The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Student wins internship in mayor’s office

This summer, political science major Gabriela Saravia has been working alongside Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s staff on issues including education and public safety as part of the Mayoral Internship Program that began last week.

Saravia, 26, is working with a small team under Robin Kramer, the mayor’s chief of staff, performing various tasks like policy research, policy development and drafting memoranda and briefs. She is among 37 students from all over the country selected from more than 200 applicants.

“I expected everyone to be much older. It turns out there are a lot of young and exciting people working at city hall,” Saravia said. “It is a great program. Everyone is extremely professional and very helpful.”

Saravia said she has been delightfully surprised with her city hall experience so far.

“The first time I bumped into the mayor he thought I worked there. After I told him I was in the internship program and was a student at CSUN, he told me he was happy to have me there and gave me a great big smile,” Saravia said.

The internship program is an opportunity for hands-on learning, said Juan Bustamante of the mayor’s press office. Those participating are assigned to a team by a senior advisor and will work closely with all levels of government, on issues related to each team’s focus area.

According to Bustamante, interns will have an opportunity to contribute substantively to the development and implementation of innovative, ambitious and compelling policy agendas.

“As an intern in my administration, you will be offered an exciting and rewarding opportunity to work closely with talented individuals in my office and throughout the city and community,” the mayor told the interns at a welcome reception last week. He said the work will be challenging, fulfilling, and hopefully life-changing.

In college, Saravia focused mainly on international politics. She says that her ongoing experience with issues on a local level have really affected her future objectives.

“I have come across issue after issue that makes me want to stay on this track of public service,” she said.

One issue Saravia’s team is focusing on is education. She said based on her research, reading scores for third graders are much lower in poorer neighborhoods such as Compton and Lynwood, than in beach communities like Manhattan and Hermosa. She was stunned to learn that while 24 percent of third graders can’t read in poorer districts, 81 percent pass the tests with flying colors in richer areas.

“Learning these sort of things makes you want to make a difference, I think it will make anyone want to make a difference,” Saravia said.

She said the County of Los Angeles is behind in a lot of areas, a fact that she was not aware of until her internship began at city hall. She says she is proud the mayor’s office is constantly focusing on things current and future generations can benefit from.

Saravia is planning on earning her master’s degree in international relations sometime down the line. Since CSUN does not offer this, she will be looking at UCSD and UCLA master’s programs. She is now considering a job working for a non-profit where she can contribute to helping the less fortunate.

When she heard about the program a few semesters ago, she said that she was not impressed with the idea of working in a bureaucratic setting like city hall. When a close friend began the program and told her how enjoyable and fun the work can be, Saravia decided to apply. She highly recommends the program to students who are dedicated and work well with a team.

Sarvia plans on interning to the end of summer and would like to continue in the program while searching for a job, hopefully, she says, in public service.

Her team members include, Esther Baek from UCLA and Gregory Spotts from Yale University. They are working closely with the Kramer’s assistant, Sandy Franco.

For interested students, Alliance Resource Consulting, Inc. is promoting the program at universities and colleges thoroughout the states. Prospective interns should be admitted to or enrolled as undergraduate or graduate students at an accredited college or university. Recent graduates will also be considered. Applications must be submitted online through Alliance’s website,

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