8/21/2014 12:20:52 AM

Siena Sophomore Interns at White House

Friday, April 11, 2014

You never know when you’ll be inspired. For Kaitlyn Krolik ’16, inspiration came in the downtime between her freshman final exams. The political science major began watching the NBC political drama “The West Wing” and noticed that, at least in the show, there were interns at the White House.

“I would have never guessed that such an influential place would have interns, but I looked it up and it was true,” Krolik said.

She applied and landed a spot in the White House Internship Program. The Siena College sophomore has spent the semester working in the Office of Presidential Correspondence where she’s learning about life in the fast-paced world of government and politics. Krolik connects the people to President Obama, ensuring that he hears their feedback and, in turn, they understand his policies and positions.

“We manage his letters, emails, calls and requests from the public and respond accordingly,” Krolik said. “I find it really interesting because I have gained a greater understanding for what the American public is really concerned about and thankful for.”

Krolik said interning at the White House has its perks. She never knows what influential people she might pass in the hallway. Krolik has also been able to volunteer at special White House events and had the opportunity to hear senior staffers share their stories during a special speaker series.

“It humanizes the staffers, which has shown me how possible it is for any hardworking individual to achieve any dream they have,” Krolik said, adding that the speaker series is her favorite part of the internship.

Krolik has also learned that the people working at the White House are different from many of their on-camera counterparts in “The West Wing.”

“I had idealized these individuals, but they are more accessible to me than I had assumed,” Krolik said. “Everyone that I have met or had the pleasure of listening to have been completely dedicated, extraordinarily smart, and genuinely happy people. It has been so nice to work in an atmosphere where everyone is there with the same goal: making the country a better place.”

Her commitment to service and volunteering began at Siena and now continues in the nation’s capital. “Siena College promotes learning outside of the classroom through social activities, internships, and research. I have taken advantage of all of these, which really has helped me get to where I am,” Krolik said.

While she’s not sure exactly what career path she wants to pursue, Krolik is developing skills she’ll put to good use in the future. Now, through her internship, she’s also developing a network of contacts she’ll keep for years to come.

“I absolutely love being surrounded by people so intellectual and dedicated like the interns I work with. I believe that the intern network we are making right now will benefit us all a lot in the future,” Krolik said. “There are a few interns that I am positive will make it big in the political world, which will be really cool when that happens.”

In the meantime, Krolik hopes to meet the current Commander-In-Chief and Vice President Biden. She is also enjoying life in Washington, D.C. where she’s been able to explore monuments, museums and even local coffee shops.

Still, it’s her work in the Office of Presidential Correspondence that has benefitted Krolik the most. Her internship has helped her grow both personally and professionally, all while making a difference for people across the country.

“I have always felt indebted to my community and have looked for ways to serve it,” Krolik said. “This is one of the ultimate ways to serve my country and help better my community.” For Krolik, that experience is better than the script of any political drama Hollywood could come up with.
 

Photo Courtesy of Kaitlyn Krolik '16


Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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