Panetta Congressional Internship Program

2024 Application Packets being accepted through Handshake due by March 22, 2024!! 

About the Panetta Congressional Institute Program

The Panetta Institute for Public Policy begins its twenty-sixth annual Congressional Internship Program with students nominated by presidents of the twenty-three campuses of California State University along with three private universities. The Panetta Institute provides a full scholarship covering program courses, travel and lodging costs for each student.  The Congressional Internship Program offers participating students an extraordinary opportunity to learn and experience politics and policymaking both at the Panetta Institute and in the nation’s capital.  Additionally, students earn twenty academic units with their successful completion of the Institute’s internship.

The program runs thirteen weeks, beginning with a two-week training session at the Panetta Institute, followed by eleven weeks in Washington D.C., ending in December. Each of the 23 CSU campuses nominate one 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

Applications will be accepted through Handshake. 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 Sonoma State's Vice President for Student Affairs and then the University President, who will determine the campus nominee. All applicants will be notified of selection or non-selection.

Sonoma State’s nominee will attend an interview with the Panetta Institute interview team, which includes a representative from the CSU Chancellor’s Office. 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.

2024 Call for Applications

Application Timeline

  • March 22, 2024 - Application packets are due through Handshake (contact Career Center with questions or (707) 664-2198)
  • Week of March 25, 2024 - Tentative preliminary interview(s)*
  • Week of April 17, 2024 - Tentative dates for finalist interviews with the University President*

*Tentative dates 

Application Details

Application packets must be submitted to Handshake no later than March 22, 2024.

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
  • Two - three minute video telling us why you are the candidate to choose.

Questions may be directed to Student Affairs, or 707-664-2838.

Interested students should review the links below: