Student Opportunities

COE sponsors a range of student opportunities, from a national book club and the annual National Student Leadership Congress for pre-college TRIO students to Washington, D.C. internships and short-term Keith Sherin Global Leaders study abroad for TRIO college students.

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COE offers opportunities for low-income, first-generation students to gain experience working on Capitol Hill, studying abroad, and more.


34th Annual National Student Leadership Conference at American University in Washington, D.C., June 10-15

COE invites applications for the 34th annual National Student Leadership Congress (NSLC). TRIO pre-college youth from across the United States and U. S. territories gather in Washington, D.C. to work together to find innovative solutions to today’s societal issues. NSLC is an intensive six-day leadership experience hosted on the campus of American University. Highlights of the event include a Mock Congress competition, diversity and inclusion training, interactive learning labs, college and career exploration, Washington, D.C. landmarks and museum tours, and a day on Capitol Hill! Students must apply before midnight ET on Wednesday, March 1.



Spend the first week getting to know your host country before studying at The Hague Summer School

COE will select twenty TRIO Student Support Services and McNair participants and two group leaders for the 2023 Keith Sherin Global Leaders Program in The Hague, Netherlands, from June 23 to July 15, 2023. Students get the opportunity to study diversity and opportunity as well as global sustainability and social justice in the city of international peace and justice. The total program fee is $2,300 and the application is due with a $250 refundable deposit by February 15, 2023.

Spend the first week getting to know your host country! You’ll be learning about the Netherlands’ social and educational context, specifically focusing on higher education and cultural diversity in theory and practice. Then for the next two weeks, you’ll study at The Hague Summer School, a cutting-edge modular set of courses based on the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.



“Finding Me: A Memoir” by Viola Davis

This year’s book selection is Finding Me, a memoir written by award-winning actress and Upward Bound alumna Viola Davis. As part of her story, she speaks about educational opportunity programs’ role in her early life. She credits the TRIO programs with shaping her aspirations and giving her “a way out” of the abject poverty of her childhood.




COE will invite applications for these additional opportunities soon.

COE has seasonal student opportunities for TRIO students and recent graduates. Get notified when COE seeks future cohorts for the opportunities below.


Each summer, COE hosts more than 150 TRIO high school student delegates from Upward Bound and Talent Search programs across the United States and territories to participate in a rigorous 6-day leadership experience in Washington, D.C. During the Leadership Congress, the delegates sleep, study and dine on the Georgetown University campus. In addition to meeting their Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill, delegates engage in conflict resolution workshops, diversity training, and spend much of the program researching a critical and controversial current policy issue, drafting legislation, and then arguing their position on this question.

Beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, a paid internship of four to six months will be awarded each year to a graduating senior or recent college graduate who has participated in a federal TRIO program. The program includes an internship in a Congressional office preceded by several weeks in COE’s Washington, DC office. The internship is named for the late Thomas R. Wolanin, former staff director of the Subcommittee on Post-Secondary Education in the U.S. House of Representatives, a champion of access and affordability in postsecondary education, and a committed advocate for first-generation students.

Increasingly, developing global competencies are a critical component of what it means to be a college graduate. Students entering the global workforce must be able to cross borders and cultures with ease. But formative experiences such as study, travel and internships abroad remain largely the province of middle- and upper-income students. The Keith Sherin Global Leaders Program was founded with the notion that all college students should have access to international experiences. The program supports the study of TRIO college students with demonstrated leadership skills in a three-to four-week program. Since 2000, more than 350 low-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities have participated in COE-sponsored short-term and semester study abroad programs in Great Britain, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa and Spain.

Through the Keith Sherin Global Leaders Washington Semester Program, one high-achieving TRIO college student is selected each semester and supported with tuition, housing and a small living stipend. The Washington, D.C. public policy program includes a semester of study at Marquette University’s Les Aspin Center and an internship placement in a Congressional office. The program recruits students with strong academic records who can juggle a full course load on top of a three-day-per-week job. Interns see public policy in the making and gain valuable work skills and connections.

The pitch competition offers students an opportunity to develop a brief competitive presentation to propose their business ideas to an audience and a panel of judges. Contestants will have an opportunity to win up to $2,500 in scholarships and prizes. The virtual pitch competition is exclusively for active TRIO participants.

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Learn more about how the Council for Opportunity in Education works in conjunction with colleges, universities, and agencies to help low-income students enter college and graduate.