The Harkin Institute offers two scholarships for Drake University students pursuing internship opportunities in Washington, D.C.

Scholarships are available for undergraduates, graduate students and law students.

The Harkin Institute D.C. Experience Scholarship

The Harkin Institute D.C. Experience Scholarship was established in 2014 to honor Senator Harkin’s legacy by providing financial assistance to Drake undergraduate students with financial need who have secured a summer internship in a non-profit organization, congressional office or government agency in Washington, D.C.

The Robert J. Waters and Patricia J. Beneke Endowed Washington, D.C. Experience Scholarship

This scholarship was established in memory of Bob Waters – Senator Harkin’s former Chief of Staff – by his wife and daughter. This scholarship supports Drake students with internships in Washington, D.C., to enable undergraduate or graduate students (including law students) with an interest in and commitment to public service to work with congressional or executive branch federal government offices or private organizations engaged in addressing:  delivery of universal, high-quality health care; enhanced human, women’s, LGBTQ, and civil rights; improved civic engagement and effective governance; expanded disability rights; a strong system of accessible public education; and sustainability, environmental protection and climate change.

Applications are now accepting on a rolling basis!

The deadline to apply for a Summer 2024 scholarship is April 1, the Fall 2024 deadline is June 1, and the Spring 2025 deadline is October 1.

In addition to filling out the application above, each applicant must provide:

  1. A typewritten statement not to exceed 500 words. Your essay should include:
    • A brief summary of the internship you will be completing or hope to complete
    • Why you chose or are pursuing this internship placement 
    • How you hope the internship will benefit you in your future education or professional career 
    • Any special financial information you would like the board to consider
  2. A copy of your resume.
  3. A recommendation letter from a member of the Drake University faculty. 
  4. An unofficial copy of your transcript from Drake University.
  5. A signed financial aid release form. Please note, your financial aid information is kept confidential. It is reviewed by a staff member in Drake’s Office of Student Financial Planning to determine an applicant’s financial need. If you would like to know more about your financial need status before applying, contact Denise Stowman at 
    If you are in need of an ADA accommodation, please contact The Harkin Institute at 515-271-3688 or email


Please contact us for any questions regarding the scholarship or the application process at:

Address: 2800 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311

Phone: (515) 271-3623


Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.