Crafton Hills College Student Sees California Government Up Close

Veselka Zelemenova is an Intern at California Governor’s Office, Sets Path for Policy-Making Career

SBCCD Colleges
3 min readMay 15, 2023
Crafton Hills College student Veselka Zelemenova at the “Combating College Student Hunger: Inland Empire Policy Roundtable” in April 2023.

By Kris Lovekin

Veselka Zelemenova, 20, journeyed from Bulgaria as a child. Now, thanks to the Crafton Hills College Foundation, she is working as a paid intern three days a week with the Inland Empire office of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

“The regional office works to establish a stronger connection between the local level and the state government,” she said. “Some of the projects I work on include researching a variety of policy issues impacting the region, drafting memos, helping with community outreach efforts, and managing stakeholder databases.”

Vesi enjoys working with the External Affairs office as she gets to serve the community she lives in.

“It has directed me toward what I think is my passion, to advocate for a better quality of life for people,” she said.

One of her favorite experiences so far: a visit to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. “I got to meet other people, including some of the other interns,” she said. “We got a tour of the campus and it was amazing to learn about all the work they are doing to support the state’s effort to address climate change.”

Crafton Hills College student, Veselka Zelemenova, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena.

She also participated in a forum at Crafton Hills College organized by the California Student Aid Commission and San Bernardino Community College District on the impacts of student hunger in California. She met SBCCD Chancellor Diana Z. Rodriguez and the group brainstormed ways that college students can stay eligible for CalFresh benefits.

“I am grateful for the work she is doing for students like myself and the ones I represent,” she said.

This is not the first time she has been involved with policy. Earlier in her two years at Crafton Hills College, she interned in the office of Pete Aguilar, a Congressman from Redlands, her hometown. She graduated from Redlands High, and still lives there with her parents and two brothers.

“They are really proud and really supportive,” she said of her parents. “It is what we came here for, to give me opportunities to succeed.”

As a political science major at Crafton Hills College, she is preparing for a career in policy making. It was a Crafton professor who told her about the internship opportunities.

“When I first chose my major, I wanted to be a lawyer,” she said, and she may still go to law school. “But now I would love to work in government on the local level or the state level.”

She is the Director of External Affairs for the Student Senate at Crafton Hills College and she spent three days in Long Beach voting on resolutions with other student leaders from California’s community colleges. She said it has changed her college experience and helped her decide the direction of her life and career.

She has a little more school to attend first. She is moving on to a UC campus in the fall. She has been accepted at both UC Irvine and UC Riverside and she hopes to hear from other campuses soon. “I need to start making that decision,” she said.



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