McCarthy Fellows in Sacramento

In this summer program, McCarthy Fellows spend 12 weeks in full time internships at Sacramento institutions that contribute to the California policy-making process.

Student engage in everything from conducting legislative research to responding to constituent concerns to drafting policy memos. Concurrently, they participate in a California Politics course focused on exposing and analyzing the structures and systems that frame our state’s policy making processes and helping students make meaning of their first-hand experience. Students live, work, and learn in the state capital, while taking advantage of powerful learning opportunities within the context of their internships, their academic course, and the co-curricular offerings that abound in their thriving host city.

"As a fellow at the Institute for Local Government, I was able to use my personal and academic experiences to start conversations about diversity training in local government and youth civic engagement. The mentorship of my supervisors allowed me to step into an institution that is often isolating for womxn of color and see a place for me in it. My time in Sacramento reinforced that the personal is political, and that I can mobilize change from within the public sector." Crystal Vega, McCarthy Fellow '17

Program Details

  • Leo T. McCarthy Center staff work with local Sacramento consultants to place you in a full-time internship meant to hone your professional skills, extend your academic knowledge into real-world applications, and immerse you in the unique political and social culture of Sacramento
  • Enroll in the 4 unit course POLS 375- California Politics Advanced Seminar: CA Politics and Governance
  • Leo T. McCarthy Center staff assist in securing housing for program participants, which is within walking distance of the Capitol
  • Participate in an intensive one-week orientation to the California legislative process, taught by professionals currently working in a variety of policy-related fields
  • Connect with a mentor (and USF alum), who will provide you with ongoing personal support and professional guidance throughout the summer
  • The program is accessible and relevant to students across all majors
  • Fulfill the core service-learning requirement
  • The Leo T. McCarthy Center covers the cost of summer tuition and student housing in Sacramento
  • Opportunity to attend further events and share experiences in the following academic year
  • Build relationships and connections with alumni of the McCarthy Center and learn about local, state, federal government opportunities

Past Internship Sites

  • California Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Speaker’s Office of Majority Services
  • Assembly Minority Leader’s Office
  • California Department of State Hospitals
  • Press Office of Senate Majority Leader
  • Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
  • California Grocers Association
  • California Energy Commission

Download Program Goals and Objectives [PDF]

How to Apply

The application process includes completion of the online application (link below), submission of one reference letter, and participation in an interview with selection committee. Students from all majors who are interested in public service, want to build professional and personal skills, and have a passion for connecting real-world application with politics and public policy are encouraged to apply. 


Application Deadline: October 12, 2018

To be eligible to apply, students must:

  • Be sophomore standing or higher (undergraduates only, though graduating seniors can apply)
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA or provide a compelling explanation for why GPA is below requirement
  • Commit to participating in the pre-departure program orientation and meetings. 

More Information

Angeline Vuong
Program Manager, Community-Engaged Learning
(415) 422-5205 or

Program Timeline

Program Timeline for Summer 2019

  • May 10: Pre-departure training and orientation
  • May 18–19: Students arrive in Sacramento
  • May 20–24: Orientation Week
  • August 9: Students depart from Sacramento