White House internship springs alumna into post-grad life

White House internship springs alumna into post-grad life

Evelynn Escobar-Thomas was sure her Virginia Commonwealth University School of Mass Communications courses prepared her for the working world.  She just wasn’t sure she would go straight from graduating to working at the White House.

“There are tons of opportunities for students in Richmond, but when I looked at big-named internships like the White House program, it felt a little out of reach,” said Escobar-Thomas, who graduated with a journalism degree from mass communications, which is part of the College of Humanities and Sciences. “I looked at that internship three times and finally applied my senior year. And I ended up at the White House.”

Escobar-Thomas landed a dream job in April 2013, joining an exclusive team of 11 interns working for first lady Michelle Obama and serving as the only intern in the first lady’s Office of Scheduling and Advance.

“I actually got to play a good-sized part of daily operations,” Escobar-Thomas said.

Escobar-Thomas’ main responsibility was to handle a vast number of invitations from both citizens and VIPs requesting the first lady to attend their events.

As the first lady jetted off for her international travels this summer, Escobar-Thomas would prepare detailed itineraries for the Obama children, as well as a binder of the first lady’s speeches and a trip book for her traveling aide.

“As a first lady intern, I was right next to her office,” Escobar-Thomas said. “She would walk in occasionally and say hi. That was definitely a perk.”

After completing the White House internship program in August, Escobar-Thomas quickly seized the next opportunity that came her way, taking a position at LivingSocial, a tech company headquartered in Washington, D.C., that offers daily deals in a marketplace designed to give members unique experiences in their cities.

“You never know where life will take you or what the curriculum you learn in school will actually teach you. It really teaches you life lessons,” Escobar-Thomas said. “In the long run, all those things that might have been tedious as a student, to write articles and meet deadlines, help in the real world; Mass Comm prepared me for real life interaction.”

When asked what Escobar-Thomas’s advice is on post-grad life, her response was simple: It’s not as scary as you think.

“I’ve learned that ultimately no dream is too big. I never thought I’d end up in the White House, and I ended up at the first lady’s office,” said Escobar-Thomas. “Everyone seems to be so afraid of post-grad life, but I’m really enjoying it. And it’s all because of making smart decisions while I was still a student.”

 

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