Congratulations to the 2013 White House summer interns, emerging victorious from a rigorous application process involving the submission of a résumé, letters of recommendation, and, ideally, being related to a former member of the president's cabinet.
This is an exaggeration, of course. Of the 148 interns selected (full list here), only one is the child of a former cabinet member. As the Washington Post noted, that lucky intern is Harry Summers, son of Larry Summers, who will spend his merry summer patrolling the same halls his father once did. (It's not clear if Harry Summers would have been as successful had he been born female.)
All of the other 147 interns got there without knowing anyone special. Except the sons of staffers for Vice President Joe Biden and President Bill Clinton. And the children of megadonors Steven Rattner and Timothy Broas. And the son of the owner of the Nationals and the son of a major contributor to disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Everyone else though, probably totally got in through grit and hustle. (Two interns have parents on city councils in Atlanta and Concord, Mass., but that probably didn't do a whole lot.)
So, fine, only nine of the 148 have been connected to people of influence. Still a larger percentage than the population at large, probably, but not completely unacceptable. If you really want to know the keys to getting into the White House internship program, here they are:
Be from New York
The Empire State is the home of 13 percent of the interns. In third place, behind California—Maryland, perhaps suggesting more subtle forms of influence playing a role.
Or: Be from the Boston-New York-D.C. Corridor
All New Yorkers / Marylanders are not created equal. If you live within short driving distance of the Acela, the White House internship program is for you.
Go to a fancy Ivy League school
One-fifth of all of the interns went to fancy-schmancy Ivy League schools. That's the blue slice at right. (Of those 40 interns, nearly a third went to uber-schmancy Harvard.)
The second most common college conference for interns? The Big Ten, represented by the red slice. The plurality of them went to Michigan. (None went to Ohio State, for those keeping score.)
Have a last name that starts with C, M, or S
Nearly a third of all the interns have last names that start with one of those three letters. How this influences the White House staffers making these decisions is unclear, but it does.
So in summary: Your best bet is to be from the Acela corridor, an Ivy Leaguer, with a last name starting with those letters. If you only have two of the three, like young Harry Summers, attendee of Bowdoin College, see if maybe your father's work history might help.
Photo: An intern that broke all the rules. (AP)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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