Panetta Congressional Internship Program Requirements

Program Requirements and Expectations

Position Qualifications:

A student who:

  • is a matriculating third or fourth year, junior or senior student during the internship (student may not have graduated prior to the internship)
  • has not accumulated more than 120 credit semester units or 180 credit quarter units
  • has a 3.0 or better GPA in college level work
  • has not taken part in this program during previous years
  • has exhibited superior academic achievement
  • has demonstrated commitment to community and public service
  • is willing to accept entry level work assigned interns which will involve practical application of what is learned in the classroom
  • is willing  to take on assigned  tasks and work hard
  • has exemplary maturity and leadership abilities
  • has demonstrated ability to be a good team member
  • has excellent English written and oral skills, and clarity of speech appropriate for constituent phone calls and visits
  • is willing to live in assigned group housing with other interns during the entire program
  • is willing to submit a written two-page essay stating the reasons for her/his interest in the Panetta Institute's Congressional  Internship Program, and the selection committee's review  of one of the student's graded  papers to ensure excellent  English  language proficiency
  • has never been sanctioned under the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Article 2 (Student Discipline), Section 41301
  • is willing to undergo a background investigation
  • is a U.S. citizen
  • is a California resident
  • at the time of the personal interview, is able to provide proof of health insurance that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act and covers the student while in Washington, D. C.


In addition, selected interns are expected to:

  • make a total commitment to the program (e.g.,  no pursuit of other employment, no enrollment in LSAT, MCAT, GRE or other graduate  school preparation  classes and/or exams during  the internship)
  • work full-time in a congressional office
  • attend required seminars in Washington, D.C.  (arranged by the Panetta Institute)
  • submit a brief weekly report to the Panetta Institute
  • maintain a journal
  • and write a twenty-page research paper.

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 a 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;
  • Submit timely 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 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
    • Conferences
  • Enter data
  • Draft correspondence or other materials
  • Meet and greet constituents
  • Provide tours of 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