Congressional Internship Program | Spotlight

From CSULA to Capitol Hill, Hollopeter interns with Congress

Anthropology major selected for Panetta Institute internship

Pictured: Carlos Hollopeter.
Carlos Hollopeter in front of the White House in Washington, D.C.

For 11 weeks this fall, Cal State L.A.’s anthropology major Carlos Hollopeter is in Washington, D.C. for hands-on learning about how democracy functions.

Hollopeter and 24 other college students were selected to participate in the Panetta Institute’s Congressional Internship Program based on scholastic achievements and interest in politics and policy. They received an intensive two-week training course before heading to Capitol Hill to work alongside members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“This has been a great opportunity,” said Hollopeter, who is interning in the office of Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-29). “I’m very happy with what I've been able to achieve here. It is humbling to go to work every day in a congressional office. Even the simplest task here has national significance.”

As a Panetta Institute intern, Hollopeter handles filing and mail correspondence, fields phone calls from other congressional offices as well as from the public, and gives tours of the U.S. Capitol building to district residents.

He also attends regular seminars with key administration personnel on government policies—ranging from the economy and the environment to foreign affairs and defense resources.

The Panetta Institute covers the cost of the internship program, including transportation and housing, and offers a small stipend and 20 academic credits.

Picture of Carlos Hollopeter and Adam Schiff.
Pictured: (l-r) CSULA student Carlos Hollopeter and Congressman Adam Schiff.

Upon returning to Cal State L.A., Hollopeter’s goal is to complete his bachelor’s degree in anthropology. He said, “Afterward, I would like to return to work in politics in D.C. or work for Doctors Without Borders (an international medical humanitarian organization); a division of Human Rights Watch; or UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).”

Hollopeter noted, “Something I learned that is significant, and ties in with anthropology, is the relationships between individual members of Congress.”

“Anthropology connects in politics in that it provides a way to examine the political parties as different cultures,” he explained. “The Democratic and Republican parties have different world views. They have different values systems, different societal expectations, and different cultural expectations.”

Founded in 1997 by Leon and Sylvia Panetta, the Panetta Institute serves the CSU system plus several other schools. The institute provides a variety of study opportunities in government, politics and public policy, and sponsors a range of other activities to benefit the surrounding communities.

According to Panetta Institute’s Director Sylvia M. Panetta, “The [congressional internship] program is an important part of the Panetta Institute’s mission to increase civic engagement. These young people get to see first-hand the challenges and opportunities of working in government and serving our democracy.”

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