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The Claudine K. Brown Internship in Education

The Claudine K. Brown Internship in Education is funded through an endowed fund in memory of Claudine K. Brown, an educator and influential leader of the Smithsonian. Awardees of the Brown Internship are appointed based on a demonstrated interest in the field of education and museum leadership.  Internships are available for college students, including under-served youth. 


This program was established in honor of the late Claudine K. Brown, former Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, to promote excellence in education and help ensure a diverse education and museum workforce of the future. Brown was a lifelong champion for learners of all ages.  She believed in immersive experiences—that we learn by doing. As Assistant Secretary for Education and Access from 2010 to 2016, Claudine Brown was responsible for defining the institution’s overall education program, especially for K-12 students and teachers.  She worked with more than 300 educators to bring stories, collections, lessons, films, games, and many more offerings to life.


The internships are intended to increase the participation of underserved students who are under-represented in the education and museum leadership field. Interns experience opportunities in the central education office and collaborate with offices, museums, and research centers throughout the Smithsonian Institution where they help to create, develop, and disseminate innovative educational programs and resources at the Smithsonian, online, in the classroom, and in communities.

To be considered for this opportunity, students must be:

  • U.S. Citizens and U.S. permanent residents; and
  • Undergraduate - enrolled as a rising college first year/freshman through rising college fourth year/senior

How it works

Each year, the Office of the Under Secretary for Education (OUSE) identifies new projects for the Claudine K. Brown Internship awardees. In 2024, the Claudine K. Brown interns will have an opportunity to learn through engagement with mentors at the OUSE central education office. In Summer 2024, internships will be offered in-person, in Washington, D.C. for 8 weeks. 


Project Description: Claudine K. Brown Education Intern

As a central office collaborating across the Smithsonian’s 21 museums, 9 research centers, and the National Zoo, the Office of the Under Secretary for Education (OUSE) leads the Institution’s strategy and vision for connecting education audiences to museums. 

In the role of a multi-faceted museum educator, an important aspect of creating programming is well-developed communications and outreach plans. This internship offers student training in content creation and communications strategy for OUSE education outreach initiatives. It also offers training in the creation of a national conference.

By interning with OUSE through the Claudine K. Brown Internship in Education, an intern will strengthen their skills in research and writing within the context of education. During the internship, the intern will be mentored by Ashley Naranjo, M.Ed., to learn about museum education communication and various OUSE projects from the idea phase through the development and implementation phases. By participating in OUSE projects, an intern will learn about developing and disseminating innovative educational programs and resources at the Smithsonian.  

Intern will learn about OUSE’s:

  • Ongoing partnerships with school districts and national organizations; 
  • Coordination and messaging for teacher and caregiver audiences through social media platforms and ongoing partnerships with education platforms, school districts, and national organizations;
  • Education content development, storyboarding and the curation of a print activity guide that features interdisciplinary Smithsonian at-home activities in a national publication; 
  • Education program development and the curation of both digital and in-person support for a publication that features stories and activities from the Smithsonian.
  • Selection and research of feature stories about Smithsonian education in the Smithsonian Magazine “Smithsonian Voices” online blog, including successes from our Together We Thrive grant program.
  • Planning and implementation of the Smithsonian National Education Summit, an annual conference for teacher audiences nationwide; 

Additionally, interns will:

  • Interact with OUSE team members and the community of 300+ Smithsonian educators;
  • Attend planning meetings and brainstorming sessions, as well as twice-weekly mentorship meetings with the program manager; and
  • Write some draft content under the mentorship of OUSE.

Learning Goals for Intern

Upon completion of the internship, Claudine K. Brown interns will be better able to:

  • Understand and apply best practices of education in their area of interest;
  • Support the creative process stages of collaborative education content development;
  • Collaborate with a variety of audiences from Smithsonian education staff, volunteers and visitors to the museums, education, and research centers; and
  • Build self-confidence in a professional setting.

Mentorship Goals

The mentor will:

  • Support the intern in developing strong communications skills in writing both for internal leadership and teammates, as well as external audiences;
  • Support the intern in understanding how the creative process unfolds, while working on a team and meeting deadlines; and
  • Provide opportunities for the intern to practice public speaking and presentation skills. 

Program dates

6/3/2024 – 7/26/2024. The internship will require a commitment of 35-40 hours per week, Monday—Friday (no weekends or Federal Holidays) Wednesday, June 19, 2024 (Juneteenth National Independence Day), and Thursday, July 4, 2024 (Independence Day). 


$650/week (full-time) = $5,200; Maximum eight-week internship period. 


This is an in-person internship. Housing in Washington, D.C. is provided at a local university. Generally, you will be in an office setting 3 days per week, and in a remote setting 2 days per week. 

Background Investigation

All academic appointees, including interns, are required to undergo a security background investigation, and fingerprinting through the Smithsonian’s Office of Protection Services. You will need to be fingerprinted off-site (police station, campus security, commercial site). 

For more information about Smithsonian Internships, please visit



How to Apply

Apply online through the Smithsonian Online Academic Appointment System (SOLAA). Please carefully review the project description(s) prior to applying.

Once you have created an account in SOLAA, you will need to upload and complete all the required information including:

  • A current resume (do not include a photo)
  • Essay (Length: approximately 350 words = 1¼ pages) which answers: 1.) What are your academic and career goals and interests? 2.) What do you hope to accomplish through this internship (1-3 learning objectives)? 3.) What interests you about the Smithsonian and leads you to apply for an internship in the education field?
  • One letter of recommendation from a professor, mentor, or advisor submitted before the deadline.
  • Transcript: NO transcript is required.

Applications will be accepted from Friday, November 17, 2023 (9:00 a.m. EST), until Friday, February 16, 2024 (5:00 p.m. EST). Complete applications are applications submitted in SOLAA with their supporting materials of resume, essay, and one letter of recommendation. Finalist candidates will be interviewed via video conference. All applicants and selected candidates will be notified on or before Friday, March 15, 2024, of the results through an email sent from the SOLAA system. 

Contact Information

For questions regarding this opportunity, please contact: Tracie Spinale, Program Manager, OUSE via email at:

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