people, Deb and an intern,” Fitchett
In addition to working in the
Correspondence Office and the Let’s
Move team, Fitchett had some other
responsibilities during her time in D.C.
For example, she was part of the Japan
State arrival at the White House, when
the heads of the Japanese government
came to the capital.
During the Japan State arrival, Fitchett
did VIP check-in and saw the entire
“It’s cool if you’re from Japan, but I
didn’t know who any of the VIPs were,”
Her favorite memory of the internship
was meeting Michelle Obama. Fitchett
shook Obama’s hand and had a photo
made with her (the photo cannot be
shared due to White House policy).
“I’ll never forget, she told me, ‘Wow!
You’ve really got your hands full. It’s
nice to meet you,’” Fitchett said.
Fitchett was also able to listen to
President Barack Obama and Vice
President Joe Biden speak. She said
Biden’s easygoing demeanor was a
contrast to the pressure of the White
“It’s the White House,” Fitchett said.
“Perfection is nothing short of what’s
expected. There’s no room for error, or
it reflects on the entire first family.”
Fitchett said it was important to be
detail-oriented during the internship.
For example, one of her neighbors got
in trouble for leaving out a semicolon.
As a result of the pressure, Fitchett said
the White House could be a busy, high-
stress environment at times, especially
when the first family was in town.
Visitors to the White House during
her internship included hip-hop artist
Kendrick Lamar, Bill Nye, the Iowa
State football team and the 2014
Teacher of the Year.
“It was a crazy experience,” Fitchett
The White House internship taught
Fitchett that everyone – including
herself – can do anything they put their
“You can do whatever you want,”
Fitchett said. “You can’t set boundaries
for yourself. You do that, and you’re
setting yourself up for loss. You don’t
know how capable or competitive you
are - or the skills you have - until they
are tested. You can’t compare yourself
to others - what school you went to,
Since her internship, Fitchett has been
staying busy. She was recently selected
as a traveling leadership consultant for
Sigma Kappa, her sorority.
This selection process was also very
competitive: Out of hundreds of
applications, only 17 women were
Fitchett was assigned to a region,
and she will travel to chapters within
that region to advise them, help with
recruitment and complete other
tasks. She will begin a 1 1/2 year
contract in this position full-time after
she graduates from IU Southeast in
Fitchett said her dream is to work as a
motivational speaker. She wants to be
an example to others through her faith
by helping people turn their situations
around, while recognizing that God can
turn them into something beautiful.
Additionally, Fitchett said she
wants to go to graduate school for
communications. She said she has not
selected a school yet, but she is open to
moving, traveling or both while young.
Fitchett advises IU Southeast students
to take risks and try new things,
“The culture at IUS is grounded here,”
Fitchett said. “But that shouldn’t
prevent you from doing something
incredible with your 20s. Be your own
advocate. You never know until
Olivia Fitchett, left center, poses with the other first lady interns in front of the East Wing of the White House.