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Sociology major heads to D.C. as Panetta Institute congressional intern


Emily Flemming will spend 11 weeks in Washington, D.C., on a fully funded award.

  • June 30, 2012

The 2012 Panetta Institute Internship for the Cal State East Bay campus has been awarded to Emily Flemming, a senior majoring in sociology, with an emphasis in social services. 

Flemming will attend the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at the CSU Monterey Bay campus for two weeks of training in August, then spend 11 weeks in Washington, D.C., working full-time in the office of a U.S. Congressperson and attending special seminars.

The Castro Valley resident said she knew the opportunity was right for her the moment she learned of it. “I love people and decided to study sociology so I could position myself to be in a career where I could help people better their lives and make a difference,” she said.

“The internship fits in with my career goals because it will avail me with the opportunity of seeing which side of working with the public I like best and place me in an international atmosphere, which I like," Flemming said. "This internship will change my perspective not only of politics and government, but of the position I want to play in my future career and the type of leadership role I can see myself in, and for that I'm grateful. Since I want to make the biggest impact I can, I'm looking forward to getting a glimpse of what it's like to work on the behalf of others on a national level.”

Flemming impressed her mentor, Holly Vugia, assistant professor of Sociology and Social Services, when she sought independent study on rape and sexual assault trauma last winter. Flemming concluded her assignment by presenting an hour-long sexual oppression program on rape and sexual assault to a class of approximately 60 undergraduates. 

“Emily not only spoke to the class, but engaged them and skillfully managed some challenging questions," Vugia said. "She's an inspiring student to work with, and we are very excited for her fall internship experience.”

In addition to being a full-time student, Flemming works part time and has completed training and intern hours as an emergency counselor for Burlingame’s Rape Trauma Services.

The fully-paid Panetta Institute Internship is awarded annually to one student at each of the 23 California State University campuses, based on college transcripts, one graded paper and a written essay on the student's desire to be a Panetta congressional intern. Flemming said she also hopes to earn an additional minor in political science through the award.

Eligible applicants are juniors or seniors with high academic standings, outstanding leadership skills, demonstrated commitment to community and public service, advanced written and verbal communication skills, demonstrated ability to be a good team member, and exemplary conduct on campus and in the community. Applications are accepted each February.

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