Ms. McClure Goes to Washington

Alyssa McClure

In her final term at Evergreen, Alyssa McClure ’12 landed a plum public service training opportunity: she was accepted into the prestigious White House Internship Program.

As Evergreen’s first White House intern, McClure worked for the Office of the First Lady, where she pitched in on a number of initiatives, including helping to advance two of Michelle Obama’s signature causes—fighting childhood obesity and supporting military families. McClure described the First Lady as “incredibly gracious, real and hilarious,” and the president’s staff as hard working and earnest. “No one took being in the White House for granted.”

The full-time internship, which for McClure involved working in the East Wing 10 to 14 hours a day, also required participants to do community service projects and attend weekly meetings to discuss policy issues and meet senior staffers. McClure managed to squeeze in time to volunteer for D.C.’s Capital Area Food Bank several times a month.

McClure was one of 165 students selected for the spring 2012 program—out of more than 5,000 applicants. According to the White House, the internship “is designed to mentor and cultivate today’s young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office and prepare them for future public service opportunities.”

No stranger to politics, the Vancouver, Washington, native first got her feet wet as an S&A board member for Evergreen’s Student Activities during her sophomore year. The following year, she served as a Washington State Legislative Intern for Senator Rosemary McAuliffe (D-Bothell) during the 2011 special session.

Still, McClure said she was overwhelmed by her “incredible learning experience” at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, which she found both exciting and humbling.

When she returned home after her intense four-month stint, McClure says she told herself, “No more politics. Then, after about two weeks, I thought, ‘This is kind of boring.’” She quickly jumped into “canvassing, phone banking, doorbelling and doing whatever else is needed” for a senate campaign in the 49th District (Vancouver).

Will McClure ever come back to Olympia to join the state’s legislative ranks? With the 2013 session approaching, she’s already putting out feelers. “I’m crossing my fingers,” she says.