UA Student Named White House Intern
Trevor Gervais, a UA political science major, is among 147 undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S. selected to serve in the White House Internship Program.
Trevor Gervais, a University of Arizona political science major who has been involved in the local political scene for years, has been named a White House intern.
One of 147 students in the U.S. selected to serve in the White House Internship Program, Gervais will remain in the position at least through Aug. 9 in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Raised by a father who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and a mother who is a kindergarten teacher in Arizona, Gervais said he learned early and often the importance of service to his community and country, and is committed to such a charge.
"I strongly believe that simply being in this country provides each of us a tremendous opportunity to accomplish great things," Gervais said. "While I am unsure as to what I am specifically interested in doing, I know that I want to be able to look back and know that I did everything possible to give back to the country, which has given me everything."
Gervais joins UA alumni who have been named White House interns in the past, including UA James E. Rogers College of Law alumna Jonay Foster, who was named in 2012, two-time UA alumna Nicole Pasteur, who studied political science and was a 2011 intern, and also 2010 intern Sabrina Vazquez, who earned a UA international studies degree.
"The White House internship is one of the most prestigious experiences. It is something our students compete for and that we encourage them to do," said Chad Westerland, associate director of the School of Government & Public Policy.
"Beyond building your resume, it is such a unique and special opportunity to have, especially for your future work and for networking opportunities," Westerland said. "It allows our students to see and participate in real-world, actual politics. As important as we know our classroom experiences are, there is nothing that can replace that."
Interns are chosen for their demonstrated leadership and commitment to serving the public. During their time at the White House, they work full days in a range of offices, including the offices of Presidential Personnel, the Domestic Policy Council, Cabinet Affairs and Legislative Affairs.
In his position, Gervais is engaged in a range of activities, including supporting office staff members as they engage with elected officials.
"One of the most important things that I have learned is how there truly is a working relationship between the federal government and state governments, regardless of political affiliations," he said.
Gervais took an interest in the program after working as a regional field director on President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.
"The president inspired me to work to improve my community and inspire others to become involved in the process," Gervais said. "After the campaign ended, I knew that I wanted to continue working with communities to advance what I believed in."
Natalie Lucas, who met Gervais just as he was thinking of changing his major from pre-medicine to political science, said she has been impressed with his talent.
Having met in a UA biology class, the two would later do walks for local political candidates and through their involvement with the Young Democrats of Arizona chapter.
"He is very diligent in his work, really excited and very friendly," said Lucas, a first-year master's student in the UA's development practice program and a research assistant for the UA Office of Sustainability.
"He gets excited by the fact that politics have a big impact, and it is something he grew really passionate about," she said. "He is very honest about his work and really believes in it. He has a solid frame and foundation for it."
Shasta McManus, executive director of the Pima County Democratic Party, began working with Gervais through the nonprofit, nonpartisan issue advocacy group Organizing for America, where McManus serves as a regional director.
"I worked alongside Trevor for over a year and in that time I have never seen anyone so dedicated and determined to succeed," McManus said, noting that Gervais would work 15-hour days while balancing schoolwork and family obligations.
"His volunteers adored him and he motivated people to give their all," she said. "He is a leader by every measure of the word."
McManus said she was not surprised to learn that Gervais had earned the Washington, D.C.-based internship.
"I was more surprised that they didn't offer him a job," McManus said.
"Although I know – as many of us that know Trevor well – he never would have accepted it. As much as he loves what he does, his education means so much to him," she said, adding that the internship is a perfect fit for Gervais.
"He is able to continue his work while adding to his education," McManus said. "I am so very proud of him and hope he has an experience of a lifetime."
Are you a UA student interested in applying for the White House Internship Program? Visit the program's website for more information on placement, in the summer, fall or spring. The deadline for the spring 2014 program is Sept. 8, 2013.
Interns work in a range of White House departments, such as: the Office of Presidential Personnel, the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the offices of Cabinet Affairs and Legislative Affairs, the Office of Chief of Staff, the Office of Communications and the offices of the Vice President and the First Lady.
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