“The skills I learned at SDSU are really helping me establish meaningful relationships in the State Capitol.”
Three Aztecs are representing San Diego State University in the state capital this year. The trio is part of the prestigious Capital Fellows Programs directed by the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento.
The Capital Fellows Programs provide opportunities for college graduates to engage in public service and prepare for future careers in the public sector. Fellows work 10 to 11 months as full-time, paid staff members in the California State Assembly, California State Senate, California Executive Branch, or the California Judiciary. They assist in policymaking, program development and implementation, and gain first-hand experience in governance and leadership.
The following Aztecs represent SDSU in the 2016-2017 Class of Capital Fellows:
- Tyler Aguilar, ’16 (Business administration with a specialization in integrated marketing communications) – California Senate Fellows Program
- Carlos Aguilera, ‘13 (Criminal justice and sociology) – Executive Fellowship Program
- Lorine Cheung, ‘16 (Master's degree in public administration) – Executive Fellowship Program
The School of Public Affairs Jack McGrory internship coordinator Patricia Frosio
encouraged and supported the recent graduates applying for the program.
“It is wonderful to see that our efforts to facilitate presentations with Capital Fellows alumni and ask them to mentor our students during the application process resulted in this success,” said Frosio.
Aguilar, who graduated from the Fowler College of Business last spring, is just getting started with the program. In December, he became a full-time staff member for California State Senator Richard Pan
, who represents the cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, and West Sacramento.
Aguilar feels prepared for the task ahead. While attending SDSU, he served as vice president of external relations for Associated Students. He credits A.S. staff members Jennifer Esquivel-Parker
and Christina Brown
with helping him make the most of that opportunity. He also served on the California State Student Association and College Area Community Planning Board.
“In every class I took at SDSU, especially in business, leadership was always a central theme, and I learned that if you take initiative, you can accomplish a lot more in life,” said Aguilar. “The skills I learned at SDSU are really helping me establish meaningful relationships in the State Capitol."
Cheung, a 2016 graduate of the MPA program, was appointed as an Executive Fellow with the Capital Fellows Programs, one of only 18 applicants accepted.
“The process was challenging, but my education and internship experience in the MPA program was a strong factor in my securing a fellowship position,” said Cheung.
Executive Fellows are placed with a mentor in the state government executive, and work as professional staff members. Cheung will have access to mentors throughout the executive branch as she advances in her public service career.
“After many years in the financial industry, I wanted to change direction and do something more meaningful with my career,” she said. “I am grateful for the school’s career services and events that featured alumni in our field.”
Aguilera, a 2013 graduate with degrees in criminal justice and sociology, was also accepted into the prestigious Executive Fellow program. Since October, he has been collaborating with the California Government Operations Agency in an effort to help ensure efficiency, accountability and the development of management.
The academic foundation provided by the criminal justice and sociology programs at SDSU proved to be applicable in his professional success.
“Classes at SDSU make you think of how to approach real-world circumstances,” said Aguilera. “The courses I took also influenced how I conduct research and look for answers to solve situations.”
During his time at SDSU, Aguilera was involved in a wide array of community service activities that ranged from distributing clothes to the homeless to overseeing toy drives for orphanages in Tijuana, along with other forms of campus involvement.
“A key component that has helped me thus far (as a Fellow) was being involved on campus at SDSU,” said Aguilera. “My time and dedication to my fraternity, Lambda Theta Phi, sharpened my skills and created new ones I did not know I had. It helped me develop into a leader.”
More on the programs
Established in 1973, the California Senate Fellows (CSF) program is one of the oldest and most distinguished service learning programs in the country. The fellowship program's primary goals include exposing people with diverse life experiences and backgrounds to the legislative process by providing research and other professional staff assistance to the Senate.
The upcoming deadline for the 2017-2018 fellowship year is Feb. 13 and applications and information can be found on the Capital Fellows Programs website