M. Quin Hodges

Student Completing Internship in Washington D.C.

December 5, 2006

By Mimi Ko Cruz

M. Quin Hodges, a political science and Spanish major, is interning in Washington D.C. as part of the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy internship program.

He has been working in the office of Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), and will complete his internship on Dec. 8.

I thought I understood the legislative process and how it works before I started this internship, but it’s not so cut and dry like they explain in the classroom,” the 24-year-old senior said. “It’s a lot more involved and I understand it a lot better now because I’m getting practical experience.”

Hodges is representing Fullerton as one of 25 interns in the program. He is living at the Hawthorne Suites in Alexandria, Va., which the Institute pays for as part of his internship. In addition, his breakfast and dinner meals also are paid for and he receives a $700-a-month stipend.
The president of each CSU campus, as well as the presidents of Santa Clara University and the Dominican University of California, chose one student for his or her scholastic achievements and interest in politics to participate in the program. The Institute has been hosting the interns each fall for eight years.
Kicking off the internship in September, the interns spent two weeks at Cal State Monterey Bay, where the Panetta Institute is based. There, they participated in an intensive training course on how to work effectively in a congressional office. They heard from Leon Panetta, a former White House Chief of Staff under President Clinton, Congressional members, political consultants, lobbyists and newspaper editors before receiving their Congressional assignment.
“I’m getting a lot of opportunities to work with Congressman Sherman’s legislative assistants,” Hodges said, citing examples of the work he has done. “I’m loving it.”
One such example, he said, was working with a legislative aide recommending that Sherman support a bill that requires a statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Sherman consequently supported AB-32 and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the anti-global warming legislation in September.
The Panetta Institute was founded in 1998 by Leon Panetta and his wife, Sylvia, to provide study opportunities in government, politics and public policy and includes a lecture series and reports, in addition to the internship program that gives students hands-on experience.
“At a time when many students are turned off by politics, I believe this kind of Washington experience is the most effective way to inspire and educate our young people about the rewards and challenges of a career in public service,” Leon Panetta said in a press release. “Because the Panetta Institute covers all costs of the program, it is open to students of all economic backgrounds.”