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Department ofPolitical Science

Panetta Institute for Public Policy


If you have questions regarding the programs listed below, please email Pam Doherty, department manager for the Political Science Department at Please do not contact the Panetta Institute for Public Policy directly.

2024 Congressional Internship Program 

The Panetta Institute for Public Policy’s 26th annual Congressional Internship Program will be held from August 4 to December 6, 2024. The program, open to students of any academic major who will have junior or senior standing this fall, is a combination of a two-week academic orientation held at the Panetta Institute at Cal State Monterey Bay followed by eleven weeks in Washington, D.C. The internship is full-time and, upon completion, students will earn 30 upper-division units in political science (10 units of which count toward the major--one section of US Politics and one Elective--and 20 units of which count as elective units toward graduation).

All program costs are covered, including housing, ground transportation, travel to and from Washington D.C., and a living stipend. One student from each of the twenty-three Cal State campuses, as well as one student from SCU (Secretary Panetta's alma mater), Dominican University of California (Mrs. Panetta’s alma mater), and Saint Mary's College are selected.

Please note the following:

  • You must be a US citizen and California resident to be eligible.
    • The standard for establishing CA residency is high, including a permanent address in CA--not just an SCU address--for at least the last three years. In other words, if you have been a dependent of your parents for the past three years, they must be permanent CA residents. There is no flexibility in this requirement.
  • The nominated student will be required to undergo a background check before working in Congress.
  • Applicants must have junior or senior standing this fall. (minimum 88 units)
  • Applicants may not have accumulated more than 180 quarter units prior to the fall 2024 term.
  • Finalists must be available for a 30-minute interview with SCU's selection committee on Thursday, April 11th between 3:30-5:30pm.
  • The nominee must be ready to commit to the internship and be available to interview with President Sullivan the week of Monday, April 15th late afternoon.
  • The nominee must be available for an online interview through zoom at the Panetta Institute at CSU Monterey Bay during the week of May 13-17.

Please see the Program Description for more information. 

TO APPLY: Please submit PDFs of the following to the Political Science Department department manager ( by the end of the day on Monday, April 8, 2024:

  • a resume
  • a two-page essay explaining your interest in the program
  • a recent, graded writing assignment with the professor's comments (minimum of 3 pages)

Your Workday transcript will also be included in your application packet. Pam Doherty, Political Science Department Manager, will pull your unofficial transcript and add it to your application files.


2024 Leon Panetta Lecture Series: Challenges to Democracy at Home and Abroad

The Panetta Institute for Public Policy has graciously made available to SCU students a limited number of free seats for this year's Leon Panetta Lecture Series. The series will combine small group exercises led by Panetta Institute scholars and discussions among thought leaders moderated by Leon Panetta, former secretary of defense and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Panetta Institute welcomes college students from throughout the Central Coast region and beyond to hear from and ask questions of the same speakers that appear at the evening Lecture Series. The Afternoon Student Program is education at its most illuminating—first-hand interactions with major leaders and thinkers of our day. Students leave engaged and inspired, having discovered a new relevance of public service careers and having observed first-hand positive examples of leadership and civic debate. 

  • All events will held at the Monterey Conference Center on Monday afternoons between 12:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. (registration opens at 11:30am).  
  • From 12:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Panetta Institute professors will facilitate an academic exercise focusing on the lecture topic. This session informs students about the issues to be discussed and encourages them to develop questions and comments for interactive dialogue with the speakers.
  • After a fifteen-minute break, the lecture begins at 2:45 p.m. with the guest speakers and Secretary Panetta presenting a discussion amongst themselves. During the second half they will answer the students’ questions.
  • The program concludes at 4:30 p.m.
  • Attendees must arrange their own transportation and are responsible for parking fees.
  • The lectures are open to currently enrolled SCU students, but seats are available only to the first 20 students who RSVP for each day. Students must RSVP (requires SCU login)

Monday, April 1, 2024

The Challenges of Immigration – Reform or Chaos in 2024? 
with Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California (2013-2020); Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2009-2013); Governor of Arizona (2003-2009); Julián Castro, Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2014-2017); Mayor of San Antonio (2009-2014); Rick Perry, Secretary of U.S. Department of Energy (2017-2019); Governor of Texas (2000-2015); and Asa Hutchinson, Governor of Arkansas (2015-2023); Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security (2003-2005)

Monday, May 13, 2024

The Challenge of War in the Middle East – Will There Be Peace or More War? 
Tom Nides, U.S. Ambassador to Israel (2021-2023); Dennis Ross, Special Advisor for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia for U.S. Department of State (2009); Director of Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State (1989-1992); General Tod Wolters, (USAF Ret.), NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (2019-2022); and Anja Manuel, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary, U.S. Department of State (2005-2007)

Monday, June 3, 2024

The Challenge of the 2024 Election – A United or Divided America? 
with Richard Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations (2003-2023); Director of Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State (2001-2003); David Axelrod, Political Commentator, CNN; Senior Advisor to President Obama (2009-2011); and Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff (2017); Chairman, Republican National Committee (2011-2017)


Monterey Conference Center:
One Portola Plaza
Monterey, CA 93940
Parking Fee: $7/day (East Garage); $10/day (West Garage)

Please contact our department for more information. 

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