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The LegiSchool Project Real World Civics Summer Internship 2010. Introduction.

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The LegiSchool Project is a Civic Education collaboration between California State University, Sacramento and the California State Legislature. The Project’s mission is to engage California’s high school students in matters of public policy and state government.

Each year the LegiSchool Project organizes the Real World Civics Summer Internship Program. This program gives a select number of high school students in the Sacramento area the opportunity to experience state government in action!

During the internship students spend two weeks interning in the Legislative branch in an Assembly or Senate office and two weeks interning in an Executive Branch office.

Also, student interns participate in many internship activities such as Courtroom as a Classroom, a mock hearing, a “Behind the Scenes” tour of the State Capitol, and community service.

intern jodi mao west campus high school
Intern: Jodi MaoWest Campus High School



A great way to connect with your community is through community service. This is why the LegiSchool interns took a trip to the Sacramento Food Bank in Oak Park. We helped in the clothing closet, the mother and baby program, and the food assistance program.


A great way to familiarize yourself with the State Capitol is a scavenger hunt! We ran from office to office in search of business cards, the security guard’s signature, someone who could translate Latin, and more.

a 2 nd year intern s perspective
A 2nd Year Intern’s Perspective

Interning in the Capitol has been a life-changing experience! Every day brings new adventures:

exploring urban Sacramento

seeing rallies and protests

working on legislative summaries/analyses

writing press releases

attending committee hearings

meeting with Senators and Assembly members

sitting in on floor sessions

There is always something interesting happening!

“Now, whenever I’m part of a discussion about politics, I’m not afraid to chime in with my first-hand experiences that give me unique insight. The internship opened my eyes to so many aspects of the Legislature that the press does not and cannot capture.”

—Derek Luscutoff, 2nd year Intern

Vista Del Lago High School

intern jessica sankus bella vista high school
Intern: Jessica SankusBella Vista High School



  • Using the experience gained from working in our Legislative offices, we participated in a Mock Hearing on AB 1998.
  • We performed the role of either the bill’s author, or a lobbyist or witness in support or opposition to the legislation.
  • We researched the significance of our bill and we presented it before a panel of “Senators”, who were played by our mentors and 2nd year interns.
  • I spent part of my Executive branch experience with the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA)
  • I learned the innovative and aggressive stance that California takes concerning the protection and maintenance of our environment

A picture of our Mock Hearing in action

My mentors and I at Cal EPA

My Legislative branch experience

“Being involved in the Legislative process was a very powerful experience. Working with the Senate Committee on Business and Professions showed me just how hard our legislature works to create fair laws and how these laws can benefit our society in relation to regulating business.”

intern cindy robles cosumnes oaks high school
Intern: Cindy RoblesCosumnes Oaks High School



It was a very good experience to work in Senator Loni Hancock’soffice with my mentor Robert Blanco. Considering that I did not know anything about the legislature before my internship, I sure did learn a lot in two weeks! I got to read many bills and go to many committee hearings. I also was able to go on the floor of the Senate with all the Senators.

Getting the opportunity to work at CaliforniaVolunteers with my mentor Nicola Hil was a wonderful experience. I had my own cubicle and own email, which I thought was pretty cool. I learned so much about California Volunteers and what a big role they play in California. I believe that CaliforniaVolunteers is an important agency, because they give people the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other Californians through volunteerism.

Senator Hancock and me

My mentor Nicola and me

One of my favorite parts of the internship was when we got the opportunity to meet Senator Alex Padilla. He is one of the people who I look up to, and is proof that anything is possible. He was elected to the Senate at the age of 33.

intern zala ahmadzaa monterey trail high school
Intern: Zala AhmadzaaMonterey Trail High School



I was able to work with my mentor Daisy Gonzales in the Assembly Budget Committee

Working in the Department of Education was so cool!

See, I got my own badge!

Although I was Daisy’s intern, I was working in Joe’s office. As well as being friendly, Joe was really accommodating and helped me to understand the budget process better.

My interview with Superintendent Jack O’Connell was exciting. This was his last term in office. We talked about his plans to close the achievement gap in schools and help smooth the transition from 12th grade to college/careers.

My mentor, Lily Baird was so nice. She was assigned to the Legislative Affairs Division, so every bill she was working on she would explain it to me and we would discuss the pros and cons of it. I also helped her by doing some research for her.

Lenea was another intern in my office. She showed me how to work programs such as LIS (Legislative Info System) to track bills.

