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Internships Lead to White House

Jessica Green at the Democratic Convention in September 2012.

What to do after graduation? It’s a question that plagues college students, and never more so than in their final semester.

Wondering what the future could hold, Jessica Green sat down and keyed “White House Internship” into the Google search bar. It was late in the fall of 2012, and the communication major was slated to graduate in December, but Green was simply curious about what kinds of internships the White House offered.

Her curiosity paid off. On the last possible day to submit an application to intern at the White House, Green gathered her application materials and hit ‘send.’ “I figured I wouldn’t get too far,” she remembers, “but I was really busy with my final courses and my internship at Algonquin Books, so I just sent it off and focused on the work in front of me.”

Now a White House Intern, Jessica Green stands in front of the White House in spring 2013.

Green was thrilled when the internship came through and has spent this spring interning in the Office of the First Lady. Her main responsibility in the Department of Correspondence is to coordinate responses to hundreds of pieces of mail addressed to Michelle Obama each week.

Perks of the internship program include professional development groups and a speaker series.

Green still pinches herself when she goes to work at the White House: “If you had told me at the beginning of the fall semester that in a few short months I would be interning in the First Lady’s Office, I wouldn’t have believed you … I don’t think there is any other opportunity quite like it.”

This opportunity, Green says, was facilitated by college faculty members. The faculty, she says “played the biggest role in my ability to adapt to new situations. I am so grateful for and appreciative of the experiences that got me this far … State has a great faculty, and you can tell that each professor really cares about his or her students.”

Green is particularly grateful to Dr. Susan Katz, coordinator of the English Internship Program. Green says Katz “made it very obvious that her first priority was to help her students” and that “through [her] internships and classes, I was able to become familiar with what a professional environment would be like, not just a classroom environment.”

Green’s internships during her academic career were fostered by the English Internship Program, which is open to all CHASS students.

By Alyssa Putt, CHASS Communication Intern