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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.

Fellows 2014Student 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.




Program Details

  • 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 seminar course POLS 375- California Politics Advanced Seminar: CA Politics and Governance
  • 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 McCarthy Center covers the cost of summer tuition and student housing in Sacramento and provides a small monthly stipend to contribute toward other living expenses.

Past internship sites include:

  • 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

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.

Apply online now!

Application Deadline: March 8

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. Orientation meetings for Summer 2015 cohort will take place on May 15th

For more information, please contact:

Fernando Enciso-Márquez
Coordinator of Community Partnerships
(415) 422-2033 or

Program Timeline

Program Timeline for Summer 2015

  • May 15: Pre-departure training and orientation
  • May 23-24: Students arrive in Sacramento
  • May 19-22: Orientation Week
  • August 14: Students depart from Sacramento

2015 McCarthy Fellows

Kristopher Anderson, Master of Public Affairs Candidate

Office of Assembly Member Bill Quirk

Born and raised in Menlo Park, CA. Kris attended the University of Oregon where he majored in Journalism. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 2011, he began work as a reporter for a bi-weekly newspaper in Portland, Ore. Initially, he covered high school, collegiate and professional sports, but soon switched to reporting on local government and writing human-interest stories. In order to continue pursuing these interests, and also return to California, Kris began working for a daily newspaper in Lodi, Calif. in February 2013. His beats consisted of court proceedings, police, county government — specifically San Joaquin County — and breaking news. Additionally, under the tutorage of a tremendous editor, Kris gained experience in investigative journalism. One story, published in July 2013, revealed that inmate-on-staff and inmate-on-inmate assaults in county jails throughout the state had increased significantly since the adoption of California Prison Realignment in 2011. Another story delved into the patchwork of standards for awarding concealed weapon permits between counties throughout California. His experiences as a reporter intensified his interest in public policy, leading him to leave journalism in the summer of 2014 and enroll in the Juris Doctor and Master of Public Affairs dual-degree program at the University of San Francisco. His first year at USF has provided him the opportunity to study campaign strategies, lobbying, strategic communication and an array of other topics, which he looks forward to applying as a McCarthy fellow this summer.

Jaileez Campos, Biology, Senior

California Department of Housing and Community Development- Financial Assistance Division

A San Francisco Bay Area native, Jaileez was born and raised in Vallejo, CA. She had the opportunity to live in San Francisco for her undergraduate career. Jaileez will be receiving her B.S. in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Neuroscience. Since the sixth grade, she has always had a fascination with the natural sciences, particularly in human biology. Thus, Jaileez dedicated her undergraduate career to exploring this through coursework, internships, and leadership positions. Starting in January 2014, she was a research assistant at the Emotion, Health, and Psychophysiology Laboratory at UCSF. One of the projects she was assigned to explored the relationship between low-income women, household food security, and obesity-related health outcomes. Starting in August 2014, she began an internship with San Francisco Nature Education. During this time, Jaileez had the opportunity teach the San Franciscan families about the various bird species that can be found locally. Thus, these two internships showed her the importance of public outreach in order to help others become just and humane citizens. As the past president of Tri-Beta the Biological Honor Society, Jaileez has learned the importance of being a leader and the positive change collaborative effort can induce. Her career objective is to incorporate the disciplines she enjoys, human health and environmental health, to help further advance and spread knowledge in health, both of humans and the environment. She wants to be able to contribute to the improvement and advancement of health sciences through research, public outreach, and through service. She believes that the McCarthy Fellows program will train and allow her to accomplish that.

Alexandria Kiwan, Politics, Senior

California Department of Housing and Community Development- Codes and Standards Division

Born in San Diego, California. Alexandria first became passionate about politics by following elections growing up. She is a senior Politics student with a minor in Legal Studies at the University of San Francisco. Previously, she has worked on multiple federal and local campaigns in San Diego as a fundraiser and field organizer. Her time on campaigns broadened her passion for politics and community organizing. In fall of 2013, Alexandria transferred to USF and began an internship with Supervisor Mark Farrell at City Hall. Her internship deepened her love of public service and introduced her to issues of public housing and community development. She is passionate about community organizing and the power of community organizing to combat inequalities in our society. She aspires to go into community organizing and holds an interest in political consulting particularly campaign consulting and fundraising. Through the fellowship this summer, Alexandria hopes to gain a deeper understanding of public policy and broaden her experience in community development and public housing.

Sonnie Martinez, Politics, Minor in Public Service and Civic Engagement, Sophomore

Office of Assembly Member Mike Gipson

Majoring in Politics with a minor in Public Service and Community Engagement. In March 2013 Sonnie was standing in a crowded auditorium yelling alongside other youth activists from Los Angeles: "Raise Bars, Don't Push Students Behind Them!" They were demanding that the School Climate Bill of Rights be passed. They were tired of fellow students of color being disproportionately pushed out of schools due to unfair disciplinary codes. Sonnie fought for justice in her community and in May 2013 the Los Angeles Unified School District amended their disciplinary clause and established resource- based alternatives for at-risk students. In this fight, she discovered her capabilities and was introduced to issues that she continued to care about. It was then that she knew education reform was what she wanted to dedicate her life to. This is everything Sonnie is passionate about and the more she learns, the more she feel the fire burning inside of her that won’t die out anytime soon. As a member of the 2015 McCarthy Fellows cohort Sonnie hopes to learn how to utilize her passion in a professional setting, see policy being made and gain first hand experience in the political world. She is eager to gain a deeper interest of the political groundwork required of education reform.

