At the Power Center
Two UMass undergraduates are serving White House internships
“The internship of all internships”: that’s what Benjamin Levine ’12 is calling his spring-semester tenure in Washington, D.C., with the National Economic Council (NEC). He and another UMass Amherst undergraduate, Laurie Roberts ’13, are currently serving highly coveted White House internships, she with the Office of Management and Budget.
Both are excited by and grateful for the intimate look they’re getting at the inner workings of the federal government. “The main focus of my undergraduate studies” Levine says, “has been international economic policy, so naturally I selected NEC as my first office choice and jumped at the chance when I was offered the position.” He also anticipates long-term benefits, calling internships “a fantastic way to demonstrate your talents to people who will either give you a great recommendation or remember you when a position opens up.”
Levine, a political science major and economics minor, expects to join President Obama’s re-election campaign after graduation and work in politics before applying to law school. He hopes to eventually become a government consultant.
Roberts, also a political science major, is pursuing a minor in women’s studies. She plans to move to Washington after graduation, seek work on Capitol Hill or for some progressive nonprofit agency, and apply to Georgetown University to pursue a master’s degree in public policy. Beyond that, she’s not sure: “To be honest, everything beyond five years from now seems too distant to contemplate. It’s hard to say what I’m hoping for at this point. All I know is that I want to be effecting policy, even if I’m not directly creating it.”
The White House Internship Program is tremendously competitive and is meant to provide professional experience, build leadership skills, and prepare participants for future public service. Applicants are judged on their commitment to public service, leadership in the community, and commitment to the mission of the Obama administration. Among other assignments, interns conduct research, manage incoming inquiries, attend meetings, and write memos, and they collectively attend weekly events and perform various forms of service.