Panetta Congressional Internship Program

Bailey Friend, 2021 Panetta Intern

Bailey Friend – 2021 Panetta Intern

Bailey Friend was a third-year double major in Sociology and American Multicultural Studies with a pathway in multicultural education, and a minor in Political Science when she served as Sonoma State University’s 2021 representative to the Panetta Institute Congressional Internship Program. She is from Cayucos, California.

Ms. Friend is interested in exploring how public policy shapes educational access and opportunities for low-income minority children. She feels this internship helped her learn how laws and practices in California came to be and how she can effectively advocate for better learning environments for underserved, underrepresented children.

Ms. Friend’s experience with children includes working as an instructional aide at a local preschool and her hometown (and alma mater) elementary school. At Sonoma State, she focused on her studies, making the Dean’s List for six consecutive semesters and was an active member of the Sonoma State Club Volleyball Team.

Ms. Friend graduated from Sonoma State in May 2022. The Panetta Congressional Internship was a life-changing experience for her. “Having the opportunity to be an intern allowed me to gain many different perspectives on the world and taught me how a single person can do good in a world that is in need of it.”

Ms. Friend joined 25 other students, all nominated by the presidents of each CSU campus, as well as Dominican University of California, Saint Mary’s College of California, and Santa Clara University. The program is open to all academic majors and is recognized as one of the leading internship courses in the nation because of the rigorous training it provides.

The Panetta Institute covers program costs, including course registration fees, campus services during orientation, air travel and housing in Washington, D.C. and a living stipend. By covering these expenses, the institute can make the program available to interns from all socioeconomic levels.

About the Panetta Congressional Institute Program

In August 2022, the Panetta Institute will begin the 24th 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 Vice President for Student Affairs. During the interview, 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, will be assessed. Selected finalists will advance to an interview with President Sakaki, who will determine the campus nominee. All applicants will be notified of selection or non-selection.

Sonoma State’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.

2022 Call for Applications

Application Timeline

  • March, 25, 2022 - Application packets are due through Handshake (contact Career Center with questions careercenter@sonoma.edu or (707) 664-2198)
  • Week of April 4, 2022 - Tentative preliminary interview(s)*
  • Week of April 11, 2022 - Tentative dates for finalist interviews with President Sakaki*

*Tentative dates 

Application Details

Application packets must be submitted to Handshake no later than March 25, 2022.

Application Packets must include the following information:

  • Two-page personal statement of interest
    • May be single or double spaced
    • No margin restrictions
  • Current resume
  • Recently graded paper
    • Minimum three pages in length
    • Must include professor’s comments and grade accompanying or written on the paper
    • May be on any subject
  • Complete higher education transcripts
    • Transcripts from other higher education institutions must be included
    • Unofficial transcripts are acceptable
    • Copy of Academic Requirement Report (ARR) is acceptable

Questions may be directed to Student Affairs, affairs@sonoma.edu or 707-664-2838.


Interested students should review the links below: