A major component of a Next System Fellowship involves an internship with a partner organization, union, or research group, or with Mason’s own Democratizing NOVA project.

In the process, Fellows gain practical experience and skills and build networks that advance them toward a rewarding and meaningful post-college career. They also make important contributions to building a better society in the here and now.

Admitted Fellows choose from one of two internship tracks:  

Track 1: DNOVA - On this track, a Next System Fellow interns with the Democratizing NOVA (DNOVA) project at Mason's Center for Social Science Research. DNOVA is a new community-engaged civic research project of the Center for Social Science Research (CSSR) dedicated to deepening democracy in northern Virginia ("NOVA"). DNOVA interns begin each week with a Monday team meetings on the Fairfax campus. Each intern develops a research portfolio and partnerships in a particular democratization area. Interns work together to build campus-community events, resources, and networks.

Track 2: Partner Organization - Another excellent alternative involves securing an internship with a partner organization (see list of confirmed partners, at right). To do this, a Next System Fellow must apply for an internship with the organization of their choice, and notify us that they have done so. We will follow up with our partners to confirm that the applicant has been accepted into the Fellowship and to discuss collaboration. For those admitted Fellows who seek yet fail to secure an internship with a partner organization, the DNOVA internship remains as a fallback - you will have an internship either way.

In addition to an internship, each Fellow enrolls in an Internship Practicum course (in Sociology, this is SOCI 416, but students can take a version of this course through other programs as well). Next System Fellows take this course for 6 credits, completing 270 hours of internship work over the semester, and perform independent research related closely to their internship experience.