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Teaching and Leading as a White House Intern

Applications are now being accepted for the Summer 2013 White House Internship Program. One former intern shares his experience, and explains why students should consider signing up to serve.
The President Smiling with 2012 Interns

President Barack Obama talks with members of the 2012 Spring White House intern class before a group photo in the East Room of the White House, April 26, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Ed. note: Applications are now being accepted for the Summer 2013 White House Internship Program. This blog post introduces readers to Robby May, a former intern who worked in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs in the summer of 2011. When asked about his internship experience, Robby writes:

Being a White House intern – what an amazing experience! I remember the day I received notification of my acceptance into the program: I was transitioning to teach my fourth period 8th grade Political Science class when my phone buzzed with a call from the White House Internship Program. When I was finally able to pull myself together and tell my students what was going on, they were ecstatic.

During my time as a White House intern, I had the privilege of working in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. As a Political Science teacher, working at the White House was a larger than life experience. Seeing and being part of what I teach my students every year was truly an amazing experience.

In the summer of 2011, the Office of Public Engagement began a series of weekly Community Leaders Briefings which brought together leaders and activists from communities all across the country for an opportunity to discuss common challenges and learn how the government can help them as they work to improve their neighborhoods. I’ll never forget one briefing in particular, when the President made a surprise visit to meet and talk with the attending community leaders. As I watched and listened to the President speak with the group, I couldn’t help but be impressed not only by his remarks, but also his compassion and gratitude for the work they were doing in their communities.

I presently teach at a rural school on a peanut field in Gaston, North Carolina.

As a teacher, I am blessed to have the best job on the planet. I wake up every morning invigorated and excited to go to work and teach. While extended school days can sometimes seem long, our mission in the quest for social justice, my students, their parents, and fellow teachers empower me to continue the struggle for educational equality for all students.  In the classroom and at the White House, the work is challenging and sometimes extremely difficult, but the work impacts generations to come.

As a teacher and American citizen, I am proud to have had the opportunity to serve the President of the United States. The White House Internship Program is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I highly recommend.