March 10, 2011

Hunter Macaulay Honors Student Interns at the White House

“Nothing can prepare you to work at the White House,” says Valentine Sanders '11 (Hunter), “but once I got a grip on my awe I found myself relying on things I learned at Hunter.”
Sanders is interning at the White House – one of the most coveted internships in the nation – and is currently in the middle of his extremely busy, highly exciting White House stint, which began on January 6 and will run through mid-May.

Sanders is a press intern in the Office of the Vice President, where his job consists mostly of working with the communications staff. He writes memos recapping press coverage of the vice president’s major events, compiles news clips, helps to draft press guidelines, and assists in all the expected and unexpected tasks that can turn up during the day.

“On the best days,” he says, “I feel like a very lucky pinball.”

“I get to learn from the people I work with every day,” he continues, adding: “I think the most valuable thing you gain as a White House intern is a sense of what it takes to function at this level and the good that you can do."

Particularly important, Sanders says, is that the staffers in the Office of the Vice President are “dedicated, astoundingly capable people who enjoy their work and each other’s company. Their sense of purpose is infectious.”

A graduate of the United Nations International School in New York City, which, he says, “gave me the kind of international awareness that made me really appreciate American foreign policy issues,” Sanders, 25, started at Hunter in the fall of 2004 and expects to graduate in December 2011 with a degree in political science and Arabic. After he graduates from Hunter, he hopes to work on President Obama’s re-election campaign and then “either travel in the Middle East to improve my Arabic or work for an agency that helps set American policy in the region.” Eventually, he says, he would like to get a law degree or a master’s degree in public policy.

But right now, he says, he is happy to be both a White House intern and a Hunter student. Hunter, he emphasizes, is “a school for real people. Students and professors at Hunter have a serious bent because the product of their work is a tangible change in the condition of someone’s life.  Hunter made me the kind of person who can fit into a high-pressure environment where good people rely on me and the quality of my effort.”

(Story courtesy Hunter College Office of Communications)

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