By Jayla Moody
MACON – Mercer University senior Alexandra Kirschbaum, a political science and German double-major from Macon, was selected as one of 128 White House summer interns for 2018.
Kirschbaum served as a finance intern in the White House Office of Management and Administration, an opportunity she described as one of the best in her life.
“A lot of my efforts focused on the budget of the White House,” Kirschbaum said. “I had a variety of both short- and long-term projects over the course of the summer that all pertained to the budget.”
Kirschbaum prepared spreadsheets and worked with calculations for the weekly budget.
While interns’ responsibilities and tasks varied by department, they all came together for weekly events, including a speaker series and professional development opportunities.
“With a White House internship on her resume, Alexandra will be able to open doors to postgraduate studies and career paths few students can pursue,” said Dr. Chris Grant, professor and chair of political science. “She has always worked hard and even used adversity in certain circumstances to push herself forward to new goals.”
Kirschbaum served as Mercer’s Student Government Association (SGA) Class of 2019 president for three years, allotting student funds to different organizations. This experience gave her some of the financial background she needed for her internship.
“Alex has distinguished herself as a strong student engaged in the academic activities of the Political Science Department as well as campus life, including SGA where she has waged successful campaigns for several offices,” Dr. Grant said.
On campus, Kirschbaum is active in a number of different organizations. She is the chair for Mobilize Mercer, a student-led non-partisan voting initiative that raises awareness on voter registration, a justice on the Honor Council and a member of the Mercer Pre-Law Society. She was also named as the College of Liberal Arts Student of the Year for the 2017-2018 academic year.
After graduation next May, she plans to attend law school. She has spent the past three summers interning at Childers & McCain LLC, a personal injury law firm in Macon.
“Even though I was in the finance department this summer, my supervisors still knew I had an interest in law,” Kirschbaum said. “They connected me with different attorneys within the White House Counsel’s office.”
While law is Kirschbaum’s primary career interest, she also wants to learn more about the government sector.
“I definitely enjoyed my time at the White House, and I appreciate how much the internship program incorporates your interests into your internship,” said Kirschbaum, who had the opportunity to attend meetings with attorneys and handle and edit legal documentation. “My broader experience will be valuable as I transition from undergrad into law school.”
The White House Internship Program allows selected students to participate in a public service leadership program that provides a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and build leadership skills. The program is designed to mentor and cultivate leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office and prepare them for future public service opportunities.