Let Me Off at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Mason Students Intern at White House
Mason students Fatimeh Shamseddine, Jacob Small and Anne Marie Poblador participated in the White House Internship Program, which is designed to prepare future leaders and those interested in public service for leadership opportunities, while making the White House more accessible to talented and promising students.
Shamseddine is working on an MA in International Commerce and Policy, concentrating in global governance. She has been working in the Office of the White House Fellows, and says she gained a deeper insight regarding the complexity of decision making in public policy. “I’ve learned how to maximize my skills and work at my fullest capacity without feeling overwhelmed,” she says. “Every day at the White House has been a unique experience.”
Small, a law student specializing in litigation, has been working in the Office of the Vice President. He conducts research, writes memos and other interoffice communications and reviews legal documents. He has had the opportunity to lead White House tours and run an intern interest group. “I’ve had a chance to learn just how much work, from so many people, goes into running the executive branch and making policy decisions,” he says. “I always knew that the effort was big, but I’ve been struck by the colossal size of the effort.”
Poblador, a graduate student in public policy who plans on concentrating in international development, has also been working in the Office of the Vice President, in the operations department. Her duties include helping the advance team coordinate logistics and assisting in managing invitations delivered to the vice president, as well as helping with events and meetings involving the vice president. Poblador has also had the opportunity to run tours of the East Wing and staff the Black History Month reception at the Naval Observatory. “In an office that generally entails a high volume of coordination with staff, I learned the importance of being proactive and taking initiative,” she says.