Panetta Institute Congressional Internship in Washington DC

Panetta Interns 2012

A scholarship for a fully-funded fall-semester internship in Washington is available to SJSU students through the Panetta Institute. Student leaders with a strong academic record and a commitment to public service may apply. Each fall semester, the Panetta Institute for Public Policy in Monterey, provides selected California students with an intensive two-week training course on the workings of the U.S. Congress, then sends them to Washington, expenses paid, for 11 weeks of service to a California member of the U.S. House of Representatives. While in Washington, students attend special seminars with government leaders, journalists and policy experts.

Call for applications

To apply, send the following materials as an email attachment to Dr. Clifton Oyamot, Associate Dean for Academics, College of Social Sciences, at by Friday, March 29, 2024

  • Complete college transcripts including community/junior college work and/or 
    other college/university work;
  • Professional resume;
  • Two-page written essay stating the reasons for their interest in the Panetta 
    Institute's Congressional Internship Program;
  • A copy of one of the student's most recently graded papers (at least three pages long) with the professor's comments and grade accompanying or written on the paper.

A review committee will select San José State University’s nominee. The student will be informed of the decision and will interview with the selection committee during the week of April 8, 2024 and will interview with the campus President, Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson.

Please direct any questions about the program or application process to Dr. Clifton Oyamot:

Eligibility and qualifications

Any academic major may apply; the program is open to qualified students regardless of income.


  • Must be enrolled as a junior or senior at the start of the internship
  • Has not applied for graduation
  • High academic standing at all colleges/universities attended


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

Skills and Other Qualities

  • 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 and ability to multitask 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
  • Exemplary conduct on campus and in the community
  • Full-time commitment to the Panetta Institute’s Congressional Internship Program; no extra-curricular or outside courses allowed
  • State of California resident
  • Proof of health insurance that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act and provides coverage while residing and working in Washington, D.C.
  • Proof of requisite COVID-19 vaccinations

Program description

Academic work and credits

The Congressional Internship Program is uniquely designed to have an academic focus together with an experiential learning component. Students receive academic credit for each of the five component parts of the program for a total of twenty academic units. Students must research and write a twenty-page comprehensive research policy paper. Students are also responsible for writing and submitting a twenty-page academic reflective journal that is a polished compendium of the student's internship experience. Students are further graded on their internship job performance through congressional staff reviews.

Two-week orientation

A fundamental part of the Congressional Internship Program academic curriculum is the two week orientation designed to supplement the intern's experience through attending and participating in the class sessions, and then completing reflective, substantive session reviews.

Experts in their respective fields present seminars during this orientation. During the first week of the orientation, seminars concentrate on: United States Congress, the legislative process of regular order, House of Representatives parliamentary rules and procedures, budget and appropriations process, congressional committees and structure, elections, congressional presidential relations, federal and state relations, American jurisprudence as led by the U.S. Supreme Court and the role of a free press in a democracy.

Past recipients 

Jocelyn Hopps, 2023
Gianna Gerges, 2022
Britney Ortiz, 2021
Fernanda De Velasco Jimenez, 2020
Deysi Rocha, 2019
Edwin Sevilla, 2018
Jessica Tanner, 2017
Kathy Tran, 2016
Afshin Najafi, 2015
Andy Tokarek, 2011
John Gomez (MPA), 2009
Joel Bridgeman, 2007
Joel VanderVeur, 2006
Michael Bernier, 2005
Mark Vanni, 2004
Zane Arpan, 2003
Laura Enderton, 2002
Craig Murphy, 2001
Ron Johnson, 2000
Eric Bradford, 1999