Amanda Mitchell, Theology & Religious Studies, Senior

Bureau of State and County Corrections (BSCC)

While at USF, Amanda had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the Advocates for Community Engagement program for three years. Through the program she grew as a peer leader and facilitator, and acted as a liaison to meet the needs of all stakeholders involved in the service-learning experience. As an ACE, she partnered with the non-profit organizations Magic Zone—an after school youth enrichment program— and Upward Bound—a college readiness program for high school students. In the spring semester of 2014, she had the unique opportunity to act as the first Global ACE Fellow in the Casa Bayanihan study abroad program in the Philippines. While studying at Ateneo de Manila University, Amanda accompanied an L’Arche community, a home for persons with developmental mental disabilities. The variety of service and community engagement experiences Amanda has engaged in, both globally and locally, has shaped how she understands her personal identities and the world around her. She has discovered her own passions and skills, but the greatest insight she has gained over the past four years is that she has only scratched the surface. Much knowledge and experience remain untapped, creating a lifelong opportunity for Amanda to continue learning, exploring, and growing. Through the McCarthy Fellows program, Amanda hopes to further her education and develop a stronger sense of what it takes to make change on the larger systemic level and how she can be apart of such change.

Katie Thaxton-Elkins, Politics, Sophomore

California Department of Housing and Community Development- Housing Policy Development Division

As a Bay Area native most of Katie’s experience in regards to service has been around homelessness and education. For all of high school she tutored at the public library and continued tutoring through the America Reads program at the Tenderloin Community School. During her freshmen year at USF, she was in a yearlong service-learning program where she worked closely with the children of the Raphael House, a transitional home for formerly homeless families. Katie is currently the Advocate for Community Engagement, or ACE, for Episcopal Community Services, a nonprofit that provides housing, educational, and vocational opportunities for the homeless community of San Francisco. While she recruits service-learners and facilitate reflections with them about important social issues, she also works directly with clients in the Education Center tutoring those working toward their GED or high school diploma. Last semester she interned for Supervisor Jane Kim who represents the Tenderloin, Mission Bay, SoMa, and Treasure Island neighborhoods in order to understand the issues facing many of the people she works with at Episcopal at a policy level. Through this internship she learned a lot about the vibrant communities themselves while attending events and meetings on behalf of the office and conducting policy research. It is through the McCarthy Fellows program that she hopes to gain greater, state-wide political experience in order to understand the social issues in a broader perspective.

Joanne Wang, Master of Public Affairs Candidate

Office of State Treasurer John Chiang

As a Public Affairs graduate student, USF has given her the opportunity to develop a strong foundation of knowledge in the political process and with a greater understanding of public policy implementation and challenges. Joanne graduated from National Taiwan University with a bachelor’s degree in International Business. She worked as a volunteer to assist underprivileged youth during university. Originally from Taipei, she has spent eight years abroad in Canada during her elementary and high school years. This international background motivated her to pursue a deeper understanding in international relations and social engagement. She aims to combine the skills she gained in business and public affairs – both quantitative and qualitative – to address the global challenges we face today and to serve the public interest. Joanne was a student athlete though out high school and university. Her passion in sports inspires her to use sports as a vehicle for social change and to strengthen community bonds. Joanne is excited to be apart of the McCarthy Fellows program in Sacramento. She is very interested in how policies initiate at the state level and how they influence cities and communities. She looks forward to the learning opportunities and the multifaceted experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where will I live and what are living costs for students while in Sacramento?
The McCarthy Center will provide support in identifying convenient student housing options close to the Capitol. While housing costs are funded by the McCarthy Center, students will pay their own utilities, internet/cable, and other expenses. Students will also be provided with monthly stipends to assist with the cost of living while participating in the program.

I am a senior and will be graduating in May. Can I still participate in the program?
Yes, graduating seniors may apply to our Fellows program. While all our Fellows are required to participate in the Politics 375 course, graduating seniors enroll in this course for no credit. As with all our Fellows, graduating fellows are encouraged to use this unique opportunity to further develop their professional skill sets, expand their professional network, and gain working experience as they explore their career paths upon graduation.

I don’t have much professional experience in a political setting. Is this program for me?
Our Fellows program is open to students of all majors with a range of professional backgrounds. Through student preparation and training sessions prior to the start of the program, a week-long CA politics orientation in Sacramento, and ongoing support throughout the program, the McCarthy Center will assist students to maximize their professional growth during their internship in Sacramento. Students will also have a mentor to provide career and professional advice and will be encouraged to attend professional networking engagements throughout the summer.