Story Voices and Views

Public Policy, Here I Come

Thais Rodriguez, Junior, Garey High School in Pomona



Upward Bound has brought me to great heights—and my internship at the CSU Advocacy and State Relations Office has brought me even higher.

I first joined Upward Bound after seeing all the opportunities that my older brother received through the program. We come from a low-income family and are grateful to participate in a program that encourages us to go to college and helps us find our ideal career path. The program placed me in real-life work experiences that tailored to my strengths. It was suggested that public policy might be the right industry for me because I’m better at English-type subjects as opposed to math. After spending five weeks at the CSU office in Sacramento this summer, I realized that it truly was the right career for me.

I’m not exposed to government and policy back at home so when I arrived in Sacramento and set eyes on the State Capitol, I was in awe. It’s not often that a junior in high school is able to tour the capitol and attend committee hearings with experienced legislative advocates who can cite all the bills in their sleep! In my short time here, I have learned how to track legislation (legislative support or opposition), conduct research on bills, and become more familiar with the demographics of California.

My favorite activity was shadowing each of the CSU staff members here in the office and learning what they do. Each person showed me a different side of public policy, and it helped me create a pathway to what I want to do when I graduate from college. I’m still deciding which college I want to go to, but what I know for sure is that public policy is in my future.

Upward Bound, a federal program that serves high school students from low-income families, provides opportunities for students to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits.

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