UC Center at Sacramento (UCCS)
UCCS - Sacramento Academic Internship Program
UCCS educates California’s future leaders in the craft of politics and policymaking, while making the expertise of faculty of the nation’s leading university available to decision-makers in the legislative and executive branches of government.
22-23 Program Deadlines:
Spring 2023: Nov 3, 2022
Summer 2023: Dec 1, 2022
2022 - 23 program dates:
Summer 2022: June 14 - Aug. 19, 2022
Fall 2022: Sept. 19 - Dec. 19, 2022
Winter 2023: Jan. 3 - March 24, 2023
Spring 2023: April 3 - June 14, 2023
UCCS Interview with W20 participant, Ori Liwanag
UC Center Sacramento is the University of California’s teaching, research and public-service site located one block from the State Capitol Building. Operated by UC Davis, UCCS offers a distinctive academic program in public policy to students from throughout the university’s 10-campus system. The program provides students with an opportunity to study through seminars and internships in and around the state Capitol.
Since its founding in 2004, UCCS has enrolled more than 1,000 students, many of whom now are engaged in policy careers with all levels of government or with organizations, associations and firms that work closely with government.
UCCS seeks to foster public-policy research in the University of California system. In collaboration with partners in academia, government and philanthropy, UCCS serves as a system-wide resource, focused on issues of importance to the state and nation and based on collaborating networks of scholars drawn from the entire UC system.
UCCS seeks to foster communication between UC scholars and state policymakers in all branches of state government, from the governor’s office and the Legislature to various state agencies, departments and commissions. UCCS disseminates the results of policy-relevant research by UC scholars through conferences, workshops, lectures and seminars at its facility in the heart of the Capitol community.
Farin Lea, 2022, BA Political Science, attended UCCS in Winter 2022
Week 2 : What are your first impressions of UCCS?
I am really looking forward to my time in the UC Center Sacramento (UCCS) program since the experiences from my internship and UCCS courses are great opportunities that will be extremely valuable. During UCCS orientation the program directors and staff, including our professors and teaching assistant, spoke with us and walked us through different aspects of the program which was thorough and helpful. It was fun meeting the entire cohort of over 30 UC students participating in the program and introducing ourselves to one another. We all seem to have a plethora of varying interests, yet we all joined to learn about and work on public policy since there are so many areas of policy interests.
All of our required courses, which are centered around public policy, are really engaging and thought-provoking. Our required course curriculum involves learning about California politics and policy as well as research design and methods, which are incredibly valuable topics. Throughout the quarter we will be looking into research about various policies and doing further analysis of policies, while applying what we learn towards working on our final policy research paper. Our teaching staff – our professors and TA – have already been working very closely with us to help us begin working on our approaches to the final policy research paper. We also have an extended curriculum that involves weekly professional development activities and workshops, as well as a knowledge curriculum which is a guest speaker series with speakers presenting various policy reports. Our courses seem to allow us freedom to explore different policy areas and apply what we learn from our respective internships.
My internship is with the Government Relations team at Advancement Project California, an organization that promotes social justice and racial equity with expertise in research, advocacy, and policy. After acceptance into the program, UCCS Associate Director, Cindy Simmons, spoke with each of us personally to better understand our interests before referring us to internship host sites. I expressed my interest in social justice and advocacy as well as my eagerness to learn more about the legislative and policy process behind public policy and was referred to Advancement Project California since the organization’s advocacy and equity work align with my interests. Having started my internship just last week, I have already learned so much about the California political and legislative process, especially how to become involved in the processes, that I am looking forward to learning more and applying it to my coursework. So far in my internship, I have been able to attend meetings with various teams in the organization during which they discuss projects, such as collaborations with elected officials on bill proposals and relevant research reports, which contribute to their goal of creating social equity through changes and advances in legislation and policy.
Many of us in the cohort are SoCal natives looking forward to exploring NorCal, including myself, so being here in Sacramento has definitely been an exciting experience. Since UCCS housing is located in midtown Sacramento, close to downtown, a few of us in the cohort recently visited the State Capitol building which was a great first-time experience for all of us. I look forward to doing a lot more sightseeing and exploring in Sacramento during my time outside of attending my internship and courses throughout the quarter
Week 4 : What are courses like?
My courses this quarter, all of which are part of the UCCS program, have been very engaging and valuable so far. I am enrolled in a total of four academic courses (one of which is an optional 2-unit course) and a fifth course to account for my internships credits, for a total of 18 quarter units, all of which are upper-division credits. We have class meetings three days a week, which has been fairly manageable even with coursework and internship hours. All UCCS courses are centered around public policy, including topics on California politics and policy as well as research design and methods. We also have a Wednesday Speaker Series during which Professors from various UC campuses present a lecture to us on policy-related research they have conducted (these are recorded and can be found here!) and our two speakers so far presented us with incredibly interesting research findings.
We have all been working on the first steps towards our final policy research paper, which we are all doing with a focus on our policy interest areas of choice. I have felt very supported by our UCCS Professors and TA who have been working very closely with us to help us navigate our approaches in our research papers. Since internship hosts are fairly involved with the UCCS program and are made aware of our goals for our final policy research paper, they are able to offer support for our research. We are allowed to use research data from our internship sites for our final research papers, as long as we get consent to do so, which can be a great help when searching for and gathering research for our paper topics. I am doing my final policy research paper on housing, particularly the California housing crisis and its impacts on disadvantaged communities. The organization I am interning with, Advancement Project California, does a vast amount of research on inequities in communities so I am looking forward to potentially utilizing some research and data from my internship site.
Week 6 : How are you liking your internship?
