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Panetta Intern Testimonials

Ethan Gutterman

Ethan Gutterman – 2022

It was an honor to be selected by President Armstrong and the rest of the selection committee to represent Cal Poly in the Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program. The internship gave me the opportunity to have the quintessential "Learn by Doing" experience in the world of government. I got an inside look into policy craft and constituent services, as well as having a great time in The Capitol. I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in public policy and government. A special thank you to Secretary Leon Panetta, CEO Sylvia Panetta, Dr. Sonia Banks, Mr. Tyler Crockett, and a special thank you Ed and Jan Slevin. If you are a prospective applicant do not be afraid to look up my email in the Cal Poly Directory and reach out.

Desiree Nunes

Desiree Nunes – 2021

The Panetta Institute's Congressional Internship Program helped me grow in ways I couldn't even imagine. Not only was I granted the opportunity to be mentored by experts in policymaking and leaders in Congress, but I was also able to learn so much about myself in the process. It truly is a life-changing experience for anyone interested in politics or government, the special and unique chance to watch the process unfold from inside the Capitol. I want to extend the biggest thank you to Secretary Panetta, Mrs. Panetta, and the Slevin family for helping me make this goal of mine into a reality. Being on the Hill gave me an incredible perspective that I will take with me in anything I choose to pursue – it really is the ultimate Learn by Doing experience.

Christine Lam

Christine Lam – 2019

The Panetta Congressional internship is a once in a lifetime opportunity that showcases the realities of policymaking and Congress. You are given the opportunity to learn from top experts in a vast range of fields and engage in a fully immersive “Learn By Doing” experience in the nation’s capital. The amount of growth and learning you will experience in this 13-week experience is unparalleled. I extend my greatest gratitude to the Panetta Institute, Secretary Panetta, Mrs. Panetta and Cal Poly for this life-changing opportunity.

Philip Abarquez

Philip “RJ” Abarquez – 2018

The Panetta Congressional Internship is an opportunity of a lifetime that shows you politics isn’t about winning or losing, it isn’t about Democrats and Republicans, it is about finding common ground to ensure effective policies get passed and letting constituents know, their voice matters. During the process, you’ll learn from leading experts in many fields, you’ll learn how policy is created and passed, and you’ll learn from staff members in your office. I was blessed by the opportunity that Secretary Panetta, Mrs. Panetta, Cal Poly, and the Slevin family gave me. Thank you for giving students the ability to experience public service in Washington D.C.

Maryam Quasto

Maryam Quasto – 2017

Taking part in the Panetta Congressional Internship has been a humbling and eye­opening experience. This opportunity is truly unparalleled and allows you to explore the inner workings of Washington D.C. while gaining unique insight on how policy is crafted. You're given the chance to spend three months learning from experts, working in a congressional office, and exploring the hub of American politics and history. I am so thankful to Cal Poly, the Panetta Institute, and Secretary Panetta and Mrs. Panetta for granting students the chance to experience a life in public service.

Malcolm Mills

Malcolm Mills – 2016

If you’re looking for an opportunity to “learn by doing” with Congress, or any part of the federal government, look no further. I learned more about government and how it functions during this internship than I have throughout all my time in school. I highly recommend this opportunity to anyone who has even the smallest interest in how the government works. This is truly a phenomenal opportunity that Secretary and Mrs. Panetta offer for anyone who wants to go into public service.

Courntney Jacobson with U.S. Representative Scott Peters

Courtney Jacobson – 2015

The Panetta Congressional Internship was by far the most valuable experience I have had in college. Spending a semester in Washington D.C. gave me the opportunity to explore the our Federal Government as well as the East Coast. Through this internship I learned so much about our country as well as myself.


Courtney with U.S. Representative Scott Peters at the Capitol building.

Jessica Burke

Jessica Burke – 2014

I can't express how grateful I am for being chosen to be a part of this program and definitely chosen for this office. I received the best preparation. I learned from some of the leading officials in the nation about a wide range of topics. I observed the innerworkings of Congress. And now I am interested in public service as my career.

Yenifer Origel

Yenifer Origel – 2014

Working in a congressional office is different from what I expected. I learned and realized what it takes to get the attention of the congressional office. I learned about lobbying. I learned how to research and keep informed on today's issues. Ultimately, the greatest takeaway is that I learned to care more for government, public policy, legislation and political activism.

Katie Hoselton, Political Science - 2013

Katie Hoselton – 2013 

I feel so lucky to have been granted this opportunity to pursue my passion in a real-life setting, I am so appreciative of Cal Poly for publicizing and supporting this incredible internship; Ed and Jan Slevin for their sponsorship; and of course, Leon and Sylvia Panetta for believing in the potential of university students.


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

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