Student Achievement

Our Man in Washington

Julia Fishman

Spencer Hogan ’20 just completed an internship at the White House

May 8, 2019—There’s no denying that Spencer Hogan ’20 is ambitious. A double major in business and economics, he’s also an Honors Program student who has served as an intern at the College’s Hudson River Valley Institute. On top of that, he’s also a Resident Assistant and past president of the Marist College Business Club. But even Hogan, a junior from Middletown, New York, wasn’t sure of his chances at being accepted into the prestigious White House Internship Program when he applied in the summer of 2018.

“I took the process very seriously,” said Hogan. “I was careful in putting together my materials, but the truth is you just don’t know how these things will go.” He credits Colonel Jim Johnson, Executive Director of HRVI (“and the entire HRVI team”) with helping him through the application process.

The effort paid off, and in the fall Hogan received the news: he had been accepted for a spring 2019 internship.

The White House Internship Program’s mission is to “make the ‘People’s House’ accessible to future leaders from around the nation.” White House interns are afforded a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience.

“It was surreal,” said Hogan. “There were times where it was just like any other office—you moved through tasks. But then I’d suddenly remember ‘I’m in the White House’ and that was very humbling.” Hogan said he tried never to take for granted key spots in the iconic location. “On my first day, my supervisor showed me around and suddenly there we were walking out of the West Wing and staring at the Rose Garden. I realized how many key moments in American history have taken place right there; it was kind of amazing.”

The internship was an enormous learning experience. Placed in the Office of American Innovation, Hogan conducted research and assisted with strategy efforts on topics including education opportunity policy and criminal justice reform. Although criminal justice reform was not a subject top of mind for Hogan before the internship, it’s now a newfound passion. “This is a topic of great bipartisan interest,” Hogan explained. “Just having a small role in this Administration’s criminal justice reform efforts is the thing I’m most proud of from my experience as a White House intern.”

Hogan was impressed with the dedication of the officials and staff members he met. “They were all extremely supportive of the interns. I was amazed at how welcoming they were and at their interest in mentoring us.” He also greatly appreciated the weekly speakers’ series for interns, which featured senior officials and members of past administrations. “These events brought all the interns together and gave us an opportunity to learn more and ask questions.”

Now back on campus, Hogan is extremely grateful to many at the College who helped him make the necessary arrangements to allow him to spend the bulk of the semester in Washington, DC. This includes several faculty members and administrators in the School of Management, Professor James Snyder of the Honors Program, and Hogan’s thesis advisor, President Emeritus Dennis Murray.

What’s next for Hogan? “I really want to capitalize on this experience. I’d like to propel myself into a situation where I can use both my finance background and my new interest in developing policy.”

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