My time in the Executive Branch was very worthwhile. During my stay I was able to go to a State Board of Education meeting and a briefing with Superintendent O’Connell. I was also able to talk to the Chief of the Department of Legislative Affairs, and learn about some of her experiences.

Working with the Assembly Budget Committee was a such a great privilege. I was able to learn so much from the people around me. I learned about the different kinds of policies the legislators deal with and was also able to do some bill analysis. Also, I was able to go down to the Assembly floor with Christian Griffith, the Chief Committee Consultant, and meet Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield, Chair of the Budget Committee.

intern salvador rosas laguna creek high school
Intern: Salvador RosasLaguna Creek High School



  • In Senator Padilla’s office I learned about

the legislative process.

  • Had opportunities to sit into meetings with different lobbyists and interest groups.
  • Watched committee hearings where Senators and Assembly members would present and discuss various bills.
  • Learned that each staff member in the legislative office is assigned to focus on analyzes specific types of bills (i.e. Veteran Affairs, Education, Health, etc.).
  • Helped oversee staff members as they analyzed specific bills.
  • Shadowed the Senator for a day.
  • At the office of Secretary of State Debra Bowen, I was able to see the legislative process from an Executive point of view.
  • I worked in the Legislative

and Constituent Affairs


  • Sat in on weekly staff and

Legislative meetings to

discuss any activities or bills

being tracked by the agency.

  • Wrote letters to address the concerns of constituents.
  • Assisted the Voter Outreach team in planning the My Vote High School Mock Election 2010.

“Taking the famous horseshoe tour of the Governor’s Office gave me an idea of what it might be like to work in the Governor’s Office. It helped me realize how much the Governor depends on the extensive staff working in his administration.”

Shadow Day with Senator Padilla

(Taken in the Maddy Lounge)

Governor Schwarzenegger's Office

a 2 nd year intern s perspective10
A 2nd Year Intern’s Perspective

“The LegiSchool Summer Internship is an experience that has had a profound and lasting impact on my life. The caring mentors, the tremendous opportunities, the constructive challenges – it all adds up to provide an exceptional program of civic immersion. Thank you to everyone who has had a part in allowing me this privilege.”

-Ross Hougham, 2 nd year intern

Horizons Charter School

intern steven duval folsom high school
Intern: Steven Duval Folsom High School



  • The best part of my internship was being able to work in Senator Bob Dutton’s office and being able to take part in the legislative process. I worked with SB 1402 and watched it go through the Legislative process. It gave me priceless insight to the inner workings of state government.
  • My time at the Department of Social Services showed me the gears that drive the agency and made it clear that it’s not the convoluted red tape maze that many think it is. Getting involved in my mentor’s research project (a foster runaway program) and shadowing her at meetings gave me a first hand view of how the Executive branch implements laws and procedures once they are through the legislative process.

The upper level deck of the State Capitol

2010 Interns in the Cupola

“The Cupola tour was amazing. Hundreds of feet above the city, it really gives one a

grand perspective from the State Capitol”

courtroom as a classroom
Courtroom as a Classroom

Courtroom as a Classroom was the day we got to spend learning about the Judicial Branch. We took a trip to the Sacramento County Superior Court were we watched a trial as well as talked to Judge De Alba. We got a tour of the courthouse and we even got to see the holding cells.

Afterwards we went to the 3rd District Court of Appeals where we were able to talk to Chief Justice Arthur Scotland as well as take a tour of the historical artifacts in the court.

3rd District Court of Appeals

Judge De Alba’s Chamber

Derek Lustcutoff:

“I loved talking with judges at the county courthouse and appellate court. I realized that they have families and live normal lives like everyone else, even if they seem isolated and intimidating while presiding over hearings. It was an informative, engaging experience.”

Zala Ahmadzaa:

“I learned that every case that is taken into the court is handled very carefully. Most judges are well experienced lawyers and they determine the law very accurately and make sure it is followed.”

Inside the county courthouse

Inside the 3rd District Court of Appeals

Cindy Robles:

“I learned that Judges do not have as much power as people think they do. I also learned that Judges are first appointed by the Governor then elected by the people after a certain time period.”

Jodi Mao:

“My most memorable experience was sitting on the expungement hearings, which occur every other week. At the hearings, different people presented their cases in front of a judge to try to clear their criminal records.”

Salvador Rosas:

“I learned that it is the role of the Judicial branch to interpret the laws. That is sometimes hard to do since some laws are made with very vague language. I also learned that they use past cases and decisions to help them in interpreting the laws.”

Jessica Sankus:

“I learned how fascinating the differences are between trial and appellate courts and how complex our system of appeals is.”