Gene Callahan Internship

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gene-callahan.jpg 2020 APPLICATION DEADLINE is Friday, November 1, 2019!

The Gene Callahan Internship will send at least one student each spring to Springfield to gain experience working in state government. Priority will be given to students majoring in political science, history, and journalism. Placement will focus on working with members of the state legislature, statewide offices or state executive agencies.

The Gene Callahan Internship was renamed by Jerry Mileur in early 2015 to honor the late Gene Callahan, who passed in August 2014. (Press Release - January 2015)

Gene Callahan was born in Milford, Ill., the last of four children, and grew up on his family's hog farm outside the small town near the Indiana border. His father was a Democratic Party county official in heavily Republican Iroquois County and served in the Illinois House. Callahan graduated in 1955 from Illinois College in Jacksonville, where he majored in English. Then served two years in the U.S. Army.

For over 40 years, Gene Callahan worked in the political arena, first as a journalist with the Illinois State Register (Springfield) from 1957 to 1967, then as assistant press secretary for Gov. Sam Shapiro, and Lt. Gov. Paul Simon's press secretary until 1972. In 1974 he began his long association with Alan Dixon, when Dixon served as Illinois state Treasurer, then Illinois Secretary of State. When Dixon moved to the U.S. Senate in 1981, Callahan became his chief of staff and most trusted political advisor. After Dixon lost a reelection bid to Carol Mosley Braun in 1992, Callahan worked for several years as the chief lobbyist for Major League Baseball, fighting to preserve its exemption from the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Jerry Mileur is a southern Illinois native who holds two degrees from SIU Carbondale. A lifelong educator with a passion for teaching, politics and baseball, Jerry retired as chairman of the political science department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He also owned a minor league baseball team for many years. Jerry serves on the board of counselors for the Simon Institute and is an author of books on the St. Louis Cardinals. He also endowed the Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture Series at SIU.*Jerry Mileur passed away in September 2017. 

Eligibility: Students from all academic backgrounds who have reached junior status (completed at least 56 hours of coursework). Must also provide two letters of recommendation along with student application.

Details: The internship will require the student to live in Springfield during the spring semester. Maintaining student status during the internship is also required. Interns will receive a stipend to help cover housing and travel expenses and other needs.

How Do I Apply?

To apply, please fill out our Student Opportunities Application

You may bring the application to the Institute (How Do I Contact/Find the Institute) or send it by email with the directions below.

To send by email:

  1. Save PDF to desktop, fill out your information.
  2. Save edited PDF and add as an email attachment.
  3. Send to