Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

Capital Fellows Program is providing graduating seniors with new post-graduation opportunities that will allow them to experience the California legal system, from the inside.

Capital Fellows Program is a Sacramento State-based 10- to 12-month fellowship program aiming to expose students to careers in state government. Fellows serve as full-time members at the State Capitol under a mentor.

“Students gain a unique, hands-on experience working in politics and policy making. Fellows work closely with staff, elected officials and civil servants … to help shape California’s political, policy and legal futures,” political science Department Chair Elizabeth Lowham said. “In addition to a monthly stipend and graduate course credit, fellows have opportunities to network, to gain valuable work experience and to participate in California government in a way that few people have the opportunity to.”

The program has four different fellowship opportunities: the Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship, the California State Fellowship, the Executive Fellowship and the Judicial Administration Fellowship. The first three take place in the Capitol, while the latter takes place in different state courts.

“We are looking for applicants from all over the state, from all majors, with all different backgrounds that are really looking for roots in government and state office,” Senate Fellowship alumnus and ambassador Christina Hulick said. “We want the applicants to look like the demographic of the state.”

The Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship, California State Fellowship and Executive Fellowship each have 18 slots for fellows. The Judicial Administration Fellowship has spots for 12 fellows.

Cal Poly has had a significant presence in these fellowships, placing a student in the program for the last six or seven years, according to Hulick.

“I’m pre-law, hoping to become an environmental lawyer or work in the state government when I’m older,” political science junior Sophia Thomason said. “I want to apply in the future because I feel like this is probably the best way for me to get my foot in the door.”

Applicants must be 20 years of age by Sept. 1 of the fellowship year, have a bachelor’s degree, a demonstrated interest in state government and public service, and, if not a U.S. citizen, proof of immigration status.

Students from all majors are encouraged to apply. The program is seeking students from a variety of backgrounds; applicants do not have to be from or live in the state of California.

Applicants can apply online here. If selected, applicants will be asked back for an interview, which has happened in April in past years.

Applications for the Capital Fellows Program are due Feb. 12 at 5 p.m.

For more information, visit their website.

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