The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes from the Field: Marie Plecha '16

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Rockefeller Center-funded interns reflect on their experiences as part of our Notes from the Field series. The Rockefeller Center helps students find, fund, and prepare for a leave-term internship experience in public policy research, public policy analysis, issue evaluation, or activities which help shape and determine public policy.

Student Intern: Marie Plecha '16

Internship Organization:
White House: Office of Scheduling and Advance

How would you describe your employer, their mission, or what they do in one brief paragraph?
The White House Office of Scheduling and Advance coordinates the travel itineraries for President Obama and the White House Press Corps as well as the planning and preparation that go into supporting the President at events around the country and the world. The office reviews and considers all scheduling requests and invitations sent to the President. The office also prepares the President’s schedule and works to prepare a successful presidential visit when he travels.

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
As an intern, I contribute to the coordination of presidential travel, the execution of events, and the review and consideration of scheduling invitations addressed to President Obama. I create slates and photo recaps for presidential trips and in-town events. I have also served on the advance team for the President’s appearance at the Congressional Black Caucus Awards dinner in Washington, D.C.

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
While the amount of new people and information was slightly overwhelming, I was extremely excited to start my internship. The notion that I would be spending the next few months at the White House felt very surreal, and it still does!

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
My favorite part of the internship has been my office’s collaborative, team-based environment. My office’s layout allows me to interact easily and frequently with my colleagues, which has allowed for a more meaningful and enjoyable experience.

What challenges have you faced so far?
There was a bit of a learning curve in adapting to how the office performs its various tasks and responsibilities. I responded to this challenge by asking my supervisor and colleagues a lot of questions and by not hesitating to ask for help.

Marie Plecha '16 in front of Air Force One

Broadly speaking, what do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
I hope to improve my communication and professional skills, which I will be able to apply to future internships, jobs, and campus involvements. I also hope to establish meaningful networking connections in Washington, DC.

What have been some practical lessons you've learned in the day-to-day life of your internship?
Taxis and services like Uber can add up quickly, so using public transportation like the Metro as much as possible can save a lot of money. Buying a SmarTrip card and setting up an auto reload online makes taking the Metro much easier.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences