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Department ofPolitical Science

Congressional Internship Program

Congressional Internship Program and Position Description

Program Summary:

This semester-long program begins with a rigorous two-week academic orientation at the Panetta Institute in August followed by 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 through early November. While serving in our nation's capital students will also attend regular seminars. Upon return to California, interns begin to work on the academic requirements of the program: a twenty-page policy paper with evidence of research and analysis and a twenty-page reflective journal, a polished compendium of the student's intern experience.  The academic program ends the first week in December with the submission of both assignments directly to the Panetta Institute for grading. Upon completion of all requirements for this course, interns will earn a letter grade commensurate with their performance for twenty (20) full-time academic units (30 units for quarter system) 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 some reimbursement for living expenses. Any academic major may apply; the program is open to qualified students regardless of income.

Course Components:

  • Participate in a two-week training session at the Panetta Institute, located at the CSU Monterey Bay campus on the Monterey Peninsula;
  • Work full-time for eleven weeks in the assigned Washington, D.C. congressional office for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the California delegation;
  • Attend special seminars held exclusively for Panetta Institute interns while in Washington, D.C. and submit reports on all classes and seminars;
  • Timely submit weekly reports and other assignments;
  • Attend weekly meetings with Panetta Institute staff while in Washington, D.C.;
  • Submit an experiential twenty-page journal and a twenty-page research paper consistent with the syllabus provided by the Institute; and
  • Earn letter grades commensurate with their performance for twenty (20) full-time academic credits (30 units for quarter system) upon successful completion of the internship that must be accepted by the student's university as an integral component of the student's academic transcript.

Position Functions and Tasks:

Provide support to congressional office staff that includes, but is not limited to:

  • Answer phones
    • Take messages
    • Transfer calls
    • Conference calls
  • Enter data
  • Draft correspondence or other materials
  • Meet and greet constituents
  • Provide tours of the Capitol Building
  • Compile newspaper clippings
  • Attend hearings and briefings, take notes, and provide summaries/reports
  • Conduct issue/legislative research
  • Perform other work that involves the practical application of what is learned in the classroom

Position Qualifications:


  • Matriculating student in upper-division undergraduate status (matriculating juniors or seniors during the time of the internship - and has not applied for graduation)
  • High academic standing at all colleges/universities attended (includes lower-division)
  • Congressional Internship Program academic units must be applied to the student's transcript


  • Outstanding student leader, who is not a former Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program participant
  • Demonstrated commitment to community and public service


  • 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 qualities

  • Exemplary conduct at the home campus university and in the community;
  • Positive attitude with a willingness to work (hard) on any project assigned by the congressional office;
  • Willingness to accept work involving the practical application of what is learned in the classroom;
  • Exercises maturity and sound judgment; 
  • Willing to abide by the Panetta Institute's Code of Conduct and Confidentiality Agreement; 
  • Full-time commitment to the Panetta Institute's Congressional Internship Program; no extra-curricular or outside courses allowed including, but not limited to, scheduling of LSAT, GRE, MCAT, GMAT, etc.;
  • Willingness to accept roommate assignments and share living quarters with other students while residing at CSU Monterey Bay and in Washington, D.C.;
  • U.S. citizenship;
  • State of California resident;
  • Must have proof of health insurance that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act and that covers the students while residing and working in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and while in Northern California.
  • Must have proof of the requisite COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Student has never been sanctioned under the CA Code of Regulations, Title 5, Article 2, Sec. 41301
  • Willing to undergo a background investigation

Click here for more information on this year's application requirements.

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