This spring, eight Pacific students will head to California’s capital every Tuesday and Thursday to immerse themselves in political affairs. The students have been selected for internships through the Sacramento Experience program offered by Pacific’s Jacoby Center for Public Service and Civic Leadership.
In the Sacramento Experience program, students serve as interns in government, lobbying or non-profit organizations and attend a weekly Sacramento Public Affairs Seminar that focuses on California state politics and public policy. Many guest speakers who work in government or public policy institutions are invited to the Seminar to share their insights.
The internships run from January through April. Students serve for full days on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and transportation is provided to and from Pacific. They receive four units of credit for the internship and two units for the Seminar. While most of the internships are unpaid, some of them have led to paid internships during the summer—or even permanent full-time positions upon graduation.
Now in its eighth year, the Sacramento Experience program has placed 60 students in internships in the capital. Their responsibilities are diverse and include researching issues, attending hearings, writing reports on pending legislation, media relations and planning events. Students are expected to be full-fledged participants in the offices they work for, and that also includes performing routine tasks such as filing and photocopying.
One student had a key role in planning and setting up a special state-wide conference for the Governor’s office, and as a result, met Governor Schwarzenegger and other state officials. Another student provided staff support for first lady Maria Shriver. Other students have interned at places such as the League of California Cities, California School Boards Association, National Council of LaRaza, and for state legislators of both political parties.
A photo with Muhammed Yunus – Honduras – Not All Who Wander Are Lost…But I Usually Am – WorldNomads Adventures
Patrick Walton, who is interning with a microfinance project in Honduras, ran into Muhammed Yunus, the social entrepreneur who started the microfinance movement, during a stop in Bogota.
Patrick Walton, a junior Pacific Political Science major, is one of 10 Pacific students selected to participate in the 2009 Ambassador Corps Fellowship. Patrick, who also swims a mean freestyle for the Pacific Swim team, will work with the Katalysis Central American Microfinance Network in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The focus of his internship will be youth entrepreneurship. The Ambassador Corps Fellowship is sponsored by University of the Pacific’s Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Congratulations, Patrick!
Toby Ross, the City Manager from West Sacramento, spent four days on campus recently, visiting classes and talking about career opportunities in local government. The program, organized by the International City Management Association, hopes to facilitate conversations of all sorts between local government and universities. Among his class visits was a stop at Professor Jeff Becker’s Internship and Career Preparation course, where Dr. Ross participated in mock job interviews for political science students
Toby Ross has served as West Sacramento’s City Manager since November 2002. Ross brings three decades of experience in local government in California and Utah to the challenges of West Sacramento. His professional interests include planning, community development, budget and public finance. He earned a PhD and Masters degree from UC Berkeley; and a BA degree in from UC Santa Barbara. Ross has also held part-time faculty positions at the University of Utah, Cal Poly, the University of Hawaii and CSU San Francisco.
Senior Political Science student John Orofino reports in about his recent experiences in the Washington Semester program.
Hello from Washington,
A few days ago i had the privilege of meeting Barack Obama backstage before and after his speech at James Madison University in Virginia. This past semester i have been working at the NBC station here in DC doing research for their consumer unit, but i was able to tag along with a political reporter covering the event just a few days ago. The reporter i was with had an one-on-one interview with Senator Obama after his speech and we received back stage access before and after he went on stage. It was the most amazing experience of my life- i was next to Senator Obama before he went on stage and i got an inside look on how he prepares for his speeches. The staging area was a corridor leading to the floor of the gymnasium that was covered by dark blue curtains barley allowing any light to enter- at the end of the tunnel hanged the American flag at which Senator Obama was pacing in front of. I had goosebumps the entire time.
The Washington Semester Program at American University has developed my intellect and passion for politics- i truly believe this program should be a requirement for all political science majors.
On election night i will be in the NBC news room taking calls and databasing the returns as they come in-it will be another extraordinary experience for me and i am very excited.
I hope all is well back at Pacific, I’m sure its warmer, and i will see you guys when i get back.
What a great example of a student making the most of his college opportunities.
Television stations from San Francisco to Topeka, KS to Knoxville, TN have put the spotlight on the exciting education available for political science students at University of the Pacific. A film crew recently came to Professor Nate Monroe’s Legislative Politics class to catch his students “playing” Fantasy Congress, a game in which students draft members of the U.S. legislative branch and gain points depending on their accomplishments. This is the kind of active learning approach that is the hallmark of the political science program. Political Science majors Dana Simas and Maia Maszara are stars talking about how the class is helping them make connections between classroom learning, their great internships (Dana is in the State Attorney General’s Office and Maia is working in the Governor’s Office), and their career plans. If you want to see the video you can find it here.