CSUSB Psychology Student Headed to D.C. for Panetta Internship

Kristen Ramos, Cal State San Bernardino student, was selected for the prestigious congressional internship program

By Racheal Rickman
Published on LatinoLA: June 20, 2014

CSUSB Psychology Student Headed to D.C. for Panetta Internship

Kristen Ramos, a senior at Cal State San Bernardino, has been selected by the Panetta Institute for Public Policy to serve in its prestigious congressional internship program this summer and fall.

One student from each of the California State University's 23 campuses and one student each from the Dominican University of California, San Rafael; Santa Clara University; and, Saint Mary's College of California, were selected.

A Grand Terrace resident, the psychology major studying geography-global studies and minoring in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies graduated in the top 1 percent of her class from Colton High School in 2010. The accomplishment earned Ramos the President's Academic Excellence Scholarship at CSUSB, where she currently holds a 3.7 GPA.

Panetta interns must be junior or senior status during their internship, not yet applied for graduation, have demonstrated commitment to community and public service and exhibited superior academic achievement and leadership.

Interns are nominated by the presidents of the 23 CSU campuses, as well as Dominican University of California and Santa Clara University, and approved for participation by the Panetta Institute and a representative from the CSU Chancellor's Office.

Ramos plans to graduate from CSUSB in June of 2015, and to pursue her goal of working at an international level. She plans to continue her education by pursuing a graduate degree in international relations, global affairs, political science or security studies. She first discovered that this was the path she wanted to take as a freshman in 2011 and as a member of the Model United Nations Program.

"Ideally, I would like to one day become Secretary of State. Wherever I end up, I hope to be using the skills I have gained from CSUSB and the Panetta internship to help people and to change the world," said Ramos. "Seeing the things going on in the world and the media I feel like I can help America the best in that kind of role."

Ramos is the oldest in her family. She has one younger brother, named Alex, who is currently a freshman at CSUSB. Her father, Gilbert Ramos, is a CSUSB alum, having graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2004.

The internship is part of the Panetta Institute, housed at Cal State Monterey Bay. It was founded in 1997 by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and his wife Sylvia, and it serves the entire California State University System and several other schools.

Under the direction of Sylvia Panetta, the institute provides a variety of study opportunities in government, politics and public policy, and it sponsors a range of other activities to benefit the surrounding communities. The internships goal is for students to learn about policy, practice and procedures of the United States Congress.

Ramos and the 25 other students will spend two weeks of intern training in August at the Panetta Institute in Monterey Bay.

The students will then fly to Washington, D.C., for an 11-week internship working closely with a designated member of the California congressional delegation. While there, the students will attend seminars with government leaders, journalists and policy experts. In addition, the interns may earn up to 20 academic credits after they submit a 20-page research paper and a journal of their experiences.

Ramos is preparing for her internship by doing more research into the program and Congress, as well as by talking to past recipients of the program.

She said she is nervous, but at the same time excited to gain hands-on experience.

Ramos offered some advice to those applying for this internship in the future. "Give the application process your time, and make sure to prove you deserve it based on your grades and activities."

For more information, visit the Panetta Institute website at .

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university's Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit

About Racheal Rickman:
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