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Office of the Provost

Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore

Panetta Congressional Internship Program

In August 2024, the Panetta Institute will begin the 26th annual Congressional Internship Program for students selected from the twenty-three campuses of the California State University along with three private universities. The program runs thirteen weeks, beginning with a two-week training session at the Panetta Institute, followed by eleven 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 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.

2024 Call for Applications

Application Timeline

February 12, 2024 - Application packets are due to the Office of the Provost

February 26- March 1, 2024 - Preliminary Interviews

March 11-15, 2024 - Finalist Interviews with President Armstrong

Application Details

Application packets must be emailed to no later than 12 p.m., Monday, February 12, 2024.

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 (Form also available as Fillable PDF.)
  • 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 Natalie Rodriguez, or 805-756-2186.

Informational Session

Join us for a 30-minute informational session with Danielle Bello, Cal Poly's 2023 Panetta Congressional Intern. Gain insights into her experience and receive valuable advice as a future applicant! The 30-minute session will begin at 11:30 am and conclude with a 15-minute Q&A. 

Date: Thursday January 18, 2024

Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Location: Science Building 052-0E27

Dani Bello

Dani Bello - 2023 Panetta Intern

Danielle “Dani” Bello, a fourth-year political science student from San Carlos, CA, will serve as Cal Poly’s 2023 representative to the Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program.

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

“Since my first day at Cal Poly I’ve wanted to embody Learn by Doing and pursue hands-on opportunities, especially in the policy sphere,” said Bello. “I’m excited to learn more about the intricacies of public policy and be in the spaces where the important conversations are happening.

“In my time at Cal Poly, I’ve felt encouraged to seek out opportunities and learn beyond the classroom – I’m excited to bring this mindset to Washington.”

Bello previously interned for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation (SLOLAF) and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

Bello is the 23rd Cal Poly student to participate in the Panetta Institute program since 2001. She 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.

Watch Christine Lam speak about her experience as the 2019 Cal Poly Panetta Intern

Slevin/Panetta Report: An Endowment and Program in Action

Read the reflections of Malcolm Mills on his experience as the Cal Poly 2016 Panetta Intern

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

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