Housed at the Public Service Center, Cal in the Capital (CITC) is a student-run internship program that takes place during the summer in Washington, DC. Each year, we prepare more than 75 Berkeley students for these challenging internships. With a reputation for excellence, our interns are in high demand and most students work full-time. Students from all majors, backgrounds, and interests participate in this program, which impacts not only their lives, but society as a whole. As a result, our interns have served in hundreds of different settings — including Congressional offices, federal and other government agencies, think tanks, nonprofit organizations, media centers, private corporations, and research institutions.
This year, Cal in the Capital is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Since 1965, Cal in the Capital has placed 3,500 interns with 400 organizations. Together, our interns have contributed more than 1,470,000 hours of service. Long after graduation, our graduates continue to make a difference.
“I can’t imagine a more valuable cause. You’re donating to the generation of future leaders and investing in the leadership of the nation. And you’re enriching the Washington environment because the contribution of students is not just expressed in terms of the work they do, but also in terms of the spirit they bring.”
Learn how you can support CITC for future generations.
CITC Application for Summer 2016 is now closed.
If you are interested in participating in Cal's Washington program during the Fall or Spring Semester, please visit the UCDC Berkeley Homepage.
For Cal Alumni, Cal Externship: Bring a Cal student to Work October 7th Deadline
Office Hours for Spring 2016 will take place in 218 Eshleman. To meet with individual director outside indicated office hours, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
Eligibility: Open to current undergraduate students
Student must be eligible for financial aid or Dream Act to be considered for an alumni scholarship. AB540 students who can demonstrate the appropriate level of need are eligible. Please consult the program coordinator regarding evaluation of need. You are also strongly urged to apply for the Dream Act Scholarship via financial aid (Nov. 30 priority deadline).
Note: Non-US Citizens may not be eligible for internships with federal government agencies or other internships requiring security clearance.
What will Cal in the Capital do for me?
A required spring Cal in the Capital DeCal course will prepare you for the internship application process and living in Washington, D.C. The class includes workshops on resume writing and editing, business etiquette, and mock interviews, and also includes important information about living in Washington, D.C. Cal in the Capital also invites guest speakers and past intern panelists each year. More benefits of participating in Cal in the Capital:
Cal in the Capital is proud of our long tradition of service in Washington, DC. Since the program's founding in 1965 by then-undergrad Michael McGinnis, thousands of Cal students have interned in DC. Cal in the Capital is incredibly grateful for its strong network of alumni and supporters.
Volunteer: We are always looking for alumni to host interns for the summer, coordinate regional alumni events, serve as speakers for the spring DeCal, and much more.
Donate: Simply visit Cal in the Capital's Give to Cal Page. Your donations provide scholarships for Cal in the Capital students, fund all Cal in the Capital programming, and can also help us reach the minimum level needed to establish a Cal in the Capital endowment. You can donate to support Cal in the Capital's general activities, or you can designate your donation for the CITC Alumni Scholarship Fund. All donations to Cal in the Capital are tax deductible. Any amount you can give is much appreciated.
Stay in touch: As always, we love to hear from you. Please feel free to email us updates or just share your preferred contact information.
Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm for Cal in the Capital.
Interested in having a Cal in the Capital Intern?
Potential intern sites are public-service driven, including government departments, agencies and organizations; non-profit organizations; think tanks; Congressional offices and committees; research agencies; and cultural institutions. If you are interested in hosting a Cal in the Capital Intern, please email us.
Cal in the Capital Interns are selected from a highly competitive pool of Cal undergraduates and represent a broad variety of disciplines. They are available to intern for 10 weeks in the summer, from early June to mid-August, and most interns work full-time. Cal in the Capital Interns stay at the UC Washington Center, conveniently located near Dupont Circle. In preparation for their summer internships, Cal in the Capital Interns take an academic course during spring semester, where they discuss public service, social issues and the workings of the federal government. Since the program's inception in 1965, Cal in the Capital interns have served in hundreds of different settings, including Congressional offices, federal agencies, think tanks, research centers, and nonprofit organizations.
What will having a Cal in the Capital intern do for me?
Cal in the Capital will train students on becoming productive and reliable interns in our spring semester course, which teaches students the fundamentals of working and living in Washington, D.C.
