Through a generous grant from the Comcast Foundation, Equality California Institute is able to offer once-in-a-lifetime internship opportunities for California college students who demonstrate a passion for LGBT advocacy.
The Comcast Fellowship program is a four-week full-time fellowship from June 22nd to July 17th. Fellows are placed in the Capitol offices of legislators and work closely with their staffs. Additionally, the fellows have the opportunity to meet LGBT and allied leaders from diverse backgrounds.
And our Comcast Fellows weren’t just along for the ride, they gained firsthand experience working with legislators and their staffs. A few highlights included sitting with an elected official as he did a national media interview over the phone and briefing an Assemblymember for a committee hearing.
We are incredibly proud of each and every one of this year’s impressive group of fellows, which included:
Stephen from the Central Valley, Sophomore at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Emerita from Oakland, Sophomore at UC Berkeley
Ashleigh from Los Angeles, Senior at Brown University
Tyler Boelts a Sophomore at Trinity University (Texas)
Sara from San Francisco, Junior at UC Berkeley
Tanner from the Central Valley, Junior at UCLA
We caught up with three of the recent Comcast Fellows to ask them about this year’s fellowship program; here’s what they had to say.
Emerita – UC Berkeley – Office of Assemblymember David Chiu
“My moments at the State Assembly, the learning experience there, and my gratitude for such opportunity are beyond words. I got more out of such experience than what I was expecting when I first applied to the fellowship,” said Emerita, a sophomore at UC Berkeley.
Emerita, was very excited to be placed in the office of Assemblymember David Chiu. She was grateful for the opportunity to work on two EQCA sponsored bills (AB 959, AB 960), but also to learn about the legislative process so she can follow any bill she cares about.
“One of the staff members was nice enough to take time out of her busy schedule to show me how to follow the floor session and be a pro at it. It is one of the things that I won’t ever forget how to do, and I plan to continue doing even now that the fellowship is over,” she said.
Emerita summarized her experience like this, “I will be forever grateful to this organization and its fellowship program for giving me a chance at a unique learning experience.”
Stephen – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo – Office of Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León
Stephen said that he learned valuable experience in the world of public policy, but also a whole host of skills and experiences that would benefit him in any job he had in the future.
“I took out of this fellowship more than just politics and government. In the past four weeks, I’ve grown as a person by meeting with remarkable people and having experiences that I would not have gotten anywhere else,” he said.
All of the different experiences he had during his fellowship helped Stephen learn a lot, both about the legislature and about himself.
“The fellowship provided an environment for me to explore who I am, what I want to become, and where I am now. Over the [course of the fellowship] I have noticed that I have become more confident, more driven, and more excited about the future,” said Stephen.
“I really appreciate and feel fortunate to have taken part in such a wonderful program,” he said.
Tyler – Trinity College (Texas) – Office of Senator Ben Allen
We work closer with leaders in the legislature and countless advocates to make sure that the Comcast Fellows program is a meaningful and impactful program. Fortunately, Tyler thinks we hit the mark, “The Equality California Comcast Fellowship has been an experience that I will never forget,” he said.
Throughout his fellowship Tyler was grateful for the opportunity to work closely with Senator Allen’s staff and have a front row seat for the legislative process.
“While spending time working in the office of Senator Ben Allen I was given countless opportunities to see how legislation works, how representatives go through their day at the Capitol and got to learn about the function of lobbyists from countless individuals,” Tyler said.
Ultimately, it was a truly transformational experience for Tyler, who discovered a true passion for advocacy and public policy, “I cannot thank Equality California enough for this opportunity and for the four weeks here that ended up changing my life and aspirations for my future,” Tyler said.
He added, “I hope that one day I am able to pursue a career in politics, and I truly believe that this program has given me the starting point that I really needed.”
Tyler and all the rest of the fellows are already great leaders and we hope they will stay involved in policy and advocacy in the future. We expect that future generations of Comcast Fellows will be interns in their offices when they become elected officials!