dates

  • March 1-26, 2021
  • April 12-May 7, 2021
  • May 3-28, 2021
  • June 7-July 2, 2021
  • September 7-October 1, 2021
  • October 4-29, 2021

The application deadline for these externships has closed.

Do I qualify?

Yes, if you:
  • 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
  • Are a U.S. citizen
To be successful you also need to:
  • 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?

Application forms are available on this webpage when the application period is open.  A complete application package includes these elements:

  • Completed application form
  • Personal statement (strictly limited to 300 words) explaining your motivations to apply to the AVMA GRD Externship program and what you would like to gain from the experience.
  • Completed case study (strictly limited to 500 words)
  • 2-page resume (CVs will not be accepted)
  • One letter of recommendation* from a veterinarian (professor, mentor, or supervisor) familiar with the student’s academic record. Recommendation letters must be submitted in an envelope sealed by the recommender or emailed to the AVMA GRD directly from the recommender.
    *Note: If multiple letters are received for one applicant, only the first letter received will be considered.

Please email questions to externshipatavma [dot] org or contact AVMA's government relations team at 800-321-1473.