Review Student Biographies
To get in contact with a Cal in the Capital, please email email@example.com. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
Whether you are a student interested in applying to Cal in the Capital, an alumnus or alumna reminiscing about your experience, or a community partner interested in hosting a Cal in the Capital intern, be sure to check out the following blog posts about Cal in the Capital, written by program members from the 2015 class.
Political Economy and Development Studies
Class of 2017
I had never been to D.C. before but I always imagined it to be a very intimidating place. I heard from family and friends that it was a city like no other – with incomparable beauty and spirit.
They were absolutely right.
The thing I love about D.C. is that although it is one of the most important cities in the world, it is a welcoming place where an intern, such as myself, can quickly pick-up the pace and feel like a part of something bigger.
The night before my internship, I could not sleep. Tossing and turning in my bed, I could not help but think about the possibility of failure. Morning came and I made my way to Voto Latino – an organization focused on the U.S. Latino community. The idea of working for VL made me incredibly nervous because everyone there seemed unbelievably motivated – I wasn’t sure if I could keep up with that.
My first day was a blur of names, meetings, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Eight hours of work seemed like a lifetime – they went by so slowly. However, that was just the first day - I’ve quickly fallen in love with the organization and its people. Voto Latino’s noble mission strives to empower Latino Millennials in order to claim a better future for themselves and their community in the U.S. As an international student born and raised in Mexico City, this seemed like the perfect place for me.
My job is to keep the thousands of Voto Latino’s social media followers informed and engaged with breaking U.S. news and relevant economic and sociological studies. The people at the office value my opinion and make sure I feel included and respected – I truly appreciate that. Thus, I have quickly gotten the hang of the office’s dynamics, my boss’ expectations, and our objectives. In fact, today was the first day that I was officially given absolute control over our incredibly active Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ platforms. This means that all the activity that’ll take place on these networks will be under my guidance from now on. As exciting as this is, I’ve had to learn very fast to keep up. But, I absolutely love it so far.
Each afternoon, as I clean up my desk and push in my chair once the clock hits 6PM, I feel fulfilled. I know that I contributed something positive to the Latino community in the U.S and the rest of our social media followers. During those eight short hours, I made my best to keep people informed, engage in motivating discussions, and spark up interesting questions that have certainly added to my notion of public service and its significance.
As I walk back home amidst the overwhelming sensation of humidity and warmth, I think to myself that I might have just figured out what I want to do after college
American Society for International Law
Class of 2016
I walked to work and was embarrassingly early on my first day. It was half an hour before my official start time, and another half hour due to the relaxed tendencies of arrival in this office that existed outside my knowledge. I wasn’t quite sure to expect. Embassy Row, where the American Society of International Law is located, oozes importance. Ripe with flags from countries all over the world, it seemed more common to hear people speaking in a language I didn’t understand than speaking in English. It was both thrilling and intimidating to feel as if I’d just been tossed into a hotbed of policy, significance, and global change.
In a place like the one I’ve just described, it is easy to feel a little lost in the midst of it. D.C. can sometimes feel as if it has the ability to swallow you whole. The critical thing to remember is that almost everyone here is both interesting and interested. This applies to your bosses, co-interns, and other CITC students. People, I’ve noticed, are just as interested in hearing about your experiences as they are in telling you of their own. I’ve been here for just about a month, and I feel that the people I’ve met are some that I will know for many years in the future. In some cases, it’s easy. Your other interns, should you be lucky enough, are other college students around your age with similar interests; it seems natural that you should become friends. I caution you to avoid stopping your networking there however; though your bosses and supervisors may be accomplished, established, and intimidating, they are also just people. One of my favorite memories from this summer so far was when four senior staffers took all five interns in the office to a Nats game. At first I was surprised at the offer, but then felt silly almost immediately. They like baseball and they want to get to know their interns. What’s so odd about that?
My experience in D.C. has been characterized my moments like this. I have learned a valuable skill: how to connect with and to ask questions of the people who are currently in jobs that I aspire to. I’ve found that community building and networking is only hard when you get in your own way. Being an intern is not always a glamorous job, what with long, mostly unpaid hours that can sometimes feel thankless, so it’s easy to crawl home after work and sink into the couch. Instead, try going to a talk or seminar with other UC students in the building. More often than not, you’ll have a lot in common! Initially, “networking” seemed like a daunting task. What I’ve realized is that all networking actually is, is being genuine, engaged, and interested. Willingness to learn is one of the most important attributes one can develop, especially in D.C., and if you can manage to stay eager, you’ll find that the opportunities are endless.
