Cal State San Bernardino

Panetta Internship Experience

Sarah Baca, a senior majoring in Political Science is currently in the last weeks of her Panetta internship. "The Panetta Institute hosts students for its Congressional Internship Program who are nominated by the presidents of each of the twenty-three CSU campuses, as well as Santa Clara University and Dominican University of California. Participants go on to live in the Washington, D.C. area from late August through mid-November while working on Capitol Hill."

The highlight of her internship so far has been writing statements on behalf of the Congressman whom she is working with and attending various briefings on topics relevant to the committees he sits on. These include the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Judiciary Committee. The seminars set up through the Panetta Institute have been another highlight of her internship and have given her access to real world knowledge of the legislative process.

When asked about her experience, Ms. Baca stated she would highly recommend this internship opportunity to any student that wants to pursue a career in public service. For the application process, she would stress one's ability to learn and ones commitment to serving others. "While this is an exciting opportunity it is also an incredibly humbling program so they are looking for students who possess these traits." The application process was quite standard however rigorous. You of course have to submit the essentials: your resume, statement of purpose etc, but you also will be interviewed and nominated by the president of the university. In addition, the institute will also coordinate a time to interview you upon receiving the nomination.

She credits her on campus employment as a student assistant for preparing her to handle office procedures and conduct while on the Hill. Her involvement in Model United Nations helped her to understand information given at United Nations briefings and makes it all the more enjoyable to engage in. In addition, her sorority involvement within Alpha Delta Pi has fostered her ability to work on various projects with other interns and lead when necessary.

"I would have to say Dr. Janiskee was the one who assisted me with this process overall, but the political science department as a whole has been very supportive and encouraging throughout the entire process. I still keep in contact with various professors and share all my experiences with them."

Sarah has almost completed her internship, and her future goals include finding a position at the United Nations or a non-profit that focuses on conflict resolution and peace keeping missions. She is currently applying to graduate school for international law and diplomacy and looking forward to taking the Foreign Service Officer exam this year.