Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program

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Politics Department contact: Dr. Stephanie Burkhalter,

The Panetta Institute’s annual Congressional Internship Program takes place in Fall semester and combines a rigorous two-week academic orientation to national politics and protocol at the Panetta Institute in Monterey, CA, with an eleven-week experiential education as a Panetta intern in a Washington, D.C. office of a California member of the U.S. House of Representatives. While serving in D.C. the student will also attend weekly seminars. Upon completion of all requirements for this course, which includes a reflective journal and 20-page policy paper, interns will earn 20 academic units that will be posted to their university transcripts. All program costs are covered, including housing, ground transportation, travel to and from Washington, D.C. and a living stipend.

In early February, the call for applications comes out with applications due typically by the end of February or early March. Applicants are required to submit a resume, application essay, one graded college-level paper, and a college transcript. Applicants should be prepared to provide proof of citizenship and California residency and to pass a criminal background check. After the candidate applications are received, the top candidates will be interviewed by a campus committee, and subsequently, the applicant determined to be the committee’s first choice will be interviewed by the campus president. If the president approves of the choice of applicant, he will write the letter of recommendation to the Panetta Institute, and the applicant will be flown to Monterey, CA, to be interviewed by the Panetta Institute committee.

Panetta Institute Course Components

  • Participate in a two-week training session at the Panetta Institute, located at the CSU Monterey Bay campus;

  • Work full-time for eleven weeks in a Washington, D.C. congressional office for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives;

  • Attend special seminars held exclusively for Panetta Institute interns while in Washington, D.C.;

  • Submit a brief weekly report;

  • Submit an experiential journal and a twenty-page research paper


Position Qualifications


  • Enrolled junior or senior status and Congressional Internship Program academic units must be applied to the student’s degree

  • High academic standing at all colleges/universities attended (minimum 3.0 GPA)


  • Office or internship experience preferred

  • Demonstrated commitment to community and public service, for example, through volunteer commitments and/or leadership in clubs or student government


  • Advanced written and verbal communication skills (especially clarity of speech)

  • General computer proficiency, word processing and spreadsheet knowledge

  • Ability to follow instructions carefully

  • Flexibility to adjust with poise to changing deadlines and priorities

  • Ability to provide information to the public and others as directed by supervisors

  • Strong organizational skills

  • Ability to multi-task and prioritize assignments

  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment

  • Ability to be a good team member with an attitude of doing what it takes to get the job done and doing so with a pleasant, cooperative, and professional demeanor

Other requirements

  • Exemplary conduct at the home campus university and in the community (NOTE: applicants selected by the Panetta Institute will be subject to a background check to verify eligibility)

  • Positive attitude with a willingness to work (hard) on any project assigned by the congressional office

  • Willingness to accept entry level work assigned to young unpaid assistants who normally serve as interns

  • Full-time commitment to the Panetta Institute’s Congressional Internship Program; no extra-curricular or outside courses allowed; including taking courses associated with LSAT, graduate record exams (GRE)

  • U.S. citizen AND State of California resident;

  • Must have health insurance that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act.