Life as a Judicial Fellow: Tips from the top

Spring this year has brought a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar. In the latter category is record rainfall, which has rescued California from a 5-year-long drought. In the former category is pollen, which results in an ongoing chorus of sneezes among the staff here at the Center for California Studies., situated in Tahoe […]

via Spring 2017 Executive Director Message — Californiana Newsletter

Life as a Judicial Fellow: Spring has sprung!

Judicial Fellows are in the process of wrapping up their Capstone Projects and preparing for the final two field seminars of the year.  Time flies when you are having fun!

Fellows have had the opportunity to dig into a number of exciting projects, activities, and field seminars as of late.  The highlight of 2017 so far has been attending the Civic Learning Summit at the California Secretary of State’s Office and having the opportunity to hear Justice Kennedy from the United States Supreme Court speak.  Click through the slideshow below for a more in-depth look at the spring semester experience.

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Life as a Judicial Fellow: photos of the 2016-17 class in action

Judicial Fellows at the State Capitol

The Judicial Administration Fellowship Program is one of FOUR Capital Fellows Programs run by the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State.  In addition to working full time in the Judicial Branch and participating in a graduate seminar in Public Policy and Administration, Judicial Fellows also have fun, explore all aspects of state government, interact with the other three fellowship programs, and build lifelong friendships and professional connections.

The class of 2016-17 is going full speed into the second half of the fellowship.  Fellows continue tackling major projects in placement such as researching and/or participating in the program development of different collaborative courts such as Veteran’s Treatment Court, DUI Court and Reentry Court, researching individual court policies and procedures, continued planning for Law Day events and other access to justice initiatives.

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Life as a Judicial Fellow: Alameda Field Seminar

JAF Class of 2016-17

Eager to continue their professional trek into the world of Judicial Administration, the fellows gathered for seminar in Alameda County last week.  During the field seminar fellows had the opportunity to meet with Presiding Judge Morris Jacobson, observe jury selection for a murder trial, and meet with Court Executive Officer Chad Finke.  Both Judge Jacobson and Mr. Finke spent time outlining for the group the recent operational changes the court had made, specifically consolidating Self Help Centers from around the county into one location at the Hayward courthouse, and the impact those changes had on the county community.  These discussions were relevant, interesting and helpful as fellows gain more familiarity with court operations and court management styles and strategies.

Fellows continue their hard work in academic seminar; participating in weekly online discussion forums and finalizing their capstone project topics.  The capstone project is a year long endeavor and a cornerstone of the Fellowship.  This year capstone project topics are very diverse and cover such areas as developing social media policy and program development within collaborative courts.

Judicial Administration Fellowship applications are now available!  Apply by February 13th! 


Judicial Fellow Alum: Where are they now?

Emily Chirk, 2013-14 Judicial Fellow

Emily Chirk became a Judicial Administration Fellow shortly after graduating from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. Her interests in the courts began with her time in JusticeCorps. She decided to pursue a career in judicial administration based on her experiences during her fellowship placement at the Superior Court of California, San Francisco. As a fellow, Emily was involved in developing programs for juveniles involved in the criminal justice system, remodeling court facilities to increase access to the court for non-English speakers, and was the lead author of a research study examining landlord-tenant cases. Emily is now a Court Administrative Analyst for the Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino where she is the primary data researcher, assists in overseeing the Treatment Courts, conducts program and case flow studies, and is a part of the core team overseeing the court’s transition to a new case management system.

The fellowship exposed me to a side of the courts that I never knew existed and became a critical turning point in my decisions about my career path. The fellowship allowed me to become involved in innovative programs that were targeted at helping members of the public instead of rotating them through a never ending cycle. I was trusted with conducting quantitative and qualitative research that would influence policy decisions made by court executives as well as the city leadership. Most importantly, the fellowship developed and honed skills that I still use in my current work. The mentorship I received during the program was critical in my professional development and helped create a network of like-minded professionals that I remain in contact with to this day.

Capital Fellows: Better Together

Judicial Fellows arrived back in Sacramento this week to participate in a field seminar on the Federal Courts, All Fellows Day and the second academic seminar of the year.

All Fellows Day is a particularly dynamic event that brings together all four Capital Fellows Programs under one roof to engage in leadership training, professional development and team building exercises.  Takeaways from the training included improved communication skills, an increased ability to take risks within the group setting, and learning how to “break down silo’s” and increase connectivity, productivity, and engagement within a group setting.  Fellows also had the special opportunity to hear from State Librarian Greg Lucas who engaged the group in a lively discussion about California and its rich history.

Applications for the class of 2017-18 are now open.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to become a part of an amazing program!  Apply now!  

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Class of 2016-17 fellowship year begins!

2016-17 Judicial Fellows at the State Capitol


The Judicial Administration Fellowship class of 2016-17 is the the 20th class of Judicial Fellows – a very significant milestone for the program. Our deepest thanks to our branch partner – the Judicial Council of California, Sacramento State, and the CSU Office of the Chancellor for the strong commitment and dedication to the program’s success year after year.

The Fellows are off to a fantastic start having just wrapped up their week-long orientation in Sacramento.  Highlights of orientation included information briefings about California’s judicial branch by Martin Hoshino, Administrative Director of the Judicial Council, Zlatko Theodorovic, Chief Financial Officer (Judicial Council), Leah Rose-Goodwin, Manger, Office of Court Research (Judicial Council) and Maureen Dumas, Principle Manager for Special Projects (Judicial Council) ; completing Sacramento State’s Peak Adventures Ropes Course, a tour of California’s Capitol, and the first academic seminar.

Best of luck to the class as they begin their first day of work in placement courts and offices around the state!


A big CONGRATULATIONS and welcome to the selected applicants for the Judicial Administration Fellowship class of 2016-17.  Looking forward to a great year – see you in September!

ARJUN AHUJA, University of Southern California

ALVIN ARCEO, University of California, Santa Barbara




KARISSA ELLIS, Sacramento State


KATERINA PRINDLE, Sacramento State


PAZONG VANG, Fresno State

Become a Judicial Fellow!

The Judicial Fellowship is a very unique opportunity and offers fellows the opportunity to explore the California Courts while working in a court office or at the Judicial Council. Below are just a few points describing what makes the Judicial Fellowship so special and how/why the current fellows chose this particular path.

The top reason I became a JAF was because the fellowship would provide me an opportunity to gain professional experience in public service and the judicial branch while learning about a subject matter that I am interested in.

JAF gave me the opportunity to experience real time court procedures and the processes of each litigation area that allows to carry out justice for the public on a daily basis.

As a Judicial Fellow I was able to gain a better understand of how leadership works in government.

I wanted to find my niche!

I wanted to meet other people and build a network.

To pursue a career in public service at the intersection of law, politics, and policy, while attaining an educational experience in relevant and applicable topics. Together, these opportunities allow individuals to become relevant to the changing world around them while producing good work that has the potential to help the public.

My favorite thing about the Judicial Administration Fellowship is that I have really developed a sense of California pride. I mean, I’m the kind of person who read a history of California  before starting the fellowship and I also own a t-shirt with the state seal…but I didn’t really understand the inner workings of state government until very recently (and I learn more every day). Visiting all these different courts has enhanced my appreciation for the diverse and collective interests, issues, and identities in California.

Interview season for the class of 2016-17 is upon us.  For interview tips check out this blog  by former Capital Fellow, Alex Vassar.