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 2017 will open 9/2/16
If you are interested in participating in Cal's Washington program during the Fall or Spring Semester, please visit the UCDC Berkeley Homepage.
Office Hours begins 9/7/16 in 218 Eshleman. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
Eligibility: Open to current undergraduate students
Summer 2016 Application will open September 2, 2016
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 2016 class.
Congrerssman Sanford D. Bishop (GA-02)
Class of 2016
As week two of most of our internships is ending, I am taken back by how much can happen in such a short amount of time. I’ve gone from listening to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, in the Chamber of the House of Representatives, to sitting in the first row of that very room facing the podium Modi spoke at just days before. Time and opportunities move quickly and it’s imperative to the growth of society that we utilize these opportunities we have been provided and create a more accepting, equitable society.
My image of D.C. used to be composed of snippets of politicians and monuments during a family vacation, but as I have gotten older, the image has grown to include D.C. as a place where things happen and society is changed on a legislative level. I knew this is where it happened, but I didn’t exactly know how. The legislative process seemed distant to me, but the policies have become even more real getting to, in a way, put a face to the name. I see now how these laws originated from people seeing an issue with society, and offering a suggestion backed by research. The loss of 49 lives in Orlando has spurred even more conversations about gun regulation. I have come to see D.C. as a complex and dynamic place where a single decision has a million implications and we take our value to the next level.
Coming from Berkeley, we learn quickly the importance of public service and how involvement makes for a richer experience. By attending briefings, I have seen a link between public service and government. Last week, I attended Black Men and Boys Caucus Roundtable Discussion that worked to bring the narratives of a few young men to the forefront of congressional and public attention. The men who spoke showed how involvement in certain programs has changed the course of their lives. Raheem DeVaughn, an R&B artist and founder of the LoveLife Foundation, described how it was his responsibility to help others achieve social mobility as he has through music. The LoveLife Foundation does just that — it provides programs for the disadvantaged youth.
Raheem learned to harness his growing influence to motivate at-risk youth and now, we must do the same and leverage our skills accumulated through UC Berkeley, CITC, and our various internship sites. Our impassioned suggestions are what will help dismantle the structural barriers and change the image of D.C. and society as a whole. We must reach back and help those behind us achieve more for themselves and more than ourselves.
Office of Senator Barbara Boxer
Public Policy and Philosophy Minor
Class of 2018
Washington D.C. – the capital of the free world, an enigmatic bureaucracy that acts as the tiring, unidealistic engine of our nation.
But, here I am.
Here we are.
As I find myself in my daily journey to the United States Senate Building, I board the metro, on which I find myself in a sea of faces, each with eyes that contain bottomless seas of sublime memories and ardent dreams. I am reminded of the incessant oscillation of the winds of change, and the continuous need to adapt and adjust my sails.
Working in the Office of Senator Barbara Boxer, I have had the privilege of being able to take on a role that has provided me with a tremendous amount of insight regarding the inner workings of our government. Attending congressional hearings with individuals like Senator Warren, Senator Boxer, Senator Feinstein, Senator Paul, and Senator McCain, attending briefings with individuals like the Director of the CIA and high ranking officials from the Department of State, as well as receptions that focus on issues of great importance like global food security and climate change conducted by organizations like USAID and NASA – any and all of it has been more than I could have asked for.
But, still, I sometimes find disillusionment in the glacial progress that occurs within the Capitol. I find myself feeling disempowered. Up until this point in my life, I have constantly tried to leave a mark on society, to make sure that in the little time I have on this planet, that I can provide the world with as much happiness as I can.
Becoming lost in the mundane proceedings of life can and have severely impacted my motivation; if I feel that I cannot help others, then I feel no motivation to continue to work. However, in the short period of time I have worked in Washington, one of the most precious pieces of advice I have received is this:
I believe that no one is powerless, as long as a love for others persists. Even if a candle’s flame is dying, if it can help ignite another, then it can always be relit.
So, let’s find happiness in what we are doing for others; let’s harness our intrinsic potentials; let’s work towards a greater future, and, when we feel disempowered, unengaged, or insignificant, let us remind ourselves that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.
