From Matsui Fellow to Full-Time Staff

Posted by former Matsui Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow Jose Alvarado.

I first heard of the Cal-in-Sacramento Fellowship program through one of my major advisors. The program sounded like a great opportunity and I quickly applied. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a 2013 Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow and just as fortunate to secure an internship in the office of Governor Jerry Brown.

Former Cal in Sacramento Fellow Jose Alvarado standing at the Governor's podium during his 2013 Fellowship

Former Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow Jose Alvarado standing at the Governor’s podium during his 2013 Fellowship

I truly enjoyed my time in the Governor’s Office. It gave me the opportunity to witness first hand the passage of a $90 billion dollar state budget, the assembly bill that established Covered California, and several important policies like the new school funding formula and the changes to the enterprise zones. There were also several perks to working in the Governor’s Office. Among them were free admission to the California state fair, the ability to visit parts of the Capitol Building (like the Cupola) that are closed to the public, and the opportunity to meet important players in state and federal politics on a daily basis. But my favorite thing about the Governor’s Office was the opportunity to play with his famous Corgi, Sutter Brown. My internship ended in late July 2013, and this month, January 2014, thanks to the Matsui Center, I will be heading back to the Capital to start a new job in the Office of Senator Loni Hancock.

Former Cal in Sacramento Fellow Jose Alvarado playing with California's "First Dog," Sutter Brown.

Former Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow Jose Alvarado playing with California’s “First Dog,” Sutter Brown.

Openings like the one in Senator Hancock’s office are not advertised through the normal channels and the only way to hear of an opening is by knowing someone inside the building. In this instance, the Matsui Center alerted me of the opening in the legislature. My previous experience in the Governor’s Office and my participation in the Cal-in-Sacramento Fellowship program made me an attractive candidate. The Cal-in-Sacramento Fellowship program did a great job educating me about state government and it made finding an internship in Sacramento fairly easy due to its many connections. The program also gave me the opportunity to meet and interact with elected officials by bringing them as guest speakers to our seminar, and by holding lectures and mixers. For instance, I had the opportunity to meet my future boss, Senator Hancock, who represents the greater East Bay (including Berkeley), during the summer reception for the Cal-in-Sacramento Fellows.

Former Cal in Sacramento Fellow Jose Alvarado with California state Senator Loni Hancock.

Former Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow Jose Alvarado with California State Senator Loni Hancock.

I encourage everyone interested in politics or government to take part in the Cal-in-Sacramento Fellowship program. It is a great experience and a good way to get your start. I’m excited to start this new opportunity in Sacramento and hope it leads to bigger things. Also, seeing how Berkeley is located within the 9th district, I look forward to serving everyone back in my adoptive home.


Jose Alvarado graduated from UC Berkeley in 2013 with a double major in History and Rhetoric. He participated in the Cal in Sacramento Fellowship program in 2013, interning in the office of Governor Jerry Brown. He previously held the position of Congressional Intern in the district office’s of United States Representatives Barbara Lee and Alan Lowenthal. He currently works for California State Senator Loni Hancock.