When Chris Brewer ’13 interned for Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) last summer, he knew it would be a great opportunity; one that would be very helpful in his goal of pursuing a career in public service.
Little did he realize, however, the stint in the senator’s office would lead him directly to the top, with an internship at the White House.
For approximately four months, Brewer assisted the Visitor’s Office staff with planning and executing White House tours and special events. Typical projects included fall garden tours and holiday open houses in December.
The majority of his duties were not unlike the kinds of tasks performed by public relations professionals anywhere — including the same kind of long hours. Brewer managed volunteers, communicated with Congressional offices regarding tours and events, and coordinated with other offices within the White House to make things happen as smoothly as possible.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t at liberty to go into the specifics of his internship, due to White House policy.
With so much going on, one of the challenges Brewer faced was handling multiple assignments at any given time, often ones that were completely foreign to him. Learning time management skills quickly became a priority.
“I think I was able to learn and grow from being given projects at times (where) I didn’t have a clue how to begin,” he said. “(I had to learn) how to deal with the fear or hesitation at attempting something without the confidence of knowing I was doing it the best way.
“I like to think that by the end I got to a place where I could say, ‘Alright, I have no idea if this is going to work, but I have to try something, so here goes.’”
While Brewer noted the highly-competitive internship experience would stay with him for as long as his career in public service lasts, he readily admitted the biggest rewards were the friendships made on the job.
“Everyone from my fellow interns on up to the senior most staffer in my office had such an incredible story, and getting to know them was a real privilege. I really feel like I met some people who I’ll keep in touch with for several years to come.”
Brewer has remained in the Washington area, working in public service on Capitol Hill. He credited his alma mater for giving him a passion for the field.
“There’s no better motivation to work hard than the desire to help other people,” said Brewer. “I’m grateful to Hanover for helping (to) show me that.
Published Wednesday, January 15, 2014