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Office of the Provost

Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore

Panetta Congressional Internship Program

About the Panetta Congressional Institute Program

In August 2023, the Panetta Institute will begin the 25th annual Congressional Internship Program for students selected from the 23 campuses of the California State University along with three private universities. The program runs 13 weeks, beginning with a two-week training session at the Panetta Institute, followed by 11 weeks in Washington, ending in November. Campuses are invited to choose an outstanding undergraduate (junior or senior) student leader to participate in an extraordinary learning experience held at the Institute and in the nation’s capital.

This program is open to students in any academic major recognized by the university, subject to the criteria stipulated below and any other criteria set forth by the president’s office. It provides an opportunity for students to enhance their educational experience by providing real-world engagement in the exploration of Congress, civil leadership, and community and public service. The cost of the program is fully funded in order to allow participation by any qualified student, independent of family income. Student benefits include academic fees and tuition, food and housing, a living stipend, a text-binder and other academic materials, along with air and ground transportation.

Application Process

Qualified applicants will be selected based on their application materials and the program requirements. Selected applicants will be contacted for a preliminary interview with the campus selection committee. During the interview, the committee will assess the applicant’s clarity of speech, overall demeanor and character, leadership potential or experience, and interest in or commitment to community and public service, among other items. Selected finalists will advance to an interview with President Armstrong, who will determine the campus nominee. All applicants will be notified of selection or non-selection.

Cal Poly’s nominee will travel to the Panetta Institute in Monterey for an interview with the Panetta Institute interview team, which includes a representative from the CSU Chancellor’s Office. During that visit, the campus nominee will also meet with the CSU Monterey Bay campus police department to begin the process for a background investigation. The Panetta Institute interview team reserves the right to reject the nominee if the student fails to meet the Panetta Institute’s standards set for participation. Students may also be rejected due to the findings of the required background investigation. The Panetta Institutes makes the final determination for all program participants.

2023 Call for Applications

Application Timeline

February 27, 2023 - Application packets are due to the Office of the Provost 

March 1 and 3, 2023 - Preliminary interviews with committee members

March 14-15, 2023 - Finalist interviews with President Armstrong*

Application Details

Application packets must be emailed to no later than 5:00 p.m., Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. 

Do Not include cover sheet, table of contents, recommendations or any other information.

Application Packets must include the following information:

  • Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Application Information form
  • Two-page personal statement of interest
    • May be single or double spaced
    • No margin restrictions
  • Current resume
  • Recently graded paper
    • Minimum three pages in length
    • Must include professor’s comments and grade accompanying or written on the paper
    • May be on any subject
  • Complete higher education transcripts
    • Transcripts from other higher education institutions must be included
    • Unofficial transcripts are acceptable
    • Copy of Cal Poly Planner is acceptable

Questions may be directed to or 805-756-2186.

Ethan Gutterman

Ethan Gutterman- 2022 Panetta Intern

Ethan Gutterman, a third-year history major and ethics, public policy, science and technology minor from the San Fernando Valley, will serve as Cal Poly’s 2022 representative to the Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program.

After a two-week training period at the Panetta Institute at CSU Monterey Bay, Gutterman will work in the capitol office of a California congressional representative in Washington, D.C., for 11 weeks in the fall.

One of Gutterman’s earliest involvements in politics and government was participating in the YMCA Youth and Government program during his time in high school.

“I was able to go to the State Capitol, serve in a model State Assembly and gain a greater understanding of policy at the state level,” he said. “I’m looking forward to learning more about the federal legislative process and bringing this knowledge back to my work at Cal Poly.”

Gutterman is a Cal Poly Scholar and has performed research through Cal Poly’s BEACoN Research Program. The Cal Poly Scholars program aims to support and retain high-achieving California students who come from low-income backgrounds. Gutterman is the first Cal Poly Scholar to be named a Panetta Intern. After earning his degree from Cal Poly, he hopes to work in local government with a focus on housing and transit policy.

He is the 22nd Cal Poly student to participate in the Panetta Institute program since 2001. He will join 24 other students, all nominated by the presidents of California State University campuses, as well as Dominican University of California, Saint Mary’s College of California and Santa Clara University. The program is open to all academic majors and is recognized as one of the leading internship courses in the nation because of the rigorous training it provides.

The Panetta Institute covers program costs, including course registration fees, campus services during orientation, air travel and housing in Washington, D.C. By covering these expenses, the institute can make the program available to interns from all socioeconomic levels. Cal Poly awardees are supported in part through the Ed and Jan Slevin Congressional Internship Endowment.



    The Cal Poly Panetta Congressional Intern is supported in part through
    the Ed and Jan Slevin Congressional Internship Endowment.

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