Interning for Obama

Five GW students scored the Holy Grail of internships this semester after being selected for the Fall 2009 White House Intern Program.

Dele Butler, Brandi Carson, Emily Hotez, Taylor Stanek, and Christine Walz were among 115 selected nationwide for the prestigious internship. The only university with more White House interns is Georgetown University, with six students selected.

The White House’s Web site said the program is “highly competitive,” and while it did not say how many students applied, the site said the program received “great enthusiasm” this year.

While some of the duties required of the interns include administrative work – like answering phones and mail – they also get the chance to research policy in their specific departments, draw up news briefings, and work closely with senior officials in the Obama administration.

“I will be working in the Domestic Policy department of the Office of the Vice President, so a lot of what I will be doing will depend on the office’s policy agenda,” said Stanek, a senior.

Hotez and Stanek said they were thrilled to be selected for the internship. Attempts to contact Butler, Carson and Walz were unsuccessful.

“I could not be happier I have an internship in such a busy and exciting place,” Hotez said in an e-mail. Stanek added that part of the reason he came to GW was to be eligible for prestigious internships.

“I came to GW in part because of all of the internship opportunities around the city, but it wasn’t until last year’s election that I seriously considered a White House internship as a possibility,” Stanek said.

Interns are unpaid, but the position is still coveted by students nationwide for the contacts the interns will make with senior officials and administrators in the White House.

“Hopefully, I can use the skills and contacts I will gain to find a paying job after I graduate,” Stanek said.

Neither Hotez nor Stanek were seriously involved in any political organizations before their internships at the White House.

“Upon finding out about my acceptance, I immediately felt overwhelmed as I was sure all of the interns would be so much more politically knowledgeable,” Hotez said, adding that she began her internship a week ago.

The White House’s Web site said they were looking for applicants to convey their “commitment to public service” to be considered for the position.

“Some of the other internships and jobs I’ve held around campus and the city certainly helped me get into the program, and will hopefully help me do my job well,” said Stanek.

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