My internship has been a great experience so far. Since I have had a longstanding interest in social justice and advocacy, I was eager to learn more about the legislative and policy process behind public policy. My internship during the UCCS program is with Advancement Project California (APCA), an organization that promotes equity through research and advocacy. APCA advocates for policies that uplift marginalized communities, develops policy ideas, and works those policy ideas through the legislative, administrative, or budget processes.
I am an intern in their Government Relations team, which aims to shift public policy priorities and investments towards policies that advance equity in California. As a Government Relations intern, I support the Government Relations team in developing the organization’s statewide advocacy strategy and legislative priorities. My daily tasks involve attending California Legislative hearings and tracking bills moving through the legislative process which I enjoy doing since it allows me to stay updated on CA Senate and Assembly hearings. I also attend meetings that discuss policy proposals with various Legislators’ offices and coalitions. Maintaining awareness of policies and legislation is very important to me so I am glad that my internship involves staying updated and engaged with legislative processes. I have learned a lot about how the policy process works and also about the efficacy of policy implementations of statewide programs.
The Government Relations team has been a great environment to work in. My supervisors are incredibly helpful and guide me throughout my internship. The various teams I have collaborated with within APCA have all been very welcoming as well. I have been able to get valuable insight into the policy processes from many of the team meetings I have attended. A recent project of APCA is RACE COUNTS, a comprehensive research and policy tool that tracks racial disparities across the state, which I was able to view the progress of and provide feedback on. Another highlight of my internship was being able to write a budget proposal letter for another APCA project, an Equity Needs Index tool our Educational Equity team developed, that was shared with Legislators’ offices
Week 8 : What do you like about UCCS?
The UCCS program has been an enjoyable experience so far. What I like about UCCS is that our internships and courses are meant to be considerate of our own policy interests while also learning about various policy areas. Since those of us in the cohort have varying majors and interests, the program accommodates that so the experience is a valuable one for each of us. After acceptance into the program, UCCS Associate Director, Cindy Simmons, spoke with each of us personally to better understand our interests before referring us to internship host sites. I expressed my interest in social justice and advocacy as well as my eagerness to learn more about the legislative and policy process behind public policy and was referred to Advancement Project California (APCA) since the organization promotes equity through research and advocacy which aligns with my interests. An exciting development I was involved with in my internship recently was the process of getting a bill drafted – every bill/legislation starts off as an idea and, in order to get it drafted into an actual bill, a member of the Legislature (either Senate or Assembly in CA) must agree to author the bill. APCA was able to get an author for the bill, now officially AB-2832, after weeks of proposing the bill idea to members.
As we completed week 8 of the quarter, we have been making more progress towards our final policy research paper. Outlines for our paper were due this week which really helps to break down the entire report and simplify the process. Our courses are designed to teach us about overall public policy while giving us opportunities to explore our policy areas of interest. The materials covered in courses are very extensive, ranging from policy analysis to state government to data methods, all of which will be utilized in our final paper. I am focusing my final policy research paper on housing insecurity in Los Angeles since that continues to be an overwhelming issue that disproportionately impacts disadvantaged communities. I am really looking forward to completing my final paper and presenting my findings during our presentation series at the end of the quarter
Week 10 : What is it like networking with students from other UCs? Do you feel like this is adding to your overall experience?
The opportunity to meet and network with students from other UCs during UCCS has been an incredible and unique experience. Although we are all pursuing different fields, careers, and majors, our common interest in public policy brings us together in the program. We are all interested in public policy and have been able to experience the policy field together during this academic term. Being part of this network of hardworking, dedicated public policy students is a valuable part of the UCCS program. Networking with hardworking, dedicated students from other UCs has contributed to social well-being during the quarter. While expanding my network here, I have been able to boost my professional confidence as well as personal growth. By developing this network during UCCS, I have been able to build strong, sustainable relationships with like-minded individuals on varying professional career paths.
I feel that the experience to network with my cohort has added to my overall experience here. During this networking opportunity, we have been able to exchange information and advice while navigating our internship and courses. We have also been able to support one another on challenges we faced which was helpful while adapting to new experiences. Being able to share experiences, ideas, and insight has promoted encouragement amongst the cohort as well. Those of us in the cohort residing in UCCS housing have been able to bond and form friendships, creating a welcoming and supportive space for us. We have formed friendships and genuine connections which have been both enjoyable and valuable. The rigor of the program is often offset by the support and encouragement amongst the cohort through our interactions.
Final Week : How are you going to take your internship and program experience and apply it to your future career goals?
My internship and the UCCS program experience taught me a lot – not only “hard skills” through my internship and classes but also about my potential future career goals. Since I went into the program with an interest in social justice and advocacy, I was glad to get the opportunity to intern with Advancement Project, an organization that works on research and legislation for social equity, on their Government Relations team – I learned so much about the legislative and policy process through hands-on experience in tracking and researching relevant legislation. I was able to meet and interact with members of other teams within the organization which helped me to make connections and get insight into the field of public policy research. Being able to collaborate with public policy research professionals was an invaluable experience, as was being able to conduct research on a policy issue area of my interest through my UCCS courses.
Although I applied to the program in hopes of learning more about the field of public policy and the legislative process, I gained so much more. I came to learn that public policymaking is a thorough process that plays a central role in all aspects of government and society – covering all issue areas such as local government, international affairs, law, education, healthcare, environmental, business, etc. As someone passionate about making change, I was glad to experience the multifaceted nature of public policy. I will apply this experience to my future career goals as I continue to explore potential policy fields and venture into the professional sphere of public policy. From my experience through my internship and courses, I was able to hone my skills in public policy approaches while also confirming my goals of becoming a public policy professional. I am now better able to navigate the process of public policy and will be able to take newly gained skills and confidence into my next policy experience.
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