Political Boot Camp for HSU Student
NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS did Political Science major Dominic Cicerone imagine he’d meet Leon Panetta. But there he was, talking to the former CIA director and secretary of defense.
“I kept thinking to myself that I’m just an average guy,” says Cicerone, who was one of 26 California students chosen for the Congressional Internship Program at the Panetta Institute last year. “There’s nothing special about me, and yet I was sitting across the table having a conversation with him.”
Cicerone’s meeting marked the beginning of his time with the program, which was created in 1997 by Panetta and his wife, Sylvia. It’s part of the Panetta Institute, a nonpartisan center for public policy based in Monterey, Calif.
Every year, each of the 23 CSU campuses (in addition to Dominican University of California, Saint Mary’s College of California, and Santa Clara University) select one student for the two-month program.
The program offers an intensive introduction to politics and the legislative process through classes and seminars led by experts. Students are told what they can expect as a congressional intern and are then assigned to work for a California House representative in Washington, D.C.
Working in the office of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), Cicerone attended briefings and Congressional hearings to listen, take notes, and meet people lobbying for their cause.