Valley Legislative Intern Scholars Fall 2020
Josefina Baltazar Baltazar – Office of Assemblymember Rudy Salas – Josefina graduated cum laude from California State University, Bakersfield with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She is currently a graduate student at California State University, Bakersfield pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration.
Josefina was raised in Los Angeles and now resides in Bakersfield, California. Her journey to become the first in her family to obtain a master’s degree has not been easy, but with her commitment and hardworking qualities, she has persevered and continues to make a difference in her community. Josefina has strong ties to the Central Valley and dedicates her time during the summer to volunteer for Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project (CLYLP) which aims to strengthen high school students’ knowledge of state and local politics and encourages them to continue their education.
Josefina has previously interned with the City of Arvin where she worked closely with the Director of Administrative Services to complete a variety of tasks which included compiling a culminating Compensation Study, examining how the city’s compensation plan compared to the external market.
Josefina hopes to make a lasting impact on her community. Upon graduation, Josefina hopes to pursue a career in the public sector.
Italia Benitez – Office of Fresno Council Member Esmerelda Soria – is a senior at California State University, Fresno majoring in Political Science with a minor in Spanish. She will be the first in her family to graduate college. She grew up in the Central Valley, primarily Clovis, CA and Fresno, CA. Her interest for public policy and policymaking was piqued in college when she first began taking political science and public policy courses.
Italia is a member of Fresno State’s Political Science Honor Association, Pi Sigma Alpha, where she serves as Secretary. Her love and appreciation for the Valley has grown in her work as a real estate agent, where she continues to invest time helping members of her Latino community achieve their dream of owning a home. After interning through The Maddy Institute, Italia hopes to be able to give back to the community through her work in public policy.
Guadalupe Cruz – Office of Congressman TJ Cox – is a senior at California State University, Fresno pursuing a double major in Political Science and Sociology. Born and raised in Kings County, she has developed a strong devotion to the Central Valley. During her time at California State University, Fresno, she has focused her studies in American politics. Guadalupe is currently serving as President of Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society. In the Spring of 2020, Guadalupe successfully completed a Maddy Institute Legislative internship in the office of Assemblyman Devon J. Mathis. Guadalupe will be the first in her family to graduate college. Upon graduation, she is interested in working for an elected official as a district representative, and plans on pursuing a master’s degree in Public Policy.
Brenda Espitia-Martinez – Office of Congressman Josh Harder – is currently attending California State University, Stanislaus where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Political Science and minoring in Philosophy. She was born and raised in Modesto and will become the first member of her family to graduate from a University.
Brenda has gained leadership skills from different positions she has acquired in the past as a youth group coordinator for her local church where she helped run fundraisers and also as a Recreation Leader for Stanislaus County Police Activities League, a nonprofit organization who takes pride in leading children down the right path. During her time in this position she was head of the Art and Engineering Club at Empire Elementary School.
Upon graduation, her goal is to attend Law school to become an immigration lawyer. Brenda plans to stay in the Central Valley area to give back to her community.
Julisa Gomez – Office of Assemblymember Adam Gray –is a junior at the University of California Merced majoring in Cognitive Science with a minor in Psychology and Political Science. She is currently in the Fiat Lux Scholars program at her university. Julisa was raised by her two hardworking parents in Fresno. Her parents have been her greatest support system in the difficult journey of being a first generation college student.
Upon Graduation, Julisa is hoping to research prison reform and ways to reduce health disparities among minorities. She understands that legislation is an essential factor for any change and will use her experience as a Maddy Institute Intern to create solutions for these issues.
Sabrina Magallanes – Office of Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula – proudly attends California State University, Fresno where she is currently a senior pursuing a degree in Political Science. Sabrina is a member of the National Political Science Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha. As a native of the Central Valley, her life has revolved around the agricultural prosperity of the Valley. Her family grows pistachios and almonds. Sabrina is particularly interested in constitutional law and local politics. This will be her second semester as a Maddy Intern. Previously she has interned in the Office of Senator Kamala Harris.
Patricia Maldonado – Office of Fresno Council President Miguel Arias – is a junior at California State University, Fresno majoring in Sociology and minoring in Spanish, with certificates in Humanics, Applied Research, and Social Change and Social Justice. She is a first-generation student. Patricia is the Treasurer of Movimiento of Oaxaqueño Leaders in Education. Upon graduation, she plans to continue her education and obtain a Master’s degree in Public Policy. Patricia hopes to work for the local, state, or federal government, or for a community-based organization.
Kenneth O’Leary – Tulare County Board of Supervisors – is a junior at California State University, Fresno pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He recently transferred to Fresno State from College of the Sequoias in Visalia, where he served as the Vice President for the Student Senate and was involved with the President’s Scholars program. Kenneth is a Central Valley native and he enjoys all that his community has to offer.
After graduation, Kenneth plans on working in local government or being a high school educator or administrator. He also plans on obtaining a master’s degree in Public Policy or Public Administration. He hopes to use his experience at the Tulare County Board of Supervisors and his education at Fresno State to bring about positive change within the Central Valley and beyond.
Elizabeth Rocha Zuñiga – Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, Fresno Office – is a senior at California State University, Fresno pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Chicano Latin American Studies, with two certificates in Legal Studies and Social Justice and Social Change.
Elizabeth was born in Los Angeles, and her hometown is a small city up North called Marysville. She is involved with local, state, and federal organizations amongst campus organizations that seek to innovate constituent engagement for many aspects of advocacy.
After graduation, Elizabeth hopes to get involved with the California legislature, obtain a law degree and to one day serve her constituents. Additionally, she has held leadership positions in the student body government, Phi Alpha Delta, IGNITE National and more. She cannot wait to see the Valley thrive, and to be a part of change her peers are making.
Josette Soto – Office of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris – is currently a second year student majoring in Political Science and a minoring in Professional Writing at the University of California, Merced. During her initial collegiate year, she worked at UC Merced’s Law Clinic assisting students with legal concerns. She is currently involved in the Merced Pre-Law Society, IGNITE, an organization for women seeking a career in politics, and serves as Vice President of Communications in her sorority Delta Gamma.
After earning her undergraduate degree, she plans on pursuing her education in law school. She is enthusiastic to be a Maddy Legislative Intern and hopes that she can use the knowledge she gains this fall semester to aid her future career to advocate on behalf of her community in the Central Valley.
John Winkler – Office of Congressman TJ Cox – is a Junior at California State University, Bakersfield pursuing a Bachelor’s in Political Science.
John has demonstrated his interest in politics from a young age, beginning with his four-year tenure as a competitive member of the Frontier High School debate team from 2012-2016. After graduating high school John went on to obtain his Associates degrees in Political Science, Communication Studies, and Liberal Arts from Bakersfield College in Bakersfield, CA.
As an aspiring attorney, John recognizes the importance of both academic and community involvement. To that end, John is involved in the CSUB and Bakersfield community through his membership in the CSUB Model United Nations team, his position as Secretary of the CSUB Political Science club, his ongoing tenure in the second cohort for the Norman L. Epstein Court Mentorship Program, as well as his time spent in 2018 as a Summer Legal Intern at State Compensation Insurance Fund.
John is eager to continue his involvement in the Bakersfield and CSUB community as he as he finishes his undergraduate. After graduating, John looks forward to attending law school so that he may eventually realize his goal of serving as a staff attorney for a congressional committee.