Rain fell from the sky, making the summer air hot and sticky as Morgan Williams stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial on July 4, 2019. She watched in awe as the Blue Angels flew back over the memorial as the final notes of God Bless the U.S.A. played out.
Williams was not just in Washington, D.C., for the president’s 4th of July celebration, she was there for an internship opportunity at the White House. Williams had always been interested in politics, and she started listening to the news with her mom in the morning when she was 12 years old. As the years went on, Williams’ interest in politics grew. She pored over news and research articles to develop her own political ideologies. After graduating from Teays Valley High School, Williams’ love for politics was temporarily set aside as she pursued another interest, country music. After learning more about the country music industry and exploring contacts in Nashville, Williams decided that music wasn’t the direction she wanted to go in life.
Returning to her political roots, Williams got a job as a page at the Ohio Statehouse and worked her way up to her current position, working with majority policy advisors for the majority party on various projects making their way through the Statehouse.
In April 2018, Williams started searching for internships in Washington, D.C. During her search she stumbled on the White House Internship Program (WHIP). Instantly, Williams knew that this was what she wanted to do. She talked to another page that was also working for the Statehouse who had interned at the White House and after hearing about her colleague’s experience, her heart was set on applying to the WHIP. Her application had been submitted and was ready to be reviewed in November 2018.
A year after her initial search, Williams heard back from the WHIP that she got accepted into the program.
Williams said, “I was very excited, this was my dream internship. I couldn’t believe I got it, it was an amazing feeling.”
Once Williams had her acceptance letter, life was put in fast forward for the next four months. She arrived in D.C. on May 27 and had two days to acclimate to the new city before starting her internship on May 29. This was the first time that Williams was living on her own, and she was about to start interning at one of the most famous institutions in the country, so one would naturally assume she had some nervous jitters. However, that was not the case.
Williams was excited and ready to embark on her new adventure. Since public transportation, like the subway, were foreign to Williams, she scoped out the subway system in her free time before starting the internship.
It was finally May 29, and Williams was standing in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with the rest of the interns in the WHIP. Over the course of their stay, the interns were shown around the East and West Wings of the White House. Williams couldn’t believe she was standing where presidents, first ladies, and numerous people whose names are sprinkled throughout history textbooks, had stood before her.
Once the interns were introduced to each other and their new surroundings, they received their assignments. Williams was assigned to the Office of Presidential Correspondence. Initially, she was a bit disappointed because that office was not in her top five choices of where to intern. However, as the internship progressed, she realized how much she enjoyed interning in the Office of Presidential Correspondence.
Williams said, “I’m so glad I got placed there because the office was phenomenal. I’ve learned so much, and I wouldn’t have picked a different office now that I’ve been there.”
Williams was very grateful to her supervisors and the WHIP staff, who were very helpful throughout the summer. Her supervisors helped her network and meet different people so she could make connections.
Williams said, “I think one of the biggest takeaways from the internship is that it’s just important to go talk to people. You can learn something from everyone and take advantage of that when you can because you never know when you’re going to meet that person that’s going to be so helpful to your career.”
On top of completing assignments related to their positions, interns were also given opportunities to volunteer and observe different events being held at the White House. They got to meet President Donald Trump for a group picture and quick Q&A session, they met Vice President Mike Pence when he gave a short speech to them, they were able to attend the president’s 4th of July celebration, and were able to volunteer at the Congressional Picnic.
Williams said that those opportunities were among her most memorable experiences during the internship. Other opportunities that helped make Williams’ summer unforgettable were touring the West Wing, watching the president take-off in his helicopter, seeing the press room, and hearing administration officials speak.
Williams said, “I can’t even believe it happened still sometimes. It’s hard to process just because it went so fast, but they’re all really great memories now.”
Before Williams knew it, it was August 9 and she was preparing to return to Otterbein for classes. After being at the White House for the summer, she was a bit disappointed to return to classes.
Even though she is back in Ohio, Williams stays connected to D.C. by keeping up with the news out of our nation’s capital. Lately this news has been about the impeachment hearings for the president.
She said, “It’s just their newest scandal to pick at him with. The Democrats have control of the house, they’re going to go for it. His re-election is coming up, why would they not? I personally don’t think it will help them. It didn’t help Republicans with Bill Clinton back in the 90’s, why would it help Democrats with Donald Trump?”
Williams still works at the Statehouse and is looking at career opportunities in politics in Ohio or back in D.C. Whatever direction Williams ends up going, Otterbein will be watching eagerly and cheering her on as she pursues her passion, working for the country she loves.
For more information about The White House Internship Program look here.