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Business student learns about government as a Panetta Institute congressional intern

September 8, 2015

Business major assigned to work in Rep. Jim Costa’s office in Washington, D.C.

Cal State L.A. business major Lilia Kavarian is learning about the legislative process as part of the Panetta Institute’s Congressional Internship Program.

Kavarian was one of 25 students selected into the program based on scholastic achievements and interest in politics and policy. She began working on August 24 in the Washington, D.C. office of Rep. Jim Costa, who represents the 16th District, which includes all of Merced County and parts of Fresno and Madera counties.

She received an intensive two-week training course before heading to Capitol Hill.

“Initially, I was very interested in learning the political background of our country today since all the classes and internships I had participated in were mostly focused on the law and judicial process, but never the legislative side of our democracy,” said Kavarian, 22, who lives in La Crescenta. “After participating in the two-week lecture series at the Panetta Institute, my eyes were opened to the real Washington, D.C. awaiting me and my fellow interns for the next two and a half months.”  

As a Panetta Institute intern, Kavarian drafts correspondence and conducts legislative research for the congressional office. She also attends weekly seminars on policy issues and different aspects of government.

“I hope to gain valuable skills in leadership and continue the values I hold in having integrity and respecting others with opposing or different political views,” she said. “It is time for our country to put people before politics and work towards the betterment of our democracy.”

When she returns to Cal State L.A., Kavarian will complete her bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in pre-legal studies. Her ambition is to attend law school and one day become a judge.

An Honors College student at Cal State L.A., Kavarian holds three associate degrees from Pasadena City College—in business administration, French and humanities. She interned last summer for Superior Court Judge Suzanne Brugera at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown L.A. This summer, she worked in the downtown criminal courthouse.

The Panetta Institute covers internship program costs including course registration fees, campus services during orientation, air travel and housing in Washington D.C. Each student also receives 20 credits upon successful completion of the internship.

Founded in 1997 by Leon and Sylvia Panetta, the Panetta Institute provides internships to students in the California State University system. The institute provides study opportunities in government, politics and public policy, and sponsors a range of other programs. Leon Panetta is a former congressman and served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and as secretary of defense.

Photo: Cal State L.A. student Lilia Kavarian, in the middle, is presented a certificate by Leon and Sylvia Panetta for completing a two-week course as part of the Panetta Institute’s Congressional Internship Program. (Credit: Panetta Institute)

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