Student Spotlight: Yvonne Dorantes
Name: Yvonne Dorantes
Year: Senior, Class of 2018
Major: Political Science; Minor: Conservation and Resource Studies
Hometown: San Ardo, CA
Service Placement: Summer 2016—Cal-in-Sacramento Intern for Assemblymember Rudy Salas’ Capitol Office; Summer 2017—Matsui Local Government Fellow at Assemblymember Anna Caballero’s District Office, Salinas
Fun fact/quote: "Give me knowledge, so I may have kindness for all." —Native American Proverb
What sparked your interest in public service?
I have always had a strong inclination towards helping others, serving those in need, and most importantly, giving back to my community. I come from a rural community that lacks opportunities for growth and education; public service seemed like the perfect gateway to give back and help the next ones in line.
What are some of the strengths of the Cal-in-Sacramento program?
The Cal-in-Sacramento program and Matsui Local Government Fellowship allow for the opening of many doors and further opportunities. The experience and network gained from participating in these programs go so much further than anything learned or at attained in the classroom. These experiences empowered me and provided me with priceless tools that will allow me to perform public service with both small and big acts.
What was the most significant aspect of your internship experience?
I was fortunate enough to be treated like full time staff at both of my internships. Every single aspect of my internship experiences was significant. The opportunity to work at the California State Legislature and observe state level politics by issue area first hand at the end of my freshman year of college was unbelievable. During my time at the Capitol in Sacramento, I had the opportunity to staff Assemblymember Rudy Salas’ Agriculture Committee; additionally, I was given the task to compile all of the necessary background research for a legislative proposal. During my time at the Salinas district office of Assemblymember Anna Caballero, I attended various district events and meetings in representation of the Assemblymember as well as coordinated the Young Legislators Program from start to finish.
What resources do students need to take advantage of here in Cal?
Where do I begin? ... The Institute of Governmental Studies and the Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service are incredible assets to begin with: students should most definitely make the most out of these resources! The fellowships and available opportunities are for all types of students and for a wide range of majors. Students should also seek guidance from the Career Center, major advisors, EOP, and student organizations.
What does public service mean to you?
Public service to me is a portal towards equality, empowerment, and social justice.
What are your next steps/future goals?
Where in the world will I be next year? ... I do not know! But that’s okay! And I am super excited. What I do know is that I plan on pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy, I am hoping to specialize in environmental policy. I am super open-minded and would love to travel and try out different cities as well as sectors. I have very much enjoyed being involved with California’s state politics, but I would also love to get a taste of other levels of government and public policy.