WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Racine woman had the internship experience of a lifetime this semester — at the White House.
Sriramya Gainedi, 21, has spent the past few months interning in the White House’s Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. She works full time on tasks like event scheduling and logistics, uploading department blogs and newsletters and even helping distribute tickets for the White House Easter Egg Roll.
Gainedi, a Prairie School graduate and a senior studying political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is one of about 100 unpaid White House interns selected this semester from thousands of applicants.
Her internship began Jan. 15 and will draw to a close next week on May 3. As the experience wraps up, Gainedi looked back on her time in D.C. and answered Journal Times' questions about what’s she’s seen and done.
What well-known people have you seen? Have you met President Obama? The first lady?
We have been given the opportunity to attend various events that senior staff are present (for) a part of. Through these various events, I’ve had the privilege of hearing the president and first lady speak. My favorite part of the internship program is the speaker series where senior White House staff share their journeys into the White House with the interns. This has given us an opportunity to hear from senior advisers to the president, such as Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and the Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.
What’s the most exciting day you’ve had on the job?
Through a speaker series in which senior staff members come to speak to (the) internship class, we had the opportunity to hear from Mrs. Obama. She gave us great life advice and took the time to answer our questions. It was so exciting (to) listen to such an amazing first lady speak in person.
What about the most stressful/challenging day?
There are some days when I have multiple blog posts to put up while staffing events for a few hours. Although those days are extremely stressful, they have truly helped me learn valuable skills like acute attention to detail. However, even on the most stressful days, you get the opportunity to be here and all the stress is completely worth it.
Have you gotten to see a fair amount of the White House?
I’ve seen both the East Wing and the West Wing.
How rigorous was the application process?
The application process included writing a policy memo on a public policy topic you were interested in, an essay on your commitment to public service, your résumé, two letters of recommendation and a series of short answers. ... After the application is turned it, it was really a waiting game.
What was your reaction when you found out you’d been accepted?
I was so excited and proud to be accepted into the program. I immediately called my parents who were equally as happy. Many people apply and I was honored to be given the opportunity to be a part of the internship program.
Applying for the White House internship program
Fall 2013 White House internship applications are due May 12.
A completed application includes two answered essay questions, two letters of recommendation and a résumé. Selection is based on a commitment to public service, demonstrated leadership in the community and a commitment to the mission of the Obama Administration.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years of age on or before the first day of the internship and at least one of the following:
• Enrolled in a collegiate undergraduate or graduate program.
• Graduated from a collegiate undergraduate or graduate program no more than two years before the first day of the internship.
• A veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces who has a high school diploma or its equivalent and served on active duty within the two years preceding the first day of the internship.
More information can be found at whitehouse.gov/about/internships.
SOURCE: The White House.