California Capital Fellows Policy Internship

Placement Types

Candidates may apply to one or more of the following fellowship types:

Executive Fellows (18 Fellows) are placed with a mentor in one of the many executive offices of California’s Executive Branch, which include the Office of the Governor, constitutional offices, and cabinet level agencies and departments. Executive Fellows function as full-time professional staff in these offices while meeting weekly for graduate seminars in Public Policy and Administration.

Senate Fellows (18 Fellows) work full-time as policy staff in a Senator’s Capitol office or in a Senate policy committee. The Senate Fellowship is highly competitive and seeks applicants who are passionate about California’s economy and public policy. Senate fellows attend weekly seminars at the Capitol to provide an academic perspective to the experience gained in fellows’ office placements.

Assembly Fellows (18 Fellows) serve as full-time legislative staff in the office of an Assembly Member working in a dynamic legislative environment. The Assembly Fellowship seeks highly motivated individuals who are passionate about the state of California and public policy and politics. Assembly Fellows attend weekly seminars on political science and the experiential and practical issues they encounter in their placement offices.

Judicial Fellows (10 Fellows) work in Superior Courts or Judicial Council offices across California, gaining direct experience in the executive level management and the development of court programs and departments, budgets, policy, and other managerial tasks. Fellows participate in regularly scheduled academic seminars and field seminars and complete a Fellowship Project on a topic/issue relative to the Fellows’ placement court or office.

All placements are in Sacramento, CA, except for Judicial Fellows, who are placed throughout the state. Detailed brochures for each fellowship are available on the Center for California Studies California Capital Fellows Program website.


Fields of Study

The Capital Fellows program places no limitations on the applicant’s field of study or major.

Recent college graduates and mid-career professionals of all academic disciplines, backgrounds, and levels of experience, who are interested in beginning a career in public service and policy, are encouraged to apply.


Recent Recipients & Honorable Mentions

  • In 2021-22, Angelene Obedoza, Michelle Wei, and Nicole Guerrero-Andia were Finalists.
  • In 2020-21, Sauntharya Manikandan, Laura Estrada, Emily Ha, and Sarah Wang were California Capital Fellows Finalists.


Applicants to the California Fellows program must:

  • Be able to provide proof of appropriate citizenship, residency, or immigration status for employment. Since program participants are both graduate students and employees of
  • Sacramento State University, Fellows must be either U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals, Permanent Residents, or have obtained a visa to work in the United States. The Fellows program does not meet the requirements for F-1 or J-1 visas, nor any work permits requiring participation in the E-verify system. More information is available in the California Capital Fellows FAQ.
  • Complete a bachelor’s degree by September 1st of the fellowship year. (Seniors and recent alumni can apply with SOP in the Explorer’s 11 cycle)
  • Have earned either a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher, or a GPA of 2.5 or higher in the last 60 (semester) or 90 (quarter) units.
  • Be 20 years of age or older by Sept. 1 of the fellowship year.
  • Be prepared for full-time employment, Monday – Friday.

SOP recommends that applicants have 1+ years of related work or volunteer experience and a strong interest in public service or governance. A 3.5+ G.P.A. is recommended.


Scholarship Benefits

All Fellows receive:

  • a monthly stipend of $2,964, as well as medical, dental, and vision benefits;
  • fully-paid enrollment and earn six graduate units;
  • student loan deferment; and
  • a Graduate Certificate in Applied Policy and Government upon successful completion of the fellowship.

Upon acceptance into the program, Fellows are automatically enrolled as unclassified graduate students at Sacramento State. Upon successful completion of the Fellows program, all Fellows are eligible to receive a Certificate in Applied Policy and Government from Sacramento State.

Recent Recipients

Many UCI graduates have gained valuable work experience in the California Capital Fellows Program. As examples, SOP would like to highlight:

  • Senate Fellow Christopher Galeano (Political Science, Sociology, International Studies), who also received the Gilman Scholarship and was twice declared a Semi-Finalist for the Fulbright U.S. Student Study/Research grant.
  • Senate Fellow Felipe Hernandez (Political Science and Music Performance), who also earned the Truman Scholarship, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, and the Marshall Scholarship.
  • Judicial Fellow Daniela Estrada (Political Science), who also earned the Truman Scholarship and Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.

Over 2,000 alumni have participated in the Capital Fellows Programs, and the ranks of former fellows include judges; members of the United States Congress and the State Legislature; state and local government officials; corporate executives; community and nonprofit leaders; and university professors, administration, and staff.



In 2019-20, over 1,200 students applied for the California Capital Fellows programs. The most popular and competitive of the four fellowships, the Senate Fellows Program, reviewed 401 applications and interviewed 74 candidates for 18 fellowship positions.

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