Panetta Congressional Internship Program

Each year, the Panetta Institute invites CSU presidents to nominate an outstanding undergraduate (junior or senior) student leader from each campus to participate in the fall semester Congressional Internship in Washington D.C.

The fall semester program runs from August through November. The program is fully funded to allow participation by any qualified student. Student benefits for the semester include: a two-week orientation at the Panetta Institute in Monterey Bay; an 11- week congressional internship in Washington D.C.; academic program and unit accrual; the cost of academic fees and tuition; food and housing; a living stipend; academic materials; and air and ground transportation.

  • Two-week training course at the Panetta Institute in Monterery prior to departing to Washington, D.C.

  • All program costs are covered, including housing, ground transportation, travel to and from Washington, D.C. and some reimbursement for living expenses. 

  • Hands-on 11-week internship with a Congressional office in Washington D.C.

  • Interns may earn up to 20 semester credits through CSU Monterey for a semester

  • Attendance during special seminars with government leaders, journalists, and policy experts

  • Professional development through building an ePortfolio and linking it with their LinkedIn profile to expand networking opportunities 

  • Professional experience for graduate school and/or future career

  • Applications for the Fall 2022 Panetta Intern will be announced ~ Jan. 2022

  • Invitation - First round Zoom interviews with SF State Selection Committee: TBD

  • Invitation - Final candidates Zoom interview with President Mahoney: TBD

  • SF State announces Panetta nomination: TBD

  • Panetta Institute begins interviews with campus intern nominees: TBD

  • Panetta Institute announces intern appointments: TBD

  • 2021 Panetta Interns arrive at Panetta Institute: TBD

  • Classes begin at Panetta Institute: TBD

  • Interns depart for Washington, D.C.: TBD

  • Intern's first day of internship in assigned Congressional offices: TBD

  • Intern's last day of internship in assigned Congressional offices: TBD

  • Interns return to California: TBD

  • Interns begin work on the policy paper and reflective journal assignments: TBD

  • Policy paper and reflective journal assignments due to Panetta Institute: TBD

  • Grades for twenty internship units submitted to CSUMB: TBD

  • Any academic major may apply; the program is open to qualified students regardless of income

  • U.S. citizen and State of California resident

  • Matriculated student in upper-division undergraduate status (juniors or seniors during the time of the internship – and have not applied for graduation and do not have more than 120 credit semester units)

  • Superior academic achievement (3.3+ GPA)

  • Demonstrated commitment to community and public service and leadership

  • Excellent English oral and written skills to interact with constituents appropriately

  • Willing to live in assigned group housing during the entire 11-week program

  • Never been disciplined under the CA Code of Regulations, Title 5, Article 2, Sec. 41301

  • Proof of health insurance that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act and covers student while residing and working in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area

  • Willing to undergo a background check

  • Refer to "Position Qualifications" for more information and expectations

  • Thank you for your interest. Applications for the 2021 Panetta Intern has closed. Applications for the Fall 2022 Panetta Intern will be announced ~ Jan. 2022.

  • You will be asked to submit the following application materials:

    1. A written two-page, typewritten essay. Your personal statement should include a) why you are interested in the Panetta Institute's Congressional Internship Program; b) academic background and preparation (include what activities have you been involved in on campus and in the community since the beginning of your college career (e.g. service learning, previous internship experiences, relevant coursework);  and c) what do you hope to gain from the experience.

    2. A current resume

    3. Transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable). Include all prior community/junior college and/or other college/university work (in the order they happened). 

    4. A copy of a recently graded paper (at least three pages long) with the professor's comments and grade accompanying or written on the paper. 


Internship Position Description

The Panetta Institute for Public Policy begins its twenty-third annual Congressional Internship Program on Sunday, August 8, 2021 through Friday, December 4, 2021. with students nominated by presidents of the twenty-three campuses of California State University along with three private universities.  If Congress is open to interns by that date, the program will follow its traditional format of in-person classes for two weeks at the Institute followed by eleven weeks in Washington, D.C.  If Congress is still closed to interns due to the coronavirus pandemic, the program will be presented online through video conferencing.

This semester long program begins with a rigorous two-week academic orientation at the Panetta Institute from Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021 through Fridat, August, 20, 2021. The focus of the training and orientation is to prepare students for their internship work in Washington, D.C. by giving them an in-depth background to understand the most importnt policy challenges facing our nation. The Panetta Institute invites experts at the top levels within their fields to expand students' understanding of politics and policy.

Following the orientation, on Sat., Aug. 21, 2021, students will travel to Washington, D.C. for their eleven-week internshps with the members of the U.S. House of Representatives, both Republican and Democrat, from the California delegation where they will serve through Fri., Nov. 5, 2021. While in Washington, D.C. students are mentored and closely supervised by Panetta Institute faculty in California as well as Panetta Institute staff in Washington, D.C. Another unique feature includes weekly seminars on policy issues that the interns attend while working on Capitol Hill with nationally renowned leaders who currently practive in their specialized field. Interns will also be required to submit weekly reports summarizing their internship work as well as summaries of the lessons presented through the speaker seminars.

