Athenian Alum Interns for First Lady’s Social Office at the White House

Athenian Alum is White House Intern


Pantea Faed ’08 serves in the Office of the First Lady.  After learning that Pantea is serving as a White House intern, we posed several questions and her answers are below.

Athenian: Describe a typical day in your work as an intern.
Pantea: Working as an intern in the Office of the First Lady is an honor I cherish every morning I report for work. Catching up on emails and attending staff meetings are a part of the standard intern operation in the mornings. After touching base with supervisors about daily agendas, I, along with two other interns, begin to tackle our team and individual tasks for the day, which include, but are not limited to correspondence, administrative tasks, data management, helping staff and executing events that take place at the White House.

A: What was your first day like?
P: One major realization I took away from my first day as a White House intern was, “Wow, everyone is so extremely kind.” I could tell from my first introductions that it was going to be a very special few months. After attending orientation with the rest of my intern class and learning about the inner workings of our offices and hearing from alum of our program, I was introduced to the staff in my office. Walking into a room of warm and welcoming faces was just another reassurance that I was going to learn, grow, and enjoy the months to come. I was right.

A: What prepared you to be an intern? What skills do you need? What have you learned?
P: Being an intern takes determination, initiative, dedication to service and the collaborative effort of a team. Being able to stay organized and multi-task during this office’s busiest season is critical in supporting the staff over these next few months. I knew being in the First Lady’s Office, particularly the Social Office, would require an adaptive capacity and a sense of creativity to help make great ideas come to life. I came into this position with a strong understanding of these skills, but I have been able to hone in and improve on these components to progress as a member of this team. My time at Athenian and USC were critical in me developing these skills necessary to engage in this work in a productive way. Being a part of such diverse communities and working in leadership positions throughout my life have culminated in this opportunity and I feel extremely grateful.

A: What has been most surprising about your job?
P: The most surprising aspect of my job is how accessible the White House is. It truly is the people’s house. I feel very grateful that every person I have met thus far has been extremely generous, welcoming, and willing to share their own insights with me.

A: What are any detailed anecdotes you can offer?
P: While there are countless events, speakers, and moments throughout my time here that I could point to as “a favorite moment,” I have one that I would like to share. Helping to plan, coordinate, and execute an event for members of Congress was certainly a highlight. Seeing so many public servants in one room, many of whom I admire personally and have studied about since grade school, was a particularly special moment in my time here.

Learn more about the White House Internship Program.