InnovateGov Service-Learning Internship

 Applications available here (Note you do NOT need a recommender) 

InnovateGov prepares and delivers MSU’s most vital resource – talented and motivated students – to Detroit’s civic institutions while providing our students with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to do real and impactful work on the city’s most critical social challenges.

The Context: A Changing Detroit

Downtown Detroit is bursting with investment and energy: new developments, pro sports stadiums, high-end retail, and hip coffee shops.  Yet just blocks away, many neighborhoods continue to suffer the effects of a decades-long downward spiral.  This duality – the tension between new ideas and the day-to-day experiences of residents – presents an immense challenge to the city’s civic leadership.

Our Mission                               

InnovateGov was launched in Summer 2015 in response to this challenge.  Over the last three summers, we have embedded nearly 100 MSU students from 17 academic units alongside key decision makers in 32 distinct Detroit civic organizations.  Our students provide the city’s civic leaders with the critical capacity and human capital necessary to tackle high-impact projects that help to build a thriving and equitable future for all Detroit residents.

Program Nuts and Bolts

  • The program runs for 10 weeks during the summer.
  • Faculty and staff work with civic partners to place students.  In 2017, our civic partners spanned more than a dozen local government departments (e.g., Detroit Public School Community District, Mayor’s Office, Department of Neighborhoods, Office of Immigrant Affairs, Department of Health) and eight non-profit and L3C organizations (e.g., Data Driven Detroit, Detroit Future City, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and Community Development Advocates of Detroit).
  • Students stay in Wayne State University (WSU) dorms at no charge to the student.
  • In previous years, students have received a combination of the following: need-based scholarship, WSU meal card, and resources to defray living, work, and transportation expenses.
  • Students take a 4 credit project-based research/writing course (PLS 422), plus 3-6 internship credits.  This is commensurate with a 30-35 hour workweek.
  • Faculty leaders work with students and their supervisors to achieve a common goal: the development and production of a deliverable – a high-impact project that improves upon the way our civic partners work on a difficult social, political, economic, or institutional challenge.
  • Student are paired with an MSU alumni mentor
  • Each Friday, students attend an exciting cultural, professional, recreational, or social event around the city.
  • The program runs from May 14th- July 20th

Application and Contact Info

Complete the application on the College of Social Science Study Away website.  InnovateGov has no application fee.  Applications are due February 18th.  

For more information, please contact:

Dan Casey-Dunn
Service Learning Coordinator
College of Social Science
201 Berkey Hall
Sarah Reckhow
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
S. Kedzie Hall 306
Joshua Sapotichne
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
S. Kedzie Hall S310



 To make an appointment, please click here.

Please note when applying for this program there is no application fee and
no recommendation letter
is required.

Picture5.jpg   Picture2.jpg