California Through My Eyes: LegiSchool photo contest winners announced


BC 376 E Caballero

First Place Winner: Elysse Caballero, 12th Grade
Community Health Advocates School at Augustus F. Hawkins High School, Los Angeles, CA

Each year, the LegiSchool Project invites California high school students to submit a photograph illustrating what California looks like and means to them from their point of view. The “California Through My Eyes” photography contest allows students to exercise their creativity while at the same time, think critically about what California symbolizes.


Submissions to the photo contest reached a record number this year, 520 photos!   The photo submissions were excellent and selecting 5 cash winners was extremely difficult.  A huge thank you to the photo contest judges: Sacramento State’s Media Production Specialist, Jessica Vernone; Photographer and Design Coordinator, Bruce Clark; and interim LegiSchool Director Elisia Hoffman.

The photos awarded top honors will be on display at the State Capitol building on the 3rd floor of the annex from July 10 – August 10.  A sampling of the winning photographs is below. To view the all the winning photos online check out the LegiSchool Blog.



Capital Fellows: Where are they now?



Laura Speed, Senate Fellow 2003-04

Laura Enderton-Speed is the Supervising Attorney (Assistant Director) over the Office of Governmental Affairs at the Judicial Council of California.    Laura was hired by the Judicial Council in October of 2013 and handles the daily operations of the office of governmental affairs and general legislative advocacy for the judicial branch.  In this role, Laura also serves as the Judicial Council liaison to the Judicial Administration Fellowship Program and serves as a mentor in the program.

Laura has been in governmental affairs and communications since her fellowship ended in 2004.  Prior to working at the Judicial Council, Laura was the Governmental Relations and Legislative Officer for Sacramento County.  In this position, Laura managed state, local and federal governmental relations for the county.  She also managed the communications and media office at the county.

Laura also spent a number of years in the executive branch—as the Division Chief of Stakeholder Relations for the California Public Employees Retirement System (more commonly known as CalPERS) and as the Deputy Chief of External Affairs for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.  In both of these positions, Laura managed statewide outreach and communications to interested stakeholders and the public.

Laura also worked in the California State Senate as a policy consultant for the Senate Republican Office of Policy for five years.  This is the same office Laura had been placed in as a fellow.  Through her time at the Legislature, Laura handled a myriad of issues include public safety, judiciary, local government, public employment/retirement, labor and employment, and environmental quality.

Laura also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where she currently teaches the course Persuasive Analysis Strategies & Skills.  Laura earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from San Jose State University and her juris doctorate from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

The fellowship is so much more than just doing “work” in your placement, it is an opportunity to learn new professional skills and to build a professional network.  Relationships I built as a fellow continue to impact my career, sometimes on a daily basis.

Center for California Studies Visiting Scholar Program: Now accepting applications for 2017-18!


In 2012 the Center for California Studies, in keeping with our mission to bridge academia and government in the service of strengthening California’s democracy, launched the Visiting Scholar Program.  Supported by a generous endowment from Don and Beverly Gerth, each year our Center selects one practicing researcher to showcase and promote their research on a topic or issue pertinent to the well-being of our state.

The Center is now accepting applications for the 2017-18 Visiting Scholar position.  We welcome applicants from all universities and a variety of disciplines.  Past visiting scholars have hailed from the University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the University of the Pacific.  The research featured in our program have included such topics as case studies on municipal bankruptcies, ballot initiative reform and civic engagement, protecting the cultural histories of the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta, and the impact of term limits and lobbying.

Our current visiting scholar, Dr. Richard “Rich” Callahan, hails from the University of San Francisco and is continuing his research into how health care foundations are utilizing innovative new strategies to address the social determinants of health. The Center for California Studies will be hosting his Capital area presentation on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in downtown Sacramento.  The event is free to the public.

If you would like to learn more about our program contact Brian Aguilar at

Spring 2017 Executive Director Message



Steve Boilard, Executive Director, Center for California Studies

Spring this year has brought a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar. In the latter category is record rainfall, which has rescued California from a 5-year-long drought. In the former category is pollen, which results in an ongoing chorus of sneezes among the staff here at the Center for California Studies., situated in Tahoe Hall on the Sacramento State campus.

Spring has always been my favorite season, characterized by the themes of rebirth, growth, and renewal. The Center encounters these themes as we renew our various experiential education programs. For example, the entire office has been engaged in the process of reviewing applications (over 1400 of them!) and conducting interviews for our next “crop” of Capital Fellows. We also have been involved with selecting our next DC Fellow (who will spend a year at the California Institute for Federal Policy Research in Washington, DC), the next Panetta Intern (a Sacramento State undergraduate who will represent the campus through the Panetta Institute), and the next class of Education Policy Fellows (our newest fellows program, aimed at mid-career professionals in education policy).

All this focus on selecting fellows and interns has had me thinking a lot about the interview process. Of course, there is no single method that can successfully identify the “right’ candidate for any position. That’s why we rely on multiple methods beyond just interviews, including writing exercises, academic records, letters of recommendation, and others. But interviews fill a unique role. They show us not what someone has already accomplished, but rather what makes them tick. Are they deliberative or impetuous? Confident or reserved? Do they think on their feet? How do they tell a story? How do they connect with others? What do they emphasize in conversation?

