Presidential Public Service Fellowships

Public Service Fellows receive $2,500 in financial support to help offset incidental costs related to internships through the UC Washington Center or the UC Center Sacramento. The fellowship program is open to all undergraduates, regardless of major. Fellows are selected based on financial need and a demonstrated commitment to civic engagement and public service. 

Interested in politics or public policy? Apply now for a Public Service Fellowship.

Fresh from internships in Washington D.C. and Sacramento, UC’s first group of Presidential Public Service Fellows came together at UC’s Office of the President recently to be honored for their service and to share their experiences.

“I felt like my work was making a difference for people in my own community, which for me was the most important thing,” said UC Santa Cruz senior Katiuska Pimentel-Vargas, who worked as a health and education fellow in U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office. “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to work in the U.S. Senate and to work alongside people who are making a change for my own state.”

The program is now recruiting its next class of fellows, and will select students from every undergraduate campus. To qualify, you must apply for an internship through the UC Center Sacramento or the UC Washington Center, and demonstrate financial need and a commitment to civic engagement.

Available internships vary widely. Students have opportunities to work within state or federal agencies, or with elected officials, advocacy groups, scientific organizations, public relations firms or the news media. 

Dejanay Wayne, a senior at UC San Diego, landed a paid internship at the National Education Association, the perfect spot for advancing her goals of becoming a leader in education. 

“My experience was nothing less than marvelous,” Wayne said. “I have a perspective now on urban education, suburban educations, charter schools — the good, the bad, and the pros and cons on all of it.”

An internship is a great way to see if a public service career might be a good personal fit. UC tuition and fees will cover most of internship costs. The Public Service Fellowships provide $2,500 in financial support for any incidental expenses. 

UC President Janet Napolitano created the program last year to ensure that costs weren’t a roadblock for students who wanted to experience an internship related to public policy or civic engagement.

“There are few callings that are as essential to a healthy democracy as a career in public service,” Napolitano said.

To celebrate the first class of fellows, Napolitano invited the group to a recognition dinner at her Oakland residence. The following day they met with other UC Office of the President leaders to hear about their personal paths to a public service career, and to talk about considerations for attending graduate or law school.

Genesis Delgado, a UC Irvine senior who was among the participants, said her experience working in the Sacramento office of state Sen. Richard Pan taught her the value of speaking up when the right moment presented itself, and being ready to seize opportunities as they arose.

“I loved being in the capital, and the energy there,” Delgado said. “It’s a great place to network and for stepping into different professional directions after the fellowship program.”