Alumna at the Capitol: Alexis Leicht '16 Earns Fellowship

by Evan R. Cain

For a political science student, working in the California State Legislature directly following graduation sounds too good to be true. Not so for APU alumna Alexis Leicht, '16. Leicht was selected last spring to be part of the 2016-17 class of Capital Fellows, a highly competitive internship program administered by the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento. Each year the Center for California Studies selects 64 college graduates from around the country to work as full-­time staff in the California State Senate, Assembly, Executive Branch, and Judiciary for 10-11 months. Leicht is 1 of 18 selected to work as an Assembly Fellow at the California State Senate. Leicht is the fourth APU capital fellow and joins 2,000 participants nationally.

Leicht graduated Magna Cum Laude from APU with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in pre-law. While at APU, Leicht studied abroad as an associated student at the University of Oxford at St. Catherine’s College, where she developed her skills as a communicator and critical thinker. “My time at Oxford provided me with the opportunity to give and critique speeches, which shaped my trajectory toward working in the field of political communication,” she said. During her final semester at APU, Leicht worked as an intern in the District Office of Assemblymember Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga, Assembly District 40). This internship laid the groundwork for a full-time campaign position working on his behalf in Sacramento. “Working with Assemblymember Steinorth allowed me to explore California politics and make crucial networking connections,” said Leicht. “It really fueled my passion for governmental work and public policy formation.”

The Capital Fellows program was ranked as 1 of the top 10 internships by Forbes in 2014, and by Vault for three years in a row, alongside other internships such as Nickelodeon Animation Studios, GE, and Google. “As an assembly fellow, I work as a full-time legislative aide to an assemblymember, working on legislation and staffing my member's committees. This fellowship gives me the ability to work in a purposeful way that provides me with invaluable experiences,” said Leicht. “I could not imagine doing something more formative for my career and future.”

Abbylin H. Sellers, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of History and Political Science, was a major influence for Leicht. “Dr. Sellers helped connect me to political science graduates who gave me direction and advice,” said Leicht. APU political science majors are encouraged to take advantage of internships at the national and state level so that they can make valuable contacts with others in their field. “I hope to have the opportunity to connect with political science students and help them as others helped me.”

APU’s political science program develops students who work for positive change in the nation and the world. “My time at APU was special because so many people shaped my life, and that network provided me with invaluable opportunities to discover who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. My internship with Capital Fellows is another opportunity to refine and shape my passion for American politics.”

Evan R. Cain '18 is a senior public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. He is a biblical studies and humanities major in the Honors College.