While most WVU students were attending classes during the Spring 2019 semester, Jeevan Murthy was walking the halls of the White House.
The School of Public Health junior from Charleston, W.Va., joined a group of other young leaders from across the United States to participate in the highly competitive White House Internship Program.
“I knew that I wanted to do an internship in D.C., so I did my research,” said Murthy. “Ever since the 2016 election cycle, I have been very interested in politics and the political process. Even though my goal is to become a physician, I want to eventually run for public office, and I wanted to gain experience in the public sector.”
The nonpartisan public service leadership program allows participants to gain valuable experience and build leadership skills through hands-on opportunities. Interns attend weekly events together, but their day-to-day responsibilities vary based on their appointment. Opportunities exist in more than 20 departments, including the Domestic Policy Council, White House Visitors Office, Office of White House Communications and Office of Political Affairs.
“I was able to get a glimpse into the issues that the American people truly care about, straight from their voices.”
- Jeevan Murthy
Murthy’s appointment in the Office of Presidential Correspondence included projects such as data entry, mail analysis and citizen interaction via the White House Comment Line. Through his assignments, he gained a new perspective on issues from the citizens’ stories. Murthy says he will be able to apply that knowledge in the classroom.
“I was able to get a glimpse into the issues that the American people truly care about, straight from their voices,” said Murthy. “I especially enjoyed reading mail regarding issues in health, including the Affordable Care Act, veterans’ healthcare and the opioid crisis. I came out with a widened view of how these issues affect the American people on a daily basis.”
Murthy was first introduced to public health in Boy Scouts, earning a merit badge on the subject. With the goal of becoming a physician – and eventually the U.S. Surgeon General – he says the badge taught him that there is more to healthcare than treating patients.
“There are many factors that go into health, and I wanted to study public health in order to be a more aware, well-rounded physician in the future,” said Murthy.
It’s his passion for helping people that made the White House internship such an enjoyable experience.
“The most rewarding part of the internship was the people,” said Murthy. “This internship was much more than experience in the executive branch. I came out with hope that my generation of leaders will have the capacity to communicate, make compromise and affect the American people in a positive way.”
CONTACT: Jessica Wilmoth
WVU School of Public Health