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ODU Business Student Grateful for Opportunity to Serve as White House Intern

Nathaniel Brown

Old Dominion University business administration major Nathaniel Brown has had a "pinch me" experience just about every day this semester.

The Virginia Beach naval veteran and ODU senior was one of about 100 students from across the country selected to be part of the White House unpaid internship program, working in a variety of capacities with White House outreach. He's been on the job since January.

"I think it was about a week before the internship started when I was looking at the White House from outside the fence beyond the South Lawn," said Brown, a 29-year-old married father with a 3-year-old son.

"Two weeks later I was staring at that very spot, only this time I was standing on the South Lawn.

"I get butterflies every time I go into the White House complex. Every day that I come to work I have to pinch myself. I feel so fortunate to have been selected for such an esteemed program, but the fact that I get to help people and serve the American public in this way is the best part of this program."

Brown was actually sitting in a management class at ODU when he received the email notifying him of his selection to the internship program.

"I was elated! I wanted to jump out of my seat and high-five everyone in my class," Brown said.

On a typical day - which he says simply doesn't happen for him at the White House - Brown works in the Presidential Correspondence Office, writing official correspondence on behalf of President Obama.

"There are things happening constantly, so interns as well as staff must be ready to adjust at any moment," Brown said. "There are office requirements that must be met, intern projects that we are encouraged to undertake, as well as volunteer and community projects that we participate in. I enjoy the fast pace and that every day brings something new."

His favorite day so far was when he escorted a wounded service member and his family on a tour of the White House's East Wing.

"As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, I knew that this would be a truly unique experience for the family. They had never been to the White House and had never met a U.S. president before. On this day they did both. It was an honor to share that moment with them," Brown said.

After he finishes his undergraduate degree at ODU, Brown hopes to pursue an M.B.A and continue working in public service, either in the military or civil service.

"I am going to take a lot of memories away from this experience," Brown said of his White House internship. "I think the relationships that I have built are going to last a lifetime. I have met some of the brightest and most interesting people since being here."