United Nations Association, National Capital Area
Class of 2016
I'm originally from Maryland. Coming to DC seemed like less of a leap than my decision to attend Berkeley, but it's proven to be a totally different ball game. The working world is much different from college life-- it was slightly intimidating, and definitely exhausting. DC is faster paced, I originally felt like I might never ever want to leave college and begin a career, but something that's helped me bridge that gap was my interactions with young professionals. People who have recently graduated college, especially Cal grads who I've met through the Cal Alumni Club, completely exemplify a successful transition into working in this amazing city.
My first interaction with members of the Cal Alumni Club was at the Cal in the Capital welcome reception. It was easy going and smooth. By way of overlapping interests and shared experiences at Cal, it was effortless to identify with everyone I spoke to. The event made me feel infinitely more confident heading into my internship and the rest of the summer. So many people before me had taken these steps, so I knew I could do it too with the support of my incredible university, and my peers who walked in the same shoes as I do. Transitioning to a new place as a part of the Cal community has made me realize I'll never be alone as a Golden Bear.
U.S. Department of Commerce: Minority Business Development Agency
Business Administration/Political Science
Class of 2018
I don’t think it really hit me until I was sitting on the bleachers at the Congressional Baseball Game in Washington, D.C., and I heard someone yell “Obama!”— I looked down and sure enough, President Barack Obama was standing on the field, waving to the audience. And with that sudden, unexpected appearance of our nation’s leader came the realization that I was sitting in capital of the United States of America, one of the most important cities in the world. I was sharing a stadium with the president of the United States. I was doing it with an amazing group of friends. And an entire summer of stories just waiting to be told lay ahead of me.
When I first signed up to be part of Cal in the Capital, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew that I would be interning somewhere in Washington, D.C., but the summer seemed so far away and the nation’s capital felt so distant that it didn’t feel real enough. Now, I walk every morning to the U.S. Department of Commerce for my internship with the Department’s Minority Business Development Agency. During that morning walk, I walk on beautiful cobblestone streets, cross the White House, and make a final turn in front of the Washington Monument. It’s a commute I couldn’t tire of if I tried.
Through my internship, I have been able to truly make an impact on hundreds of American businesses as well as engage with and strengthen the nation’s minority demographic. I have worked with leaders in the agency as well as members of other offices within the Department of Commerce to better understand the impact that a strong economy and business environment can have on the everyday lives of Americans. I am on the front lines, doing valuable research and engaging in projects that help business owners and the agency’s nearly 50 national Business Centers find access to capital and global markets so that their businesses and communities can thrive. And when I leave work, I am able to attend a different networking event nearly every day, so that I can learn not just about the work that the Department of Commerce is doing, but can also meet with leadership in private industry, other federal agencies, and the political arena. Between networking events, community gatherings, and coffee chats with coworkers, I have been able to learn the kind of intricacies surrounding politics and policymaking that I would never have been able to glean from any textbook or newspaper. And while my commute stays the same, every day, I learn and absorb something new. Who knows — I might just run into the president again. At the very least, I’m going to enjoy every last drop of this summer.
U.S. Department of Treasury
Class of 2018
My name is Lilac Peterson. I am a rising sophomore double majoring in Economics and Chinese and minoring in Public Policy. I am interning with the Treasury Department. These make me a minority in the Berkeley cohort. However, I hope anyone who wants to intern in D.C. will find my insights from a very positive internship experience helpful.
I work in the Shared Services Division (SSD). It combines finance, data systems, inter-department relations, and a constant drive for further efficiency. To briefly explain SSD, three employees oversee about $220 million that 51 government bureaus and agencies pay to 34 program offices that provide services. Shared Services epitomizes using taxpayer funds and time as efficiently as possible, and have incited a remarkable amount of change in the federal space in the last few years.
I love my internship because almost all the work SSD gives me is work they would do if they had more time. They constantly ask for suggestions to improve their system. By association, this also means they welcome many, many questions so I can better understand what SSD does.
I thrive in an environment like SSD because I’m keen to learn and always like to keep busy with varied and substantive assignments. My constant curiosity led to SSD including me in nearly all office functions and commending me on Treasury’s homepage. This mentality will help you in any government work. Everyone talks about the power of connections in D.C., but I have learned that government, especially Treasury, wants above all else people who get things done. Producing lots of quality, error-free work will also grant you more opportunities to take time to expand your network during the workday.
