Julie Leyba, a political science major at Cal State San Bernardino, was selected to be part of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy’s prestigious Congressional Internship Program. She worked in Washington, D.C., for Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, Ted Lieu, who represents California’s 33rd Congressional District.

Participants of the three-month internship, which lasts from mid-August to mid-November, are nominated by the president of each California State University campus, Saint Mary’s College of California, Santa Clara University and Dominican University of California. They are then interviewed and selected by the Panetta Institute.

“I found out about the Panetta congressional internship back in October 2016 by my professor, Dr. Meredith Conroy,” Leyba said. “It entailed a two-week rigorous comprehensive training program in Monterey, California, at the Panetta Institute. There we had several lectures from different people in public service, including Mr. Secretary Leon Panetta.”

After the training course, which covers everything from United States foreign and defense policy to cybersecurity issues, each intern is assigned to work in the Capitol Hill office of a member of the California congressional delegation. Interns also attend weekly seminars on policy issues and various aspects of government. When the program concludes, the interns receive 20 units of credit.

Visiting Washington, D.C., has always been a dream for Leyba, but she never thought it was something she could do while in college. “Thanks to the support of my professors as well as my fellow students,” said Leyba, “I was able to pursue this opportunity.”