Meredith College student Emily Hawkins, ’14, spent her summer as an intern in the White House, an experience she calls an honor.
“It was the honor of a lifetime to serve as an intern at the White House,” Hawkins said. “It was an unforgettable experience and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about public service.”
Hawkins, who is an honors student earning a double major in political science and Spanish, worked in the Presidential Personnel Office (PPO), which oversees the selection process for presidential appointments.
“I supported the members of the Energy and Environment team within PPO on various tasks. I also researched potential candidates, helped maintain various databases, and managed daily interview logistics,” Hawkins said.
The White House internship program interested Hawkins for a variety of reasons.
“President Obama was the first president I ever voted for and for that reason I always have felt connected to this Administration,” Hawkins said. “When I found out about the White House Internship Program, I was immediately interested in the chance to serve the public. The historical nature of the White House and prestigious nature of the program were only added bonuses.”
The White House internship also supports her professional goals.
“My passion and desire is to elect more women to office so while my plans after graduation are undecided, they will definitely include bridging the gender gap in politics,” Hawkins said.
She would like to work on the 2016 presidential campaign and to serve in the Peace Corps. The White House Internship has solidified her interest in public service.
“I'd love to work in the White House some day after this experience,” Hawkins said. “I worked with a lot of people who served then-Senator Obama on the campaign and they all encouraged me to experience working on a campaign, which has only furthered my desire to work on the 2016 election cycle.”
The internship experience helped Hawkins sharpen her skills. “I gained many skills, including researching, and an understanding of the general hiring processes, database maintenance and the ability to work in a fast paced environment,” she said.
Hawkins said her Meredith education helped prepare her for the internship and for her future. “My coursework at Meredith has expanded my interest in politics, especially a course I took about practical politics with Adjunct Professor Wendy Kelly and my thesis course on women in politics with Dr. [Clyde] Frazier,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins has participated in Meredith’s Student Government Association since being appointed as a freshman, and has been Elections Board Chair for three years.
“Electing over 90 women to office every year in college inspires me every day to further that work outside of Meredith.”
White House internship participants are chosen through a process that includes online application with letters of recommendation, two essays, and short answers questions, and later had a telephone interview. Find out more at wh.gov/internship.