I am someone who feels more intimate with words than numbers, yet I went from hardly having any Excel experience to comfortably working with spreadsheets. Using Excel every day has begun to change the way I think. Having a “spreadsheet mind” won’t help me predict the future, unfortunately, but it has helped my point-to-point thinking.
Clear and concise writing is not the government’s forte, which it is constantly trying to improve upon. Berkeley students have a leg up on a lot of government employees in this regard. Make sure to showcase your clear writing skills in your cover letter.
I hope that you’ll weigh growth more than salary (unless financial standing makes that an imperative factor). I turned down two top choice paid internships to accept Treasury’s offer. D.C. is shockingly expensive, but I am happier on a tighter budget than I would be at a paid internship that my heart wasn’t completely invested in.
As a piece of parting advice, D.C. is a galaxy of talents that will humble if not intimidate you. Remember that you’re a star in that galaxy too! When you’re immersed in a bubble full of young and promising talent, you will inspire each other and grow together. Best of luck!
Class of 2017
Walking into that empty office on the ninth floor, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I anticipated getting my supervisors coffee or mindlessly entering information on Excel spreadsheets, but what I found was so much more.
Although Cal in the Capital is focused on getting hardworking students quality internships, my experience in Washington, D.C. ended up being so much more than that. I found amazing opportunities to help those around me through my work in the office, whether it was writing research briefs on the accountability of our government or talking with Congressional offices about how they were helping ensure voting rights. Yet what truly made my internship special was what I did outside the office. One day I was attending a press conference in the Capitol, another day I was attending a Senate hearing. One of the best experiences was driving nine hours by bus to a voting rights rally in Roanoke, Virginia. I found that helping the public was more than just writing documents in an office, it included getting on the ground to fight for people. My organization was focused on giving back power to the people, and by fighting for campaign finance reform, fighting for more accountable government, and fighting for voting rights, I truly felt like I helped people through my internship.
After my time in DC, I’ve found that there is a lot of work to be done in trying to make our democracy a better one. Right now, since our government is incredibly responsive to big money and corporations, it is hard for the average citizen to have their voice heard in Washington. Looking back on my experience, I know that being more conscious of one’s own role in government is incredibly important. We must all be aware of what those who are representing us are fighting for and how that impacts us on a daily basis. This also fits into how we should act at Cal. Serving the public, especially in the Berkeley community, is an amazing way to try and better our democracy. I know that coming back for my junior year I will try and raise awareness of the hidden issues that are impacting all of us in the hopes that maybe we can work together to stop it.
This past summer was almost indescribable. I got to witness the Supreme Court legalizing marriage equality, travelled across the country to fight for voting rights, and even got to shake the Vice President’s hand. Cal in the Capital was more than just helping me to get an internship, it was helping me to have an experience that will define me for years to come.
We want to thank you so much for your support and for helping more students experience the life-changing summer internships with Cal in the Capital. Go Bears!
Dr. Angela Browne-Miller, CITC Intern, 1980 – 1981
“My Cal in the Capital experience continues to affect my life to this day. I was placed as an intern in President Carter’s White House Conference on Families, and then continued for the Office for Families when Reagan came into office. All this was invaluable, profoundly formative for me, and gave my career a major head start.”
Steven Harris, CITC Intern, 1991 – 1992
and CITC Director, 1993 – 1994
“Without the support of alumni back then, I would not have had the opportunity to transform my life by getting two different internships, and having those internships turn into a job. We have an obligation to provide for the next generation of Cal students who are going to go to Washington. We’re going to change the world, and we have, and we will. We have to find the means for Cal students to continue to excel.”
Very few of our internships are paid, so the transformative experience of Cal in the Capital is out of reach for most Berkeley students. Our interns currently pay their way by taking on extra jobs during the school year, through limited scholarships, hard-to-obtain summer financial aid, and even crowdfunding websites. Even so, the current cost of $5,000 — which includes housing at the UCDC Washington Center, travel, and basic living expenses for the 10-week program — is too much of a stretch.
CITC is generously supported by UC Berkeley Residential and Student Services Programs, the ASUC, and donors like you.
There are many ways you can help make Cal in the Capital accessible to even more students.