I’m often asked what attributes stand out to committee members during interviews. There is no single answer to that question because we use multiple interviewers who view the candidates through their own unique lens. But one characteristic that is valued in all our programs is sincerity. It’s clear to a selection committee when a candidate is trying to impress them with answers and statements or that the candidate doesn’t fully engage with core aspects of the programs such as public service. Such an approach is awkward, like that cringe-inducing Brady Bunch scene when Peter Brady tries to be Bogart. Worse, it conveys duplicity and undermines the legitimate strengths of the candidate. So, perhaps the best interview advice comes from Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Capital Fellows: Where are they now?


Jacque Roberts, Senate Fellow 2001-02

Jacque Roberts is a senior advisor at the Department of General Services. Appointed by Governor Brown in June of 2015, Jacque provides policy and political expertise to the director and executive team on major initiatives and strategic direction.


Previously, Jacque served as a deputy legislative affairs secretary in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2011 to 2015. During this time, Jacque was the liaison for the Executive Fellowship Program. She also served as assistant legislative secretary in the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2006 to 2010, where she also served as a senior legislative analyst from 2005 to 2006. Jacque served as a policy analyst in the Office of the California Secretary of Education in 2005, as floor manager for the California State Senate from 2002 to 2004 and as a Senate Fellow in the Office of California State Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte from 2001 to 2002.

Raised in Sacramento, Jacque has a bachelor’s degree in Social Science/Political Science from Biola University in La Mirada, California.

“The Senate Fellows Program was an invaluable experience – professionally, academically and personally. As a young professional, I had the opportunity to learn directly from experts – public servants who took the time to mentor me and teach me the ropes. My colleagues had an open-door policy that allowed me ask questions and gain insight on policy and politics. Most importantly, the people I met and the relationships I built still resonate in my life today. That foundation as a Fellow launched my career in public service.”

Research on California City Councils Honored for Use of California Elections Data Archive

The Center for California Studies at Sacramento State has selected the recipient of its annual award for exceptional published research that uses data from the California Elections Data Archive. The article, Business as usual: Politicians with business experience, government finances, and policy outcomes, was published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization in November 2016. The authors are Dr. Brian Beach of the College of William and Mary, and Dr. Daniel B. Jones of the University of South Carolina.

The article explores whether government finances and policy outcomes different under politicians with business experience. As a key source of data, the article makes use of city council elections results that are tabulated in the California Elections Data Archive (CEDA). CEDA is the only statewide database that collects, tabulates and reports candidate and ballot measure results for all local California elections. CEDA reports include all candidates, their ballot designations and vote totals, as well as all ballot measures, their ballot summary information, and vote totals. CEDA is a partnership between the Center for California Studies and the Institute of Social Research (ISR) at Sacramento State, and the California Secretary of State. More information about CEDA, and access to the database, are available at

“We are pleased to be honoring this research, which makes an important contribution to our understanding of how professional experience affects politicians’ policies,” said Steve Boilard, Executive Director at Sacramento State’s Center for California Studies. “We are especially pleased that CEDA data was helpful in answering the researchers’ questions. That’s why we help to support the CEDA project.”

Drs. Beach and Jones will share a $500 award in recognition of their outstanding research. Their article can be accessed at

Capital Fellows: Where are they now?



Janus Norman, Assembly Fellow, 2002-03

Janus Norman is the California Medical Association’s Senior Vice President and Chief Lobbyist.  Prior to joining CMA, he served as Legislative Advocate for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), where he was responsible for developing the legislative agenda for the organization and supervising day-to-day lobbying operations. He previously has worked for the Judicial Council of California, the Assembly Budget Committee, and the Assembly Appropriations Committee. His career began when he joined the office of then-Assemblymember Darrell Steinberg as a Jesse Unruh Assembly Fellow.


“The Assembly Fellowship gave me my start in the building. Without it, I would certainly not have had any of the opportunities that followed, much less be in charge of my own lobbying team today. The relationships and the experiences I gained through the Fellowship continue to shape my life.”

LegiSchool in Full Bloom!

Legischool is a civic education collaboration between Sacramento State and the State Legislature, administered by the Center for California Studies. The mission of LegiSchool is to engage young people in matters of public policy and state government by creating opportunities for students and leaders to meet and share ideas on the problems affecting Californians. In doing so, we hope to motivate young people to take an interest in the public life around them and to encourage their active participation in our political process.

This spring, LegiSchool has a number of exciting upcoming events and ways for students around California to be involved in the program and get civically engaged in their communities.

Essay Contest Winners Announced!

Congratulations to the winners of the LegiSchool Essay Contest!  This year students wrote on the topic of delaying school start times and were asked to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such a policy.  After reviewing a record number of entries, 10 winners were selected.  The winning students are excited to attend the Legislative Summit at the State Capitol next week where they will have the opportunity to learn more about state government and education policy issues and meet with members of the State Legislature.

