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Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore

Panetta Congressional Internship Program

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.

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.


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

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