Upon return to California on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, interns begin to work on academic requirements of the program; a twenty-page policy paper with evidence of research and analysis and a twenty-page reflective journal, a polished compendium of the student's intern experience. The academic program ends on Friday, December 4, 2021 with the submission of both assignments directly to the Panetta Institute for grading by the Institute's professors. The internship ends on Friday, December 17, 2021 with the submission of final grades.

Upon complettion of all requirements for this course, interns will earn a letter grade commensurate with their performance for twenty (20) full-time academic units that will be posted to their university transcripts. All program costs are covered, including housing, ground transportation, travel to and from Washington, D.C. and some reimbursement for living expenses. 

Course Components

  • Participate in a two-week training session at the Panetta Institute, located at the CSU Monterey Bay Campus on the Monterey Peninsula;
  • Work full-time for eleven weeks in the assigned Washington, D.C. congressional office for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the California delegation; 
  • Attend special seminars held exclusively for Panetta Institute interns while in Washington, D.C. and submit reports on all classes and seminars; 
  • Timely submit weekly reports and other assignments' 
  • Attend weekly meetings with Panetta Institute staff while in Washington, D.C.; 
  • Submit an experiential twenty-page journal and twenty-page research paper consistent with the syllabus provided by the Insitute; and
  • Earn letter grades commensurate with their performance for twenty (20) full-time academic credits upon successful completion of the internship.


  • Outstanding student leader
  • demonstrated commitment to commmunity and public service


  • Advanced written and verbal communication skills (especially clarity speech)
  • General computer proficiency, word processing and spreadsheet knowledge
  • Ability to follow instructions carefully
  • Flexibility to adjust with poise to changing deadlines and priorities
  • Ability to provide information to the public and others as directed by supervisors
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritize assignments
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to be a good team member with an attitude of doing what it takes to get the job done and doing so with a pleasant, cooperative, and professional demeanor

Other qualities

  • Exemplary conduct at the home campus university and in the community;
  • Positive attitude with a willingness to work (hard) on any project assigned by the congressional office;
  • Willingness to accept work involving the practical application of what is learned in the classroom;
  • Exercises maturity and sound judgement; 
  • Willing to abide by the Panetta Institute's Code of Conduct and Confidentiality Agreement; 
  • Full-time commitment to the Panetta Institute's Congressional Internship Program; no extra-curricular or outside courses allowed including, but not limited to, scheduling of LSAT, GRE, MCAT, GMAT, etc.;
  • Willingness to accept roommate assignments and share living quarters with other students while residing at CSU Monterey and in Washington, D.C.
  • State of California resident; 
  • Proof of health insurance that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act and covers student while residing and working in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area; 
  • Note: students will not be excused for family or other reasons unless there is an emergency or extenuating circumstance.

Provide support to congressional office staff that includes, but is not limited to:

  • Answer phones: Take messages; transfer calls; conference calls
  • Enter data
  • Draft correspondence or other materials
  • Meet and greet constituents
  • Provide tours of Capitol Building
  • Compile newspaper clippings
  • Attend hearings and briefings, take notes and provide summaries/reports
  • Conduct issue/legislative research
  • Perform other work that involves the practical application of what is learned in the classroom

Panetta Institute

  • Refer to the above: Program Summary & Position Function and Tasks 


  • Document internship experience while in Washington on the SF State using ePortfolio

  • In collaboration with ICCE staff conduct one-two info. sessions for the purpose of recruitment and information dissemination for the next Panetta intern

  • Participate in the Panetta selection committee to select the next Panetta intern

  • Provide ICCE a copy of submitted Panetta policy paper 


2021 Panetta Congressional Intern



Past Panetta Congressional Interns

2020: Shira Basa│Major: Philosophy│Due to COVID-19 the Washington, D.C. internship was cancelled

2019: Samantha Logan│Major: Political Science & Government│Assigned office: Rep. Adam Schiff (D)

2018: Daniel Richardson│Major: Economics & Business│Assigned office: Rep. Doris Matsui (D)

2017: Tigran Agdaian│Major: Environmental Studies│Assigned office: Rep. John Garamendi (D)

2016: Gabriel Escobedo│Major: Political Science│Assigned office: Rep. Tony Cardenas (D)

2015: Kayla Tolentino│Major: Health Education│Assigned office: Rep. Tony Cardenas (D)

2014: Caoimhe McOsker│Major: Social Work│Assigned office: Rep. Juan Vargas (D)

2013: Margaux Curcuru│Major: Philosophy & Law│Assigned office: Rep. Judy Chu (D)

2012: Aerris Hoskins│Major: Political Science│Assigned office: Rep. Pete Stark (D)

2011: Ashley McDougald│Major: Political Science│Assigned office: Rep. Barbara Lee (D)

2010: Erica Maybaum│Major: Master of Social Work│Assigned office: Rep. Jackie Speier (D)

2009: Marc Joseph Wirtz│Major: Business│Assigned office: Rep. Dan Lungren (R)

2008: Jennifer McCrea-Steele│Major: Communication Studies│Assigned office: Rep. Jackie Speier (D)