Student profile: Santangelo interns at White House

By Ryan Kirby
March 13, 2008


One hundred students in the entire country get the remarkable opportunity to have an internship at the White House.

This spring, Shannon Santangelo, a third year student at Cabrini College, with a double major in finance and mathematics and minor in accounting, is one of the lucky few.

“I was hesitant at first and I didn’t really think I had a chance to get it because they are so selective,” Santangelo said.

Santangelo referred to the White House Website, which goes into detail about the application process and the internship program.

The 100 interns who work in the White House are split up into 25 different offices, which include Intergovernmental affairs, Legislative affairs, Office of the Vice President, Presidential Personnel, Speechwriting, White House Management and Domestic Policy Council.

“I was studying abroad in London when I got an email about applying for the internship and although I didn’t think I had much of a chance I decided to apply. I had to get three letters of recommendation, send my transcript and resume, rank the top four offices I would like to work for, and complete many essays.

After that I got a phone call from the National Economic Council and had an hour long phone interview, which was very difficult, the hardest interview I’ve ever had,” Santangelo said.

“A week or two later they called me and offered me one of the 100 positions at the White House in the office of the National Economic Council.”

Santangelo had originally applied to the Washington Center and the international relations program. Cabrini has a direct relationship with the Washington Center, using Dr. James Hedtke, history and political science professor, as a liaison to the center.

“Dr. Hedtke and Dr. McCormick were both important in helping me get the internship. It was Dr. McCormick who met with me about the program sophomore year and told me that because of my previous accomplishments he thought I would be a great candidate for the White House’s program, and that really encouraged me,” Santangelo said.

Interning at the White House is no easy job; Santangelo will have to complete her requirements for the Cabrini Co-op program, the Washington Center and the White House.

“I have to complete requirements like a community service project and a bi-weekly journal. We also get to interview someone in D.C. that has a career that we would like to pursue. So I get to interview Kathleen Casey who is one of the five chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission,” Santangelo said.

“The best part is all of the special opportunities that I get to pursue by interning here. I get to meet government officials, hear important speeches and go to hearings on Capitol Hill. Just recently I was able to tour the Federal Reserve Building,” Santangelo said.

Santangelo certainly has the background and experience needed for such a high profile internship.

Although only in her third year, Santangelo has completed three internships already, the White House being her fourth.

She has had two financial services internships, along with an internship in the auditing department of Ernst and Young while in London studying abroad this past fall. After three internship experiences in the private sector McCormick persuaded Santangelo to try the public sector.

“At first I was just thankful for the opportunity to apply and experience the interview process. I never actually thought they would offer the position,” Santangelo said.

Santangelo’s internship started on Jan. 8 and will continue until May 9.

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