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Website design by IU Southeast fine arts student, Aaron Hooper.

During the fall 2014 semester, she

found a listing for an internship

at the White House for the spring

2015 semester through the Career

Development Center’s CareerLink.

CareerLink periodically sends out

emails with available internship, work-

study and job opportunities.

After deciding she was interested in

the White House internship, Fitchett

consulted Danielle Leffler, internship

coordinator in the Career Development

Center. Fitchett said Leffler was her

“backbone” because she helped her

apply for the internship.

After applying for the internship,

Fitchett became involved in a strict

selection process. She underwent an

FBI background check and three phone

interviews with White House staff.

Two weeks later, in late November

2014, Fitchett got the news — that she

had been accepted.

“I cried when I got the acceptance

letter,” Fitchett said. “I had no idea

what to do with myself.”

Fitchett had no previous internship

experience, but she was selected over

a student from Brown University – an

Ivy League school – who had completed

five internships.

During the week of New Year’s Day this

year, Fitchett moved to Washington,

D.C. to start the internship. Here, she

lived in a house with 11 other people

who were House and Senate interns,

and she had one roommate. The house

was located in the heart of the city.

“If you threw a baseball at the Capitol,

you’d hit it...not that that’s a good idea!”

Fitchett said.

During the internship period, Fitchett

had numerous responsibilities and

worked in multiple departments. She

worked in the Eisenhower Executive

Office Building on the White House

grounds.

Fitchett began her internship in the

Correspondence Office of the First

Lady. She worked there for three

months with four interns and several

volunteers.

In the Correspondence Office, Fitchett

helped take care of the first lady’s snail

mail and email. The volunteers sorted,

organized and scanned mail. Fitchett

was in charge of printing.

An average of 1,000 pieces of

correspondence on behalf of Michelle

Obama were sent each week, Fitchett

said.

Fitchett also said the first lady

receives several letters each week

from kids and successful veterans,

and she handwrites three responses

a week. Fitchett was in charge of

recommending which letters should

receive a response.

During the fourth month of her

internship, Fitchett switched to the

Let’s Move team and became the small

team’s only intern.

The Let’s Move program is an initiative

created by Michelle Obama in 2010,

and its goal is to lessen the prevalence

of childhood obesity. The program

has provided parents with helpful

information and provided healthier

food choices in schools. It also helps

children develop active lifestyles, and it

helps families gain access to food that is

healthy and affordable.

Fitchett said she was able to switch to

the Let’s Move team because she was

excelling on the correspondence team,

and she was given the opportunity to

take on more responsibility.

While on the Let’s Move team, Fitchett

helped organize a garden planting

event that Michelle Obama attended,

surrounded by media.

Fitchett also helped manage

the calendar and events for Deb

Eschmeyer, executive director of Let’s

Move.

“People think Let’s Move is a huge

team of people, but it’s really just three

IU Southeast

Summer/Fall 2015 15

Olivia Fitchett.