After connecting students to various state policy makers for the past five years, the University of California Center Sacramento has finally graduated from its trial phase and become an official program.

The UCCS program is available to both upper-division undergraduate and graduate students from all UC campuses during the academic and summer quarters. The center’s curriculum focuses on public policy and public affairs journalism. Founded by the UC Office of the President, the program received its official status on May 6.

UCCS Public Affairs Journalism Director A.G. Block said the program is a great way for students to receive policy and public affairs training, as well as job offers following the completion of the courses and internships.

“In some ways, we are the university’s front door in Sacramento,” Block said. “Lawmakers, administration officials and their staffs look to UCCS to help provide the expertise needed to address problems in nearly every issue area … Many of those students subsequently are hired after they graduate [which is] a testament to their hard work and creative energy.”

According to Block, course seminar themes vary quarterly with topics such as healthcare, environmental policy, international trade and media. The program’s internship portion consists of 24-40 hours of work per week in legislative, governmental and non-profit organizations in the Capitol region.

“Like the university itself, the Center has a three-fold mission – teaching, research and public service,” Block said. “In terms of public service, we offer public seminars, lectures, technical assistance and workshops where UC experts lend their expertise to those seeking solutions to challenges facing the state.”

UCSB alum and political science major Sadie Pinotti said the program was an invaluable experience, allowing her to have an inside look into the world of politics.

“The Center assisted me in getting an internship tailored to my interests,” Pinotti said. “I was able to find an education-based lobbying firm and build the relationships and make the connections needed to work in Sacramento. There are rarely any circumstances where employers will take you under their wing and train you in your interest of study.”

While the deadline for summer applications has already passed, the UCCS will still accept submissions for its Fall program until May 30. More information about the program and its courses is available via the UCCS Web site at