Department of Education, Office of the Inspector General
Political Science and Minor in Russian
Class of 2017
I’ve always been grossed out by the idea of networking. Whenever networking came up during preparations for my trip to DC, I’d always imagine smarmy businessmen chuckling about sports at a secret gentlemen’s club. If I tried to picture myself networking, I’d just come up with a strong feeling of embarrassment and not having business cards. However, I’ve been surprised at how easy and natural networking has been here. First of all, it’s a bit like a date in that both parties know the other one is interested in talking. If you’re at a networking event or have set up an informational interview over coffee, your conversational partner has already agreed to share knowledge with you. So you don’t have to worry about infringing on someone’s time. Second of all, when I’m networking for any considerable length of time, I’m probably talking about something I’m very interested in. The questions to ask come naturally, because if I am interested in a relevant career path or issue area, I want to find out everything about it. The hardest part is just getting the conversation started and trying to push past the initial self-consciousness.
Reaching out can sometimes just lead to an interesting conversation, but it can also be a great opportunity. At an alumni event – which I highly recommend attending – I connected with someone in the department I am interning in, who helped connect me to others whose work I am interested in. From that one conversation, I’ve received a lot of contacts and advice that help me to contextualize my internship experience and get outside of my small office. Since I work directly with only three other people, those connections have been valuable for getting a variety of perspectives on the work of our department and exposure to different opinions and experiences.
Finally, when talking to people in a professional context, I frequently feel the desire to censor myself, or to tailor my answers to what I think my conversational partner wants to hear. These impulses often come up unconsciously, and only after do I realize that I did not portray my thoughts accurately. While a certain amount of self-guidance is necessary in professional contexts, I believe for people like me it is best to try to be bolder. After all, I want feedback that is tailored to my personality and my experiences, so being cautious will result in accruing information that is less relevant for me. Your mileage will vary, of course, depending on who you are and the context in which you are operating.
It’s been easier than I thought to reach out and connect. I think I’ve also gained a lot of confidence in terms of approaching people I’d like to know more about, and I hope to carry that forward into the next semester and onward. The summer is still young – and I know networking, even though the word still sounds a bit repellant to me, will be a part of making the most of it.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Class of 2017
On June 23rd, the Cal in the Capital students directors and four interns were invited to our DC Alumni Club’s Annual Reception Dinner.
My personal experience at this dinner was particularly touching and inspiring. I got to meet a host of people that were so warm and encouraging. The honored guest of the night was Maureen Orth, a journalist who blazed the way for women in writing and changed the face of education for villages in Colombia. After humbly acknowledging these accomplishments, she spent the majority of her time, urging her fellow alumni to support UC Berkeley. She spoke to the increasing difficulty of financing our education, despite being a public school. She continually emphasized the importance of creating a culture of philanthropy amongst Berkeley graduates to give back to the school that gives each student so much more than a formal education. Alongside her inspiring speech, Elizabeth Keenan, or lovingly referred to as Betsy, spoke with pride about Cal in the Capital. Unbeknownst to the directors and interns at CITC, the Alumni Club has been working tirelessly for three years to create an endowment for our program. It is well known that being a part of CITC requires being able to pay a large sum in order to live in the UCDC Center and to simply survive in a city with such a high cost of living. With most of us being unpaid interns, the costs of this program are high and the alumni are well aware of our struggle. For myself, hearing the alumni speak of our program with pride while working so hard to cover costs for our students...was moving. I had no idea that our alumni cared so deeply for the success of our students. I had no idea that people who had never met me were fighting for me and for a program that has opened countless doors for me.
Throughout the night, many alumni approached me and simply said “I am so proud of you.” Without knowing anything about me, these alumni were proud of the accomplishments I made in coming out to Washington and being apart of this program. It was incredibly touching to see the camaraderie that exists between fellow Bears and their relentless willingness to help us, to advise us, to support us. That night, I was so proud to be a Bear, to be apart of a community that is so giving and genuine. I hope to become as generous and warm as the alumni I’ve met in my time in DC. Whether they’ll read this post, I can’t be sure but thank you so much, DC Alumni. You’ve impacted myself and the CITC interns more than you know.
