After completing internships for Jeff Fortenberry, Ben Nelson and the UNL Public Policy Center, Mark Batt has reached the pinnacle of public-service internships – at the White House.
Batt, a junior political science major, is interning this semester in the Office of Presidential Correspondence, where he is processing correspondence and working on the White House Comment Line. He has been living in Washington since September and will work in the nation’s capital until December.
Batt, who is from Utica, Neb., said his experience in public and community service service led him to apply for the White House Internship Program, which makes selections based on a student’s commitment to public service, leadership and a commitment to mission of the Obama administration.
“I have spent time volunteering in my community and on campus and have come to understand — through the help of past supervisors and colleagues — that public service is vital to any government and the success of any community,” Batt said in an email. “I also participate in community-based groups on campus at UNL such as the UNL Young Democrats and the Campus UNICEF Initiative.”
While interning in the White House, Batt is also completing online courses to stay on track with his coursework. He said the process of taking online courses while working full-time is complicated, but he praised his UNL professors and advisers for helping him and lending support.
Having been on the ground in the White House for more than a month, Batt said the internship is cultivating future goals and furthering his resolve to pursue a career in public service.
“I hope to gain an experience I can take back to a career in public service in Nebraska,” he said. “I feel very lucky to have been chosen for this internship and I hope to gain a great deal of knowledge from my fellow interns and supervisors to be able to help my community more in the long run.”
Batt said he applied multiple times, sending in the requisite two essays, two letters of recommendation and a resume before being selected for the program, which selects a handful of students from around the country three times a year. But he knew if accepted, it would be a cornerstone for any career he pursued.
The selection process is highly competitive, but Batt said any student would benefit from serving.
“I encourage any student to apply,” he said. “It’s an amazing opportunity and an unforgettable experience.”