Two local high school students recently joined former State Assemblymember Anthony Portantino and 26 students from around the country at the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics’ Joseph R. Cerrell Seminar in Political Leadership, held in Sacramento. The students joined political leaders, policy consultants, budget staff and young professionals for two days of intensive policy, government and politics in the annual seminar sponsored by the Unruh Institute of Politics.
This year, Crescenta Valley High School graduate Samuel Chung, policy director for Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, was a key panelist in the young professional panel. Chung shared his journey to the state capitol that began as a student at CV.
Brandon Cheung, who recently graduated from La Cañada High School, is an undergraduate public policy student at USC who joined the other students as part of the highly competitive seminar. Cheung also interns for Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
Of the experience, Cheung said, “It was an incomparable privilege to join my fellow Trojans on the Unruh Institute’s annual trip up to Sacramento. The vast networking and experiential learning opportunities we were exposed to supplemented the knowledge I’ve gained from my classes here at USC in surprising, unexpected ways. I am incredibly grateful to my former assemblyman, Anthony Portantino, as well as the Unruh Institute staff who put this trip together.”
Portantino is one of two USC visiting scholars/legislators in residence. This year, the two legislators helped arrange the seminar and participated in the two-day academic event.
“It was a tremendous two days of robust discussion and debate. I learned as much from the students as I did from the public policy professionals,” said Portantino.
In addition to Chung, other guest speakers included Senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg, Gov. Brown’s Appointment Secretary Mona Pasquil and Press Secretary Evan Westrup. The Senate budget director and minority leader chief of staff joined a cabinet secretary and members of the press and lobbying core during two days of intensive workshops and lectures.