Like many aspiring politicos, Nate Perkins’ penchant for politics began while watching reruns of “The West Wing” in high school.
Perkins is living out the show’s story as a staff assistant at the White House’s Office of Management and Administration.
The California native decided on a college across the country to study in the nation’s mecca of political activity.
“I chose to come to school in D.C. knowing that I wanted to be involved in both politics and government. It was a big move…but has been well worth it to be at the center of my profession,” he said.
His captivation continued throughout the 2008 presidential primaries and into his college years, when he served as vice president of the College Democrats.
Perkins credits his involvement in College Democrats for setting him on the path to his position at the White House.
“I definitely learned more, both about politics and management, in the office shared by the College Democrats and College Republicans than in any class at GW,” he said of the experience.
This managerial ability is invaluable in a job that requires him to work “behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly, supporting White House staff members and departments.”
Perkins’ passion for interactive political experience drove him to build a repertoire of internships throughout his time at GW, ranging from a Capitol Hill stint for former Rep. Ron Klein, D-Fla., a post at the Democratic Governors Association and work on Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s re-election campaign.
Each of these positions, he said, taught him “how to work in a fast-paced workplace” and deepened his love for political work. The White House Internship, “incorporating service projects with incomparable work experience,” was the best preparation possible for his new job, which he started after graduating last semester.
Extensive academic and co-curricular involvement enabled Perkins to graduate a semester early and “be considered for a full-time position” at the White House right away.
As Perkins reflected on his college career, he said the University’s location was key in his political career’s trajectory and helped him land a White House job.
“At no other campus in the world is it as possible to intern at so many political and government institutions as it is on Foggy Bottom,” he said.