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 series of workshops 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 and developing a transferrable skillset. Students live, work, and learn in the state capital, while taking advantage of powerful learning opportunities within the context of their internships 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
  • If there is a specific office, person, department, agency you would like to intern with, you have the flexibility (and are highly recommended) to apply and reach out to them yourself. The staff will support but the responsibility of narrowing down your options, reaching out to various departments, people, will be on you.
  • Participate in weekly educational sessions regarding community engagement, public service, California policymaking and politics, and professional development, etc. which happens on Fridays during the summer 
  • Leo T. McCarthy Center staff assist in securing housing and covers the cost of housing for program participants, which is within walking distance of the Capitol
  • Students receive a $2000 stipend for participating in the program 
  • Work approximately 28-32 hours of work a week during normal business hours in internship (9am-5pm) Mondays - Thursdays
  • The program is accessible and relevant to students across all majors
  • 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
  • Internships can be a number of different things including but are not limited to legislative research, program evaluation, communications and media, community outreach, constituent services, policy and/or program implementation and development, etc. 

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
  • Institute for Local Government
  • Office of the Governor
  • Office of the Secretary of State
  • Department of Education
  • CA Democratic Party
  • Delta Stewardship Council
  • CA State Assembly Offices
  • CA State Senate Offices
  • CA Workforce Development Board
  • CA Environmental Protection Agency
  • Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • CA Department of Conservation
  • Department of Public Health
  • Department of Housing and Community Development   
  • Pinnacle Advocacy
  • ...among others

How to Apply

The application process includes completion of the online application (link below) 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 NOW CLOSED. Will reopen with a deadline of October 1, 2024 for Summer 2025 

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
  • Be in good academic standing and good disciplinary standing 

More Information

Angeline Vuong
(415) 422-5205 or