A decade ago a professor’s passion sparked a program extending Cal State Fullerton students’ studies of politics, administration and justice outside the classroom and into the nation’s capital.
The students, now known as DC Scholars, trade textbook lessons for internships in the offices of House of Representatives members, the U.S. Senate and political parties, as well as in federal agencies, communication networks and advocacy groups.
Since 2006, under the guidance of Stephen Stambough, the founding director of the Cal State DC Scholars program, more than 400 CSUF students have seized the opportunity to work on “the hill.” The program also expanded recently to the other 22 CSU campuses.
For his empowering role, Stambough received the Leadership Award at the Oct. 20 University Awards Program.
“Based, in large part, on this program and Dr. Stambough’s commitment to continue to engage students after their graduation, CSUF now has an alumni group based in the D.C. area,” Owen Holmes, associate vice president for government and community relations, wrote in his nomination of Stambough.
For many Titans, the experience inspired careers in public service, politics and communication, and those D.C.-based alumni mentor others who follow in their footsteps, Holmes says.
Stambough added that the program has inspired him too.
“I’ve learned that the goal of good teaching is beyond the simple dissemination of course content,” he said. “It is really about finding ways to get students to apply and develop that learning in ways that are relevant to their lives. It is about opening up new opportunities for students. Seeing students intern and later, as graduates, work in Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court, tells me that our students can do anything and, more importantly, it tells our students that they can do anything.”