Q&A: Elkton senior reflects on summer internship at White House, life in nation's capital
Elkton senior Connor Ewald spent 11 weeks interning at the White House in Washington D.C. Ewald left for the White House the last week of May, returning the second week of August. Central Michigan Life sat down with Ewald to discuss his experiences and growth throughout his internship in the nation’s capital.
How did you get the chance to intern at the White House?
I initially applied through a normal application process through Whitehouse.gov. The application consisted of some normal questions, a few essays and letters of recommendation, the normal things you would see in an application. I knew about this internship for a few years and I knew I wanted to try for it sometime in my life. I had the opportunity to interview with one of the senior communications advisors, receiving the internship.
What was a “normal day” in the White House for you?
I was interning in the Office of Communications and Press, so every day was different. There were some days where we had tons of stuff to do and there were some days where it was a little bit slower. Some days we would help with press briefings or press conferences. I got to attend a few press conferences that the president spoke at. We even helped set up for the events. There were some days where we were sitting in the office, just researching different topics and positive articles, but everyday there was something different.
What was your favorite memory?
There was one press conference—it was definitely my favorite—the president of Romania was there. They did a joint press conference in the Rose Garden and I was actually a mic runner. So, when it got done and it was time for the presidents to take questions from the press, I had to quickly run the mic over to the member of the press, so that was really exciting and probably one of my favorite memories.
What was the most difficult task?
I think one of the most challenging tasks my intern group (eight people) had to do was to create a method of analyzing press briefings. We had to figure out a way to find the transcripts of the press briefings, analyze the questions, count the questions and code the questions of different issues or different topics. It was an ongoing process and it took a long time to do that. But, now future employees or interns will be able to use that model with other press briefings.
Do you hope to work in Washington, D.C. in the future?
It’s one of my goals to possibly go back there. Maybe I could go back and work for the White House, or even another group, that would be a great experience. I do also want to get into politics one day, hopefully run for office. As I always tell people, my ultimate goal in life is to run for president. We’ll see what ends up happening one day.
Did you meet anyone super important?
I met a lot of individuals. I met quite a few people in the administration, people that weren’t in the administration but that were still very prevalent in politics, just a lot of individuals. I got to meet individuals such as Paul Ryan, a few members of the cabinet, Sarah Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and even Vice President (Mike Pence.)
What did you do while you were in Washington D.C?
There was always something to do. I would go every weekend and try to hit up a different museum. A couple friends I met at the beginning of summer (and I) walked six-to-seven miles around all the monuments one day. Sometimes where it was a long week and I just wanted to relax on the weekends, I did that too. But there was always something fun to do and people to meet. I loved every single minute of living there.