Elena Satten-Lopez '12 in front of the White House
Elena Satten-Lopez ’12 Interns at The White House
Many Haverford students dream about ending up in the White House after graduation, but for Elena Satten-Lopez '12 such a dream became her reality this past year. The Tuscon, Ariz., native spent the last five months as a White House intern, working in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs focused on Latino outreach.
“One of my favorite college memories is the night that then-Senator Obama won the election in 2008,” says Satten-Lopez, a former philosophy and political science double major. “A feeling of change and promise filled the campus, as together, we celebrated what Millennials helped to create: a step towards a better, more representative future. Since the election of President Obama, I have hoped to serve in and learn from his administration. The White House Internship Program provided me this opportunity and an exciting taste of what young, talented, passionate people can achieve.”
Satten-Lopez applied to the internship program last January and was admitted over the summer as one of approximately 150 interns in the fall 2013 “class.” And she remembers feeling “disbelief, thankfulness, and pure excitement” when she got her acceptance email.
The White House Internship Program was developed to provide hands-on experience for young people from across the country and to develop their leadership skills and help them gain exposure to the public service sector. The interns are assigned to work in one of 15 different presidential departments, from Cabinet Affairs or Domestic Policy Council to the offices of the First Lady or the White House Counsel.
In Satten-Lopez’s assignment in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs she has worked to help support collaboration between the Obama Administration and organizations outside the federal government by assisting staff with organizing briefings, drafting White House newsletters to stakeholders, and collecting information about the work of different groups.
Satten-Lopez says she has found real mentors among the Office of Public Engagement staffers, and that observing their commitment and passion for their work has been inspirational for her. “The opportunity to learn from and feel a part of this wonderful team pushes me to work harder and remain involved in government,” she says.
Though her internship ends this week, her experience interning at the White House was such a good one that Satten-Lopez hopes to continue to work in public service. Next week, she joins the National Immigration Law Center in their D.C. office as an office coordinator and research assistant.