Chessen called the effort "a very speculative project that wouldn't have been possible without VSFS.
As VSFS interns do not need to gain on-site work space, funding or a security clearance, they can become members of a post or bureau's team quickly and make a real contribution.
Offices can submit projects for VSFS eInterns between May 1 and June 10 of each year.
Because the VSFS researchers received PRF's guidance and mentoring during weekly group conference calls and frequent individual calls and emails, it hardly mattered that they were in Missouri, New York and London.
Under the VSFS program, student journalists, scientists, mathematicians, graphic designers, researchers and social media experts offer valuable skills, form networks and even gain college course credit.
Program is managed by the Bureau of Information Resource Management's Office of eDiplomacy.
The microtasking website, launched in April, arises from the two-year-old VSFS eInternship program, which offers projectbased virtual internships to American college students.
The Secretary of State's Senior Advisor for Innovation and Technology Alec Ross lauded the VSFS program as an "un-nuanced, spectacular success.
More than 75 interviews are posted on the VSFS Shenyang Facebook page and the Web site Diplomight.
The VSFS program in Shenyang has created a virtual platform that fosters bilateral communication and community activism.
Digital internships are becoming popular in the private sector, but the VSFS is the first United States government initiative of its kind.
Like the campus coordinators, VSFS participants have already had formal internships with the Department and wanted to retain that relationship.