Office of the Secretary of Education
Class of 2018
“Have a good weekend!” I told the Secretary of Education. He instructed me cheerfully to do the same. Friday evening of my first week on the job, that was our first real interaction of the summer. It wasn’t a press conference, a photo-op, or a speech. On some level, we were just two coworkers excited to get home after a busy week.
Working down the hall from the room where so many transformative decisions are made for our country has been truly humbling. As the other interns and I labor away on our projects in our shared office space, we regularly see outside stakeholders, assistant secretaries, and leaders of nonprofits and think tanks make the journey from the elevators on the top floor of the Department to the Secretary’s conference room. Every once in a while, we’re invited too. Despite the gravity of the work that happens here, we have become as much a part of the space as the space has become ours.
We enjoy the same office shenanigans as any other work environment: there are slow days, there are days when you can barely keep up, there are always missing staplers, there are lunch breaks that last longer than any lunch break should, and there are conflicts over who gets to use the comfiest chair that doesn’t squeak. But at the heart of it all, there is an omnipresent sense of purpose. Every minute has felt intentional and has felt like a step in the right direction towards some higher goal.
Accessible and affordable higher education. Reduced discrimination and harassment in schools. Protecting youth vulnerable to chronic absenteeism. Improving college completion rates. Supporting students who depend on financial aid. Expanding the use of campus climate surveys. Lifting up the teaching profession. Fighting campus sexual assault. The utter destruction of the for-profit college industry.
Here in DC, distant as we are from the grassroots activism that sparks all true change, the endgame feels incredibly close. Change seems tangible. Possible, even. And in some miniscule way, our work is helping us get there.
It feels good. It’s a feeling many of us will spend our lives chasing.
I’m incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to spend my summer here doing work I’m passionate about with people I admire and adore. It’s not an opportunity accessible to everyone, and I bear that in mind every day. I’m intensely lucky to be here not just as an intern of the Department but also as a fellow with Cal in the Capital. The resources that UCDC has access to, from connections with employers to scholarships for students to offset D.C. housing costs, are priceless. I’m most grateful, however, for the sense of community that comes with experiencing this city and this work with a squad of other UC students. Whether Golden Bears, Bruins, Tritons, Gauchos, Aggies, Anteaters, Banana Slugs, Highlanders, or Bobcats, we’re experiencing the magic of the Capital together, and we’re ready to bring what we learn here back to California.
Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-02)
Political Science, Society and Evironment
Class of 2018
When the wave of summer interns hits D.C. there are a lot of new small fish in a big pond. We pile into the Metro, crowd the halls of the Capitol, and frantically work to impress our office staff. The lifestyle is not always the most glamorous, but all these small fish are swimming towards high aspirations.
The current that helps us interns are people we are surrounded by in this swamp. The chance to see what we want and how to get there. Each legislative staffer in my office tends to a different collection of issue areas. For example, the same person works on education, agriculture, and health. In one day he can field meetings with multiple groups advocating on behalf of each issue area. As an intern, I work on just about every single subject area depending on who needs briefings attended or projects executed. The same day I collected research about the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, I attended a democratic caucus gun violence prevention meeting on strategies to push forward legislation. After compiling a list of all the Confederate soldiers buried in National Park Service owned cemeteries, I helped edit a letter to constituents on rural broadband access. That is a taste of how diverse the issues covered in a congressional office in a day.
The staffers I am surrounded by are bright and hard workers who handle all subject matters with agility and expertise. They are fighting on the right side of history for the environment, society, and country; I cannot imagine better people to learn from. When the Democratic gun violence sit-in occurred last month, my Congressman was down there with them, steadfastly representing what he and his constituents believe in. He was speaking for those who can no longer speak for themselves. My office has taught me that politics is about the people and always keeping that in mind is critical to the work we do in D.C. A summer on the hill has given me memories and skills that will accompany me into my professional career. Interning for an office that serves to better the lives of American people has allowed me to better myself.
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.