Learning outside of the classroom is a valuable part of the Virginia Tech student experience, as evidenced by recent surveys of students and alumni conducted in partnership with Gallup Inc.  

Seniors Max Luong of Herndon, Virginia, and Alena Deveau of Fairfax, Virginia, got an unusual experiential learning opportunity last summer when they worked as interns at the White House.

The White House internship program, which hired approximately 130 interns last summer, is described as hands-on and designed to mentor today’s young leaders. Interns are assigned to work with offices including the offices of the Chief of Staff, Cabinet Affairs, and the Vice President.

Luong, a public relations and political science double major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, was an intern in the Office of Management and Administration, and he assisted a wide range of other offices over the course of the summer.

“We were really concentrated on modernizing operations within the White House and maintaining communication with offices to make sure the wheels ran as smoothly as possible,” Luong said.

Deveau, a meteorology and geography double major in the College of Natural Resources and Environment with a minor in communications, interned in the Office of the First Lady, specifically with the Joining Forces initiative, which was created to ensure the strengths of U.S. active duty military members, veterans and their families are highlighted as national assets and supported in their areas of employment, education and wellness.

“My experience at the White House has given me significant insight and appreciation of how the government communicates and ultimately influences changes in America,” said Deveau. “I am both humbled and honored to have served as a White House intern this summer.”

The White House internship program also provides community service and leadership opportunities for the interns to participate in. Luong and Deveau were able to volunteer at events such as the Congressional Picnic, the Fourth of July event on the South Lawn of the White House, and the first-ever White House Girl Scout Campout.

“You talk about Ut Prosim  (That I may serve) here at Virginia Tech, but you also feel public service running through the blood of everyone at the White House,” said Luong.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Written by Katherine Wells

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