Alumni Spotlight: White House Internship
Brenda McKinney (JD ’13)
INTERN, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL
Q. What do you enjoy most about your internship with the Office of the White House Counsel?
A. Just working at the White House itself is an honor. Working in this office, in particular, has been a great opportunity to use the skills I gained in law school, engage with attorneys with a range of experiences and backgrounds and, in line with that, to learn more about professional options or different paths in the legal and policy fields.
Q. What is the most challenging aspect of your internship?
A. Probably having too many cool, interesting events to go to; there is not enough time! The work I am assigned is oftentimes challenging, but I haven’t handled a project (big or small) I did not enjoy and there is always support if I have questions or need guidance.
Q. In what ways has your legal education at Loyola prepared you for your internship?
A. My legal education applied directly to my current role as I work with attorneys on legal matters. The work can range from writing a memo or factsheet to summarizing a case. In addition to my coursework, though, I am also very glad I took Administrative Law with Professor Diane Geraghty and I am especially grateful for my time in clinics at Loyola, both a direct representation and especially the Legislation Clinic taught by Professor Anita Weinberg. I think the “learning curve” of understanding how different agencies and branches of government interact— let alone what is going on in this city—would have been more difficult without those introductions. Finally, I found that the supportive community at Loyola, where many people are dedicated to the Jesuit mission of “service to others,” also encouraged me to take time to volunteer and give back.
Q. Where is your office located (are you actually in the White House?)
A. It’s on the White House complex.
Q. Who is the most interesting or helpful person you have met on the job?
A. To be honest, this is a difficult question to answer; everyone I’ve met here is brilliant, hardworking, passionate, dedicated and has an interesting history. The interns in my office are all in law school or recent law graduates. We have regular, hour-long “Fireside Chats” with each attorney in our office. I’ve gained a lot of useful career advice from these interactions.
Q. Have you met President Obama?
A. Not yet. I had the honor of observing a moment of silence on September 11 with White House staff on the South Lawn. The President, First Lady, and Second Family led that service.
Q. Where can a law student learn more about the application process?
A. Visit the White House Internship website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/internships.