Alumna recounts interning for Clinton White House

A GW alumna opened up last Wednesday about her book titled “Government Girl,” which recounts her experiences being young and female while interning in the Clinton White House.

About 25 people attended the book signing in the Marvin Center with Stacy Parker Aab, who talked about her fond memories at the University, including staying in Thurston Hall her freshman year and majoring in political communication. She graduated from GW with a degree in political communication in 1996.

Parker Aab’s career sprung to life after she volunteered in the Marvin Center with the Presidential Inauguration Committee. In “Government Girl,” Parker Aab describes her passion for public service and her journey in the White House – in the “best of times and worst of times.”

“GW opened up so many worlds for me. You often hear people talk about [GW’s] location, but here there is access to worlds that I wouldn’t have if I were at a different school,” she said. “I have met great people and I also was able to have great writing professors and workshops.”

Parker Aab read excerpts of the book out loud – including some unpleasant passages. Parker Aab began with stories about traveling to Abuja, Nigeria in 2001 and about how a young boy born with HIV spoke about the harsh reality he faced.

It was an emotional moment for the White House staff and, in a moment of tension, President Bill Clinton praised the boy for sharing his pains and hopes.

Parker Aab said one of her darkest moments coincided with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Inevitably, “The Monica Spring” led to much tension in the White House. Parker Aab was called in and asked whether or not she lied about her drug use in her background check.

Her lie could embarrass the entire administration – on top of the ongoing Lewinsky scandal. Parker Aab reassured the questioners that she was telling the truth: she had experimented with drugs in high school. Eventually, she was cleared.

After her White House days, Parker Aab worked on The Katrina Experiment, which helps evacuees, and is assisting a professor specializing in natural disasters at Columbia University with research on the hurrican.

Professor Jarol Manheim, who attended the event, was Aab’s former professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs.

“She was always a confident person, but now she has the richness of her experiences,” Manheim said.

Students who attended the event said they appreciated the GW focus of the talk.

“It was interesting to see how another undergrad took advantage of D.C.,” said freshman Ellen Nadeau. “It was nice to see how her future was shaped by D.C. and led to so many different places.”

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