Panetta Congressional Internship Program
Desiree Nunes - 2021 Panetta Intern
Desiree Nunes, a third-year political science major from Fremont, California, will serve as Cal Poly’s 2021 representative to the Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program.
After a two-week training period at the Panetta Institute at CSU Monterey Bay, she will work in the capitol office of a California congressional representative in Washington, D.C., for 11 weeks in the fall.
"Ultimately, I know that I want to work in the intersection of law and government, and I can't think of any better way to gain experience toward this goal than learning from the leaders in Congress themselves through the Panetta Institute," said Nunes. "I've appreciated my previous education about the effects of legislation through my courses and work experience, and I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to see these policies develop at the federal level."
Nunes’s previous experience includes working with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group as a member and investor relations coordinator, a legal assistant at a local law firm, and an organizer for the 2020 Dawn Addis Assembly campaign. Nunes also served as a research assistant for Jean Williams, professor of political science at Cal Poly, to explore the influences and emerging patterns of anti-Asian sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic. At Cal Poly, Nunes is captain of the Cal Poly Mock Trial team, president of the Phi Alpha Delta professional law fraternity and editor of Paideia, a political science journal.
Nunes plans to graduate from Cal Poly in June 2022 and attend law school following a gap year. She is the 21st Cal Poly student to participate in the Panetta Institute program since 2001. Nunes will join 25 other students, all nominated by the presidents of each CSU campus, 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 2021, the Panetta Institute will begin the 23rd 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.
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.
Please check back in December 2021 for information on the 2022 application process.
Interested students should review the links below:
- Program Requirements and Expectations
- Congressional Intern Position Description (PDF–opens in a new window)
- Past Interns
- Panetta Institute Website
The Cal Poly Panetta Congressional Intern is supported in part through
the Ed and Jan Slevin Congressional Internship Endowment.