January 27, 2020
College of the Ozarks senior interns at the White HouseAbigail Wiley, senior public relations major at College of the Ozarks, interned at the White House during the fall semester of 2019. (Photo by Emily Braden)
During a semester-long internship, Wiley worked in both the Office of White House Communications and White House Press Office. (Photo by Abigail Wiley)
Arrivals and departures of Marine One were a highlight for Wiley during her time as an intern. (Photo by Abigail Wiley)
POINT LOOKOUT, MO. – Abigail Wiley, senior public relations major, interned at the White House in Washington, D.C., during the fall semester of 2019.
The White House Internship Program (WHIP) is a public service leadership program that provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and build leadership skills. This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate today’s young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office, and prepare them for future public service opportunities.
While interns’ responsibilities and tasks vary by department, all interns are united through weekly events, including a speaker series and professional development opportunities. Most importantly, the internship experience emphasizes community, and interns participate in service projects at non-profit organizations in Washington, D.C.
Wiley worked in both the Office of White House Communications and White House Press Office.
“No two days were alike, with some intern assignments being far from ordinary,” Wiley said.
In addition to everyday tasks, Wiley participated in activities and tours organized by WHIP within the White House and around the city.
“The WHIP office provided an experience that guided the interns and really helped us to succeed during our time in Washington D.C.,” Wiley said. “Some of the highlights of the program were touring the Washington Monument, the U.S. Supreme Court, and other historic sites.”
Wiley heard about the internship through a dean and supervisor at College of the Ozarks. Both encouraged her to apply for the internship.
“I am so glad I pushed through the entire process. Otherwise, I would have missed out on an opportunity of a lifetime,” Wiley said.
Wiley went through a competitive and intensive application process, as only a limited number of positions were available.
“The support I received from College of the Ozarks throughout the experience was incredible, and I am excited to encourage and help other students to apply.”
“It was such an honor to stand and work in a place where so much history has happened and is currently happening,” Wiley said. “I realized this internship was an incredible opportunity very few people have the chance to experience, and I am beyond grateful. When I applied, I wasn’t thinking about public service as a career option. Now, I want to go back to Washington, D.C., after I graduate to serve my country, make a difference, and spread the message of hope.”