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Office of the Provost

Kathleen Enz Finken

Panetta Congressional Internship Program

In August 2017, the Panetta Institute will begin the 19th 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 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.


2017 Call for Applications

Interested students should review the links below:

To Apply, students must submit:

  • a two-page personal statement of interest
  • a current resume
  • a recently graded paper (at least three pages long) with the professor's comments and grade accompanying or written on the paper
  • complete college transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable)

Questions may be directed to Jeanne Scott, or 756-2186.

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.

All tentative dates will be finalized in mid-January.

  • February 3, 2017: Application packets due to Office of the Provost
  • February 13—17, 2017: Tentative dates for preliminary interviews.
  • February 27—28 and March 1—2, 2017: Tentative dates for finalist interviews with President Armstrong


Malcolm Mills

Malcolm Mills – 2016

Malcolm Mills, a fourth year Sociology student will be the Cal Poly representative for the 2016 fall quarter Panetta Institute Congressional Internship program in Washington DC. Malcolm was attracted to this program as an opportunity to learn about the legislative process and gain experience that will allow him to become a better public servant. “I’m looking forward to seeing how things are really done in D.C.,” Mills said. “News channels only give the highlights of prominent events or policy in the making. I want to learn what goes on behind the scenes. I want to know what the TV shows and news reporters don’t capture. I want to see behind the curtain, so to speak.”

An avid volunteer in his home community of Rancho Cucamonga, Malcolm continually looks for ways to give back and encourage others to make positive changes in their lives. He is looking forward to the opportunity to expand his point of view and gain as much knowledge as possible through this experience. Malcolm will spend two weeks in August training at the Panetta Institute at California State University at Monterey Bay followed by 11 weeks in Washington, D.C., working full time in the office of a congressional representative.

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

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