CSUSB student participating in Panetta Institute internship


Cal State San Bernardino senior Sarah Baca has been selected to participate in the Panetta Institute for Public Policy’s Congressional Internship Program in Washington, D.C., this summer.

Sarah Baca

Sarah Baca

Baca and 22 students representing each of the 23 California State University campuses begin their journey on Aug. 12 at the Panetta Institute on the campus of Cal State Monterey Bay for two weeks of intensive training on policy, practice and procedures of the United States Congress. Then the interns fly to Washington, D.C., for their 11-week internship, working closely with a designated member of the California congressional delegation. The program concludes on Nov. 10.

“I feel honored and privileged to accept the Panetta Institute nomination on behalf of Cal State San Bernardino,” said Baca, 21, of Yucaipa. “I believe this will be an amazing opportunity to see firsthand how the legislative process occurs while representing the diverse student body that the university has to offer.”

Founded in 1997 by CIA Director Leon Panetta and his wife, Sylvia, the Panetta Institute is located at Cal State  Monterey Bay, and serves the entire CSU system, as well as several other schools. Under the direction of Sylvia Panetta, the institute provides a variety of study opportunities in government, politics and public policy and sponsors a range of other activities to benefit the surrounding communities.

The internship is fully funded by the Panetta Institute, including travel expenses, housing, food, academic tuition and materials, as well as a stipend. In Washington, D.C., students will attend seminars with government leaders, journalists and policy experts. In addition, the interns may earn up to 20 academic credits after they submit a research paper and a journal of their experiences.

A graduate of Redlands High School, Baca began her studies in political science at CSUSB in fall 2009. During her three years at CSUSB, she has participated in many activities related to the Model United Nations program, which sends a student delegation to compete each year in New York.

This spring, Baca was part of the Model UN team that received the Distinguished Delegation award in April. She and fellow team member Stephen El-Kahativ of San Bernardino, each received individual awards as outstanding delegates for the role they played representing Jordan.

She hopes that by participating in the internship program she will gain insight into the international realm of facilitating diplomacy and agreements between nations. Baca is very interested in foreign affairs policy and would like to pursue a career in conflict resolution, brokering peace between Israel and Palestine.Panetta Institute for Public Policy

Baca, who describes herself as driven, well rounded, congenial and creative, chose to study Japanese because of her interest in East Asian politics, explaining that she gained a better understanding of the English language by having explored a foreign language.

The middle child of three, Baca is the first generation in her family to attend college. A member of CSUSB’s Alpha Delta Pi sorority, she enjoys doing philanthropic work and has served as director of social enrichment and music chair.

Baca met the rigorous criteria outlined by the Panetta Institute, which includes superior academic achievement; a commitment to community and public service; the ability to be a good team player; excellent oral communication skills and exemplary maturity and leadership abilities.

Now in her final year at CSUSB, Baca currently has a 3.6 grade point average. Upon her return from the internship, she will resume her studies in January 2013 and plans to graduate in June 2013. Baca plans to  pursue a master’s degree in international relations at either Fletcher University in Massachusetts or Oxford University in England.

Visit the Panetta Institute of Public Policy‘s website for more information.

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.