Career Development Center officials attend White House session
January 24, 2012Tweet
Binghamton University was one of 38 U.S. institutions invited to take part in a session at the White House about the White House Internship Program.
“This is an example of something you go to,” Career Development Center Director Nancy Paul said. “You don’t decline an invitation to the White House.”
Paul and Eileen Bauer-Hagerbaumer, CDC assistant director of employer relations, attended “Path to the White House” on Jan. 6. Binghamton University was the only SUNY school represented at the half-day event. Only three other New York schools took part: Cornell University, New York University and Rochester Institute of Technology.
Paul received the White House invitation in mid-December, as did Laura O’Neill, the CDC’s academic internship program coordinator. Bauer-Hagerbaumer filled in after O’Neill was unable to attend.
“You are receiving this invitation because you have a unique understanding of the culture and pulse on your campus,” the invitation read. “More importantly, you are entrusted with the great task of offering your students insights about internship opportunities like the White House Internship Program.”
The program offers students the opportunity to develop leadership skills and gain experience in the public-service sector. Candidates must be U.S. citizens who are at least 18 years old; have a commitment to public service and the mission of the Obama Administration; and have demonstrated leadership in the community. The unpaid, three-month internship is offered in the spring, summer and fall. There are 16 presidential departments available to interns, whose responsibilities could range from attending meetings to conducting research to helping to staff events.
Paul and Bauer-Hagerbaumer’s day started with a guided tour of the White House. Both were impressed with the building and the Secret Service agent giving the tour.
“He gave us a lot of information about some of the things that happened in each of the rooms and related them specifically to the Obama Administration,” Bauer-Hagerbaumer said. “It was interesting and informative.”
The campus representatives then proceeded to the White House Conference Center for an overview of the internship program. Speakers included Ronnie Cho, associate director of the Office of Public Engagement and the White House Liaison to Young Americans, and Felicia Escobar, a former White House intern who is now a senior policy adviser at the White House Domestic Policy Council. The overview also featured an internship program alumni panel.
“Doing a White House internship doesn’t guarantee a job there, but some of the people said this did lead to a job and networks,” Paul said.
Both Paul and Bauer-Hagerbaumer agreed that the network opportunities are “incredible,” as each intern is assigned a mentor who helps with career guidance. Interns also are expected to do community-service projects once a month in the Washington, D.C., area.
“I can see why this internship would appeal to our students,” Paul said. “There is a commitment to public service and proven leadership here.”
The internship could also be appealing to alumni, Paul said: A graduate can be out of school for two years and still take part in the program.
Paul and Bauer-Hagerbaumer do not believe that any Binghamton University students have been involved in the program in the past, but intend to work to make students, faculty and staff aware of the opportunity.
“The push from the conference was: Think of students you know and encourage them to apply,” Bauer-Hagerbaumer said.
“The only guarantee we can make is that if you don’t apply, you won’t get it,” Paul said.
The application deadline for fall 2012 is March 11. The application includes two essay questions, two letters of recommendation and a résumé. More information can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/internships.
“This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to network and gain experience,” Bauer-Hagerbaumer said. “This fits our students – it really is a match. No matter what the administration is – Democrat or Republican – the experience is unbelievable.”