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Office of the Provost

Kathleen Enz Finken

Panetta Congressional Internship Program

In August 2018, the Panetta Institute will begin the 20th 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.

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.

Please check back December 2018 for details regarding the 2019 application process.

Interested students should review the links below:

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



Maryam Quasto

Maryam Quasto – 2017

A political science major is Cal Poly’s 2017 representative to the Panetta Institute for Public Policy’s Congressional Internship Program.

Maryam Quasto, 21, will spend two weeks in August training at the Panetta Institute at CSU Monterey Bay, followed by 11 weeks in Washington, D.C., working full time in the office of a congressional representative. The junior, who works part time in the university’s Donor Relations department, is among 26 students from around the Golden State taking part in the program. Participants were nominated by their respective campus presidents.

“I look forward to gaining a new perspective on what it is like to actually work in an international hub like Washington, D.C., as well as to further my understanding of the American political system,” said Quasto, who hopes to pursue a career in international law and work as a diplomat or U.S. ambassador. “I think that being in the heart of our nation will provide an amazing Learn by Doing experience, and I am excited to further my education and grow from this opportunity.”

The Panetta Institute awards scholarships to students from each of the 23 California State University campuses along with one each from Dominican University of California, Saint Mary’s College of California and Santa Clara University. The program, now in its 19th year, is open to all academic majors. It is recognized as one of the best of its kind because of the rigorous training it provides and because the Panetta Institute scholarship covers all student costs — offering an equal opportunity for all qualified candidates. Quasto is the 17th Cal Poly student to participate in the program since 2001. She emigrated with her family from Baghdad, Iraq, to Silicon Valley when she was 5.

Photo credit Renoda Campbell Photography


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

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