Two participants in the California Senate’s prestigious fellowship program, Jazmine Gordon of Rialto and Maritza Urquiza of Santa Ana, have joined the state of state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis.
“Jazmine and Maritza represent the best and brightest of the new crop of young women leaders coming out of California’s universities,” Wolk said in a news release. “I look forward to putting them to work as they learn the legislative process and apply their talents to serving the people of California and the constituents of the 3rd Senate District.”
Gordon and Urquiza are two of 18 college graduates selected to participate in the California Senate Fellows program, which offers the opportunity to work as a fully fledged member of a senate or policy committee office analyzing and staffing legislation, researching and developing public policy, and meeting with constituents.
Gordon, a graduate of UCLA, will work with Wolk’s Capitol staff on health, long-term care, education and other issues. In addition to holding various student leadership positions at UCLA, Gordon interned with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Washington, D.C., where she worked on voter suppression and voter empowerment issues, and the California JusticeCorps program, where she provided legal information on family law to unrepresented individuals with cases being heard in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
“Serving my community is a priority for me,” said Gordon, 22. “I hope to use this opportunity as a Senate Fellow to help create legislation that will positively impact the lives of underrepresented Californians, and to help me be a better advocate for my community.”
Urquiza, a graduate of Stanford University, will work on issues relating to local government with the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, which Wolk chairs. In addition to working at one of Stanford’s college readiness program for first generation and low-income high school students, Urquiza interned with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where she tracked discriminatory hiring and firing practices, and with the city of East Palo Alto’s Planning Division, where she helped review the effects of land use policies.
“The Senate Fellows Program provides a unique opportunity to engage directly with the diverse policy issues that affect all Californians,” said Urquiza, 22. “I am excited to learn about the complexities of policy formation, the legislative process, and to begin a career in government to create positive change in our state.”
Participants are full-time Senate staff members at the state Capitol for 11 months, and get a monthly stipend and full health, vision and dental benefits. They also participate in academic seminars with Senators, senior staff, journalists, lobbyists, and state government officials. The fellowship program is jointly operated by the California Senate and the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State.
More information on the program can be found at the center for California Studies website: www.csus.edu/calst. The application deadline for the 2015-16 fellowship program is Feb. 10.