Georgetown’s Institute of Politics and Public Service at the McCourt School of Public Policy plans to partner with the television network Telemundo to launch a stipend program to award six students $3,000 grants for unpaid summer internships in politics, media, government, public service or journalism.
José Díaz-Balart, a fall 2017 visiting fellow and host of Telemundo, donated his stipend from GU Politics to better facilitate opportunities in public service for a wider range of students, according to GU Politics Executive Director Mo Elleithee. The fund also benefits from a donation from Telemundo, the network for which Díaz-Balart is a newscaster.
GU Politics seeks to grant the award to students whose background or experience suggests that they contribute to the diversity of the Georgetown University community and could extend those contributions to a summer internship, according to a GU Politics news release about the internship fund.
The goal of the internship fund, which will be named for Díaz-Balart, will be to increase accessibility to careers in public service.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to support students in their academic development at Georgetown, a unique and extraordinary institution,” Díaz-Balart said in an April 4 news release. “I am honored by this partnership, which enables future leaders to pursue and secure competitive internship opportunities.”
Unpaid internships are not possible for many students due to socioeconomic constraints, Elleithee said. Through the José Díaz-Balart internship fund, GU Politics hopes to alleviate those constraints.
“We’re hoping that we can really help a handful of students who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to take an unpaid internship or who might be struggling to take an unpaid internship,” Elleithee said in an interview with The Hoya. “To the extent that we can encourage more people to get into public service regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds, we should be looking for opportunities to help those persons to do so.”
Each semester, GU Politics selects five individuals who are practitioners in public service to spend a semester as fellows at the Institute. Díaz-Balart was named the inaugural visiting fellow by GU Politics in fall 2017 for his work as an advocate for public service through journalism. Visiting fellows spend a shorter period of time on campus compared to resident fellows, who are on campus for a full semester, according to the GU Politics website.
“As soon as he and I had our very first conversation about him being a GU Politics fellow, we knew it would be a great fit,” Elleithee said.
Díaz-Balart has been a news anchor since 1996, and he was the first Cuban-American to host a newscast when he became the anchor for the CBS News program, “This Morning.” Prior to his current network news program position as anchor for Telemundo’s Spanish news program “Noticiero Telemundo” and public affairs program “Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart,” he worked as an anchor at CBS and MSNBC and served as the NBC News Senior White House correspondent.
Díaz-Balart came to campus four times throughout the fall semester and always brought a fresh perspective to the conversation, Elleithee said.
“Here’s a guy who’s the only person right now who is an anchor in both English language and Spanish language news,” Elleithee said. “He really treats it as a form of public service, and he brought with him a commitment to having discussions around diversity in public life.”
As with resident fellows, students interacted with Díaz-Balart in the fall through discussion groups, open office hours and student strategy teams.Díaz-Balart also brought in distinguished speakers several times over the course of the semester across several fields of public service.
One such discussion group featured a Skype conversation between Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).
“It was a really fascinating, engaging conversation about the need to increase diversity in politics,” Elleithee said.