Catching Up with Penn Staters at the White House
Meet Penn State’s White House interns for Summer 2013: Hannah Botelho, of Potomac, Maryland, and Vincent Amendolare, of Hillsborough, New Jersey.
Hannah Botelho is a rising junior majoring in political science who also serves as THON Chair for Alpha Chi Omega. Vincent Amendolare is a 2012 graduate with a degree in finance and a 2012 corps member for Teach For America; while at Penn State, Amendolare was a member of Theta Delta Chi, Lion Ambassadors, and Order of Omega.
We caught up with both Botelho and Amendolare on their experience working in the White House thus far:
Onward State: Have you worked or lived in Washington, D.C. area before? If not, tell us a little bit about how you have been adjusting to life in the District.
Hannah Botelho: I live in Potomac, Maryland, which is about 30 minutes away from the city, so I am very used to living in the District. I also worked in Congresswoman Linda Sanchez’s office on Capitol Hill a couple years ago which was my first hands-on experience in the political world.
Vincent Amendolare: This summer is my first experience living and working in Washington, D.C. and it’s absolutely incredible. History saturates the city from the sky lined monuments down to the bricks on the sidewalk. It’s fascinating to think about the defining moments that our country has had in this city, and to watch history happen in real time as our country moves to shape our future. There’s a slight adrenaline you get when you look at the city through a historic lens, and it never goes away.
OS: How did you discover the White House internship?
HB: One of our good family friends was an intern in the current office I am working in, the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and she said it was the best experience she has ever had. Hearing all of her stories and experiences I knew that I had to at least apply for the White House Internship Program.
VA: I found out about the internship program on a college tour I took in D.C. when I was looking at different schools during my junior year of high school. Although it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind, this experience is one that I’ve thought about for quite a while. I was reintroduced to the opportunity earlier this year, and I knew I couldn’t let the opportunity pass.
OS: What are you working on at the White House?
HB: I am currently helping with the Champions of Change program, which recognizes everyday citizens who are doing extraordinary efforts for certain causes in their communities. I also help with the President’s efforts for Early Education/Universal Pre-K.
VA: I’m assigned to the Office of Presidential Correspondence. My office handles official correspondence on behalf of the President. The President’s mail from constituents comes into our office, and we help respond on behalf of the President. As Americans we are all part of an ever-changing democracy, and it’s important that all voices are heard.
OS: Tell us about your White House experience thus far.
HB: I have absolutely loved my experience thus far. The White House Internship Program has really let me experience the working world first hand. I get to meet great people as well as help on efforts being implemented by the White House.
VA: The White House Internship Program overall has been absolutely incredible. The program is filled with opportunities such as community service, a Speaker Series with White House Staff, staff led professional development workshops and intern led policy groups that allow for healthy debate and further study of areas such as Foreign Policy, Domestic Policy, Communications and Law. The program creates an ideal atmosphere for growth and development paired with significant and challenging work in the office.
OS: Give your best endorsement of this internship opportunity if future Penn Staters are to apply.
HB: It has been the best opportunity that I have been given thus far in my life. Being a White House intern has really helped me figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.
VA: The White House Internship Program is a transformational experience that gives you an understanding of how the White House works and provides you with unique chances to professionally develop yourself for future leadership and public service opportunities. This service-based program has revitalized my belief in democracy and has proven to me that our government is one that listens and that measures its success by the magnitude by which the lives of Americans are changed for the better.
OS: What are your future career aspirations?
HB: I am really not sure yet! I know I definitely want to work in Washington D.C. and help with serving the public. As for my near future after I graduate I want to live abroad for a couple years and experience what it is like living in a different culture.
VA: In the future I plan on furthering my education in the areas of Law and Government. After this summer, however, I will be transitioning from the White House to Marlboro County High School in South Carolina, where I teach English, to satisfy my commitment to Teach For America.