2017 Essay Contest Winners

Alyssa Cazares, Hueneme High School (Ventura, CA)

Nicholas Dinh, Fountain Valley High School (Fountain Valley, CA)

Aileen Nguyen, Fountain Valley High School (Fountain Valley, CA)

Theodore Vuong, Fountain Valley High School (Fountain Valley, CA)

Dianne Bui, Fountain Valley High School (Fountain Valley, CA)

Eva Mak, Fountain Valley High School (Fountain Valley, CA)

Adrian Jaimes-Martinez, Brawley Union High School (Brawley, CA)

Rebecca Mena, Brawley Union High School (Brawley, CA)

Luis Ayala, Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy (Wilmington, CA)

Grace Lim, Academy of the Canyons (Santa Clarita, CA)

 Editorial Cartoon Contest and Photo Contest 


Allison Goldsmith, Culver City High School

LegiSchool is currently accepting submissions to our Editorial Cartoon Contest. Winners receive cash prizes and have their art pieces published online by  KQED. This contest is open to all students currently enrolled in a California high school. Contest details can be found here.


High school students are also invited to submit their photography to our spring contest. “California Through My Eyes” Photo Contest.  Click here for examples of prior years’ entries. Contest details, including information about the case prize, can be found here.  APPLICATION DEADLINE: May 5, 2017

Real World Civics Summer Internship

Are you a Sacramento-area high school student wondering what it is like to work in the Capital or Executive Branch?  Here is your chance to find out!  The Real World Civics Internship Program offers local high school students the opportunity to “learn by doing” and work in a Senate or Assembly office and the Executive Branch of government. Interns also get to participate in a week-long exploration of the Judicial Branch (Court Camp) and participate in field trips such as to the State Archives and California Highway Patrol Academy.

For more details about the program, to read about former interns experiences, and to see if you meet the requirements visit our website.

Town Hall Meeting Thank You’s….

In February LegiSchool put on a Town Hall Meeting on the topic of autonomous vehicles. High school students from around the state traveled to Sacramento to take part in this exciting event. A special thank you to our participating panelists: Captain Sean Duryee and Lieutenant Reggie Williams from the CHP; General Motor’s regional manager Juanita Martinez; and Deputy Director of the DMV, Brian Soublet. After the panel discussion, students were welcomed by Capitol staffers and led on tours throughout the Capitol. And many thanks to our tour guides: Sarah Couch, Carrie Holmes, Alex Vassar, Lauren Aguilar and Mark Rossow.

If you are an educator interested in bringing students to a future Town Hall MeetingTown Hall please email  All Town Hall Meeting curriculum guides are available on our website.

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Capital Fellows: Where are they now?



Dana Dowse, Judicial Administration Fellowship Program, Class of 14-15

Dana Dowse participated in the 2014-2015 Judicial Administration Fellowship; where she was placed at the Alameda Superior Court.  She graduated from the University of San Diego with a B.S. in International Relations and a B.A. in Business Economics.   After the Judicial Administration Fellowship, she served as the 2015-2016 Federal-State Relations fellow in Washington DC at the California Institute for Federal Policy Research.  At the California Institute, she was able to take advantage of MaryBeth Sullivan’s wealth of knowledge of the inner workings of Washington DC.  Living in Washington DC and working for the Institute also meant that there were always briefings, events, and various other learning and networking opportunities to take advantage of.  Dana has since moved back to Los Angeles and now works at the Los Angeles Superior Court as a Management Analyst.  In her role as a Management Analyst, she works primarily with Court’s ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) consultant.  The team is focused on creating proposals to improve education and case flow in a way that encourages negotiation, settlement, and other pretrial resolutions.


“Through the Judicial Administration Fellowship, my eyes were opened to a large spectrum of opportunities and policy issues.  California is one of the largest and most diverse states and the Fellowship is an unparalleled opportunity to learn about the State and the diversity of social justice issues facing its population in different regions.  Our academic seminars allowed us to compare experiences from different courts and counties and I was always surprised to see how the same issue might play out differently in different courts due to differences in court culture or the county’s needs.  I truly believe that anyone who has participated in this fellowship is better equipped to think critically about policy decisions and the potential implications for stakeholders.  From my first day as a fellow in the Alameda Superior Court I was given full access and I felt like I served a valuable role working on projects that would contribute to the administration of justice.  My experience working in Alameda and with my mentor was integral to feeling prepared to transition to my new role at the Los Angeles Superior Court.  Finally, and most importantly, I am grateful for the lifelong contacts and friends I made throughout my fellowship experiences.  Everyone I met through the fellowship was always willing and eager to help me in my personal and professional goals and I am happy to have a strong network of people that are passionate about contributing to the world around them.”

Center for California Studies 2016 Annual Report Released


The Center for California Studies is pleased to announce the release of the 2016 Annual Report.  The 2016 Annual Report details the major milestones of the past year including information on each of the Capital Fellows Programs, Envisioning California Conference in addition to profiling proud fellowship alumni in the Notable Fellows section.

To read the report in full or for more information about the Center for California Studies visit