CSUN Students Excel in Washington, D.C. Internship Program

  • CSUN Political Science Department Chair Lawrence Becker and Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Stella Theodoulou

    CSUN students at dinner with President Dianne F. Harrison for the 2015 Spring Cal State D.C. Program. Photo courtesy CSUN Political Science Department.

Since 2006, the Cal State D.C. Program has given CSU students the opportunity to spend a semester studying and working in the world of politics in our nation’s capital. Through the program, which is offered in spring and summer, California State University, Northridge students can make the most of their Washington experience while still progressing toward graduation.

The undergraduate students earn full-time college credit on site, in courses taught by and supervised by CSU faculty. Lawrence Becker, CSUN political science department chair; Stella Theodoulou, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; and CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison joined the spring 2015 semester students for dinner during a recent visit to Washington.

“This was a great experience for the students to tell President Harrison themselves about where they are interning and the kinds of experiences they are having,” Becker said.

He called out the success of one particular student, political science major Jasmine Hernandez, who landed an internship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There, Hernandez works as an assistant to the HUD liaison for the White House.

During his time in Washington, Becker said, he had a chance to visit Hernandez in her office. The staff there were very pleased with her work — and they asked him to send more CSUN students their way. Soon after that visit, Becker found another Matador to intern with HUD, starting in April.

“Jasmine has made the program look good,” Becker said. “With the work she is doing, she has made CSUN look good.”

The Cal State D.C. internship opportunities include working at congressional offices and executive agencies, as well as with political parties, advocacy groups, nonprofit organizations, foreign embassies, museums and lobbyist firms. Those organizations tackle issues ranging from homelessness to international finance, defense and foreign intelligence.

Thus far, the summer 2015 cohort has accepted 21 students, though not all choose to attend, for various reasons.

“This is the biggest group for summer that we have ever had,” said Becker. “We sent five last summer, so this summer I am sure we are going to send somewhere from 10 to 15.”

The program originally had accepted only students who were political science majors, but now welcomes CSU juniors, seniors and graduate students from all disciplines in good standing to apply.

“It’s a program that is open to all majors,” Becker said. “We would really like to have more students from a wide variety of majors participate.”

The minimum GPA required for admission to the program is a 3.0, however, past CSUN participants have demonstrated even higher academic achievement, as well as strong references and relevant experiences and activities.

To learn more about the program, check out CSUN’s Department of Political Science page at http://www.csun.edu/social-behavioral-sciences/political-science/dc-internship.

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