University graduates take their Illinois knowledge to DC

University graduates Laura Miller and Rachel Rubin have a lot of similarities. They both grew up in Chicago suburbs; both graduated in May with a degree from the College of Media and each have a minor in Spanish. Now both have made it to the nation’s capital as a part of the White House Internship Program. Miller works in the Office of Digital Strategy and Rubin in the White House Office of Communications.

Miller and Rubin filled out the internship application online just six months ago in April.

“One day after submitting my application, I got home from work late and saw the White House email and my heart just stopped,” Miller said in an email. “I think I initially starting jumping around my kitchen trying to figure out who to call first. If you ask any of my friends they will tell you this was the opportunity that I had been looking for.”

Miller earned her degree in advertising and had internship experience in public relations with local politicians. Miller credits her senior year internship at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs on campus as what really motivated her to continue working in public service.

Rubin has a news-editorial journalism degree and said in an email that her older sister, who lives in the capital, helped nudge her to apply while she was searching for post-graduate opportunities. She described the experience as “unreal” and exciting and said it has helped develop her more than any other experience in her life.

“What won’t I get out it?” Rubin said. “I’m getting the obvious benefits of serving a wonderful administration with an exemplary group of people, but the day-to-day responsibilities keep me on my toes in a ‘somebody pinch me’ sort of way.”

Rubin said she is constantly learning new things in the White House, from public policy to better time management skills. The communications department helps craft the messages President Obama later delivers and creates speeches and videos for the web and newspaper articles in local papers. Rubin has been put to work since starting her position, using her Spanish to assist the Hispanic Media team and assist in some web editing, as well as helping to field inquiries from media outlets around the country.

“The White House is working me very hard in preparation for being successful in any subsequent workplace and is a perfect start to any long term commitment to public service,” Rubin said.

Miller’s position works with the analytics and content team, and has worked on blog posts, gathering analytical data and assisting the productions for some of the events the White House hosts. She said her expectations have already been exceeded.

“I have made so many great connections with not only my fellow interns from all over the country, but also the amazing White House staffers that I work with,” Miller said. “I feel very lucky to be at the White House during this administration with such hardworking and passionate people who are dedicated to public service.”

The girls now work across the hall from each other and are adjusting to living in D.C, a task easier for Rubin since she has family in town. Miller said that Washington is certainly different from Chicago, but so far she loves it.

“There are so many amazing sites to see with so much history — you never run out of things to do,” Miller said.

Rubin studied abroad during her college career, so moving to D.C. wasn’t much of a shock. Being in Washington, D.C., also allowed Rubin to witness her sister give birth to her new nephew. The mix of family and a great work environment makes the capital an ideal place to be for both girls.

“Everyone is so career-oriented and motivated, and I think it’s a good environment for someone like me who is new in the working world,” Rubin said.