Exterior of the ASU California Center building in Los Angeles.

ASU in California launches Sacramento Scholarship Program

By

Krista Hinz

Eight Arizona State University students will head to Sacramento this summer to intern for California state policymakers and agencies, thanks to an interdisciplinary scholarship program funded by the The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Each student received a $4,000 scholarship to intern with a variety of offices, including the governor’s office and several legislators' offices, for 10 weeks. Christian Osmena, professor of practice in the School of Public Affairs and vice president of enterprise planning at ASU, helped match each student with their particular interest.

“We’ve helped students who have an interest in government, policy, politics and public service get involved in state government within California,” he said. “These are big issues. Whether it's housing, climate change, the continued response to the pandemic. I think all students are well-placed to get a sense of what state policymaking is like in those areas.” 

With more than 18,000 Californians enrolled in degree-seeking programs on ASU’s campuses or online, Osmena said the main goal of the Sacramento Scholarship Program is to create more local opportunities for California students. 

Andrea Gallardo is studying public service and policy online as a Starbucks College Achievement Plan Scholar, which means she also works as a barista while interning this summer in the office of assembly member Matt Haney. 

“I’m a first-generation college student,” Gallardo said. “So it’s an honor to be here; it’s almost unbelievable.” 

She and fellow students in the inaugural Sacramento Scholarship Program cohort began their internships in May and will conclude their posts in August. 

Osmena hopes to see the program continue to grow so that more students can have an impact on their own communities.

“I think it builds on the charter in that it is imperative to take ownership of the communities we serve,” he said. “One way we're hoping to do that is by integrating ASU into core public policy problems that the state's facing.”