By Jo E. Prout
ALTAMONT — Altamont native Michael Diakiwski, a student at Georgetown University Law Center, will complete his five-month internship at the White House this month.
“I was very excited to be accepted into the White House Internship Program,” Diakiwski said via the White House office of communications. “I was most interested in serving in this program because of the unparalleled leadership and public service experience that it provides. The opportunity to observe and learn from leaders at the top of their fields has been both rewarding and illuminating.”
Diakiwski said that, before becoming an intern, he had planned on a private practice in New York when he finishes his law degree next year.
“This experience has granted me the opportunity to see many career paths in a variety of backgrounds,” he said. “I am still planning on starting my legal career in New York, but I am now far more open to public and government service, locally and nationally, later down the road. The internship has not necessarily altered my plans for the future, but it has certainly enhanced my overall vision and widened my perspectives on what is possible.”
The unpaid internship is open to current and recent undergraduate or graduate students; high school scholar graduates in Washington, D.C.; and veterans with a high school equivalent who have served some active duty within the previous two years, according to the White House’s website. Interns for the highly competitive program must demonstrate a commitment to public service, demonstrated community service, and commitment to the administration’s goals.
Interns attend a weekly speaker series, send memos, conduct research, explore policy issues with staff and on field trips, and participate in local service events for schools or not-for-profit organizations.
“For me, some of the more exciting speakers were Jay Carney, assistant to the president and press secretary; and Kathy Ruemmler, assistant to the president and counsel to the president,” Diakiwski said. The interns also heard from President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice-President Joseph Biden.
“During the Fall, I volunteered at the regional food bank, a clothing center for the less fortunate called Martha’s Outfitters, and a food bank called So Others Might Eat. In addition to this, I served as chair of the Georgetown Law Pro Bono Board, which works to build opportunities for students to connect with people through legal service. Our goal is to inspire students to make legal service a continuing part of their future legal careers,” Diakiwski said.
He began his internship in September and will finish it this month.
“I am an intern with the Presidential Personnel Office, which assists the president with political appointments across the federal government. PPO is made up of an extremely diverse and talented group with agency teams that specialize in different sectors of the government,” Diakiwski said. “I work to serve potential appointees by providing them with information on the presidential appointment process. What amazed me most was the ability to collaborate and the drive to serve and create a widely representative government.”
The internship has reinforced Diakiwski’s interest in public service, he said.
“It has strengthened my belief that service is exceedingly important, at both the local community and broader national levels,” he said. “I’ve learned, and am continuing to learn, that, if one wants to make a difference, they must first become and embody that difference.”