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D.C. Interns Find Personal and Professional Growth

All Majors and Campuses Welcome

July 2, 2014

Thirty-four California State University students are spending their summer in Washington, D.C., helping to advance equality for women, assist the homeless and even regulate surface coal mining. They're also learning just how much they can accomplish in a few short months.

The Cal State DC internship program allows students to spend time in the nation's capital interning for elected officials, government agencies, nonprofits and other organizations. According to Sarah A. Hill, program director and assistant professor of political science, the experience of living and working on the East Coast is very different from what many of these students are used to, as most of them are from Southern California.

"What we see when they come back is that they've matured. They grow up a lot. They gain confidence and they realize their potential and what they're able to do," she explained.

This summer, students are earning three units of internship credit and another three credits through one of the classes offered by resident faculty members Christine L. Gardiner, assistant professor of criminal justice, and Patricia E. Literte, assistant professor of sociology. As they step out of their comfort zone in their summer home away from home, the students end up having fun while also growing up.

"Of the programs that I have been involved with, this is the one where I have seen the most growth in the shortest period of time because it opens them up so much," said Hill. "They come back and they're just very confident in what they can do."

Hill emphasized that the Cal State DC program is open to all majors, including science, business and communications — majors whose students don't usually apply to the program. "There is room for everybody. We would love to see more students from other majors. The program would love to have them intern, get great work experience and have a wonderful time in Washington, D.C.," she said.

The following are this year's CSUF participants, their cities of residence, their majors and where they are interning:

  • Timothy Alexander of Fullerton, art, Ford's Theatre
  • Elisabeth Carter of Seal Beach, psychology, American Association of University Women
  • Maria de la Luz Cuamani of Tustin, political science, The Advocacy Project
  • Alexis Demandante of Chino Hills, communications, YWCA
  • Brandon Eckl of Rancho Cucamonga, philosophy, National Down Syndrome Society
  • Justin Ewaniszyk of Victorville, political science, Congressman Paul Cook
  • Alexa Filatoff of La Puente, public administration, U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
  • Brenda Gayton of Orange, international business, Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center
  • Nancy Gonzalez of Anaheim, social work, Polaris Project
  • Olivia Green of Fullerton, political science, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez
  • Linda Hoang of Ontario, communications, National Transportation Safety Board
  • Narah Jayasekera of Anaheim, political science, Congressman Ed Royce
  • Sarah Lovett of Anaheim, political science, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Professional Responsibility
  • Brian Mai of Westminster, criminal justice, Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington
  • Nicholas Medina of Fullerton, psychology, United States Marshals Service
  • Cecily Meza-Martinez of Irvine, communications, Talk Radio News Service
  • Cody Nguyen of Garden Grove, health science, DC Central Kitchen
  • Sarah Ann Nguyen of Anaheim, sociology, The DC Center
  • Mante Petersen of Fullerton, kinesiology, Center for American Progress
  • Angelica Quiroz of Tustin, political science, Achieving the Dream
  • Brenda Rodriguez of Fullerton, business administration, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard
  • Edward Sosa of Azusa, business administration, U.S. Department of Treasury - Office of the Chief Information Officer
  • Samantha Spawton of Cerritos, history, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez
  • Brandon Tabback of Fullerton, political science, Volunteer at Smithsonian
  • Michelle Viorato of El Monte, political science, Office of Legislative Affairs, Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Jocelyn Vizcarra of Covina, sociology, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs (OCLA)
  • Thomas White of Fullerton, criminal justice, Department of Education
  • Carlos Zelaya of Fullerton, sociology, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Office for Access and Success

From Cal State Northridge:

  • Kaitlin Lawson of Northridge, political science, Human Rights Campaign
  • Dheneen Azaula of Woodland Hills, political science, Congressman Tony Cardenas
  • Peter Orejuela of Reseda, political science, Everytown
  • Jessica Markham of Sunland, political science, National Defense University - International Student Management Office
  • Sara Yakhi of Reseda, political science, Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington

From Cal State San Marcos:

  • John Pili of Oceanside, political science, Bergmann Zwerdling Direct

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