Winter 2010: Register

Dorsainvil outside the White House

Capitol credentials: Monique Dorsainvil 09C outside the White House.

Courtesy Monique Dorsainvil

The East Wing

Alumna Monique Dorsainvil interns in the White House Office of the First Lady

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By Mallory Goldberg 10C

For most of us, walking through the White House is a memorable sightseeing experience; for Monique Dorsainvil 09C, it’s a daily event. As one of seven interns selected to work in the Office of the First Lady, Dorsainvil is spending three months learning and observing national politics in the footsteps of Michelle Obama.

“Meeting Mrs. Obama was just thrilling,” Dorsainvil says. “She is so warm and personable and really goes out of her way to make you feel comfortable and safe when you are around her.”

As a women’s studies major with a minor in global health, Dorsainvil explored the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality, and their inherent relation to legal and political decisions. “That sparked my interest in government and lawmaking,” she says. “I was eager to learn about the way in which the law can work to protect vulnerable groups as opposed to contributing to their vulnerability.”

Dorsainvil began her political career as a legislative aide for Georgia Representative Stacey Abrams through the nonprofit organization the White House Project, which trains women to run for political office and links college women with internships in the political, communications, and business spheres. Dorsainvil says that experience opened her mind to the intricacies of legislative decision making and the role of elected officials as public servants.

Since the national internship began in early September, Dorsainvil has been immersed in the workings of Washington. The East Wing of the White House serves as office space for the First Lady, and Dorsainvil has attended meetings with top East Wing staff and contributed to work Michelle Obama has spearheaded—including mentoring initiatives with local high school girls.

“It’s thrilling to live in the center of policymaking and go to work every day in the same space where some of the nation’s most influential thinkers make decisions that echo across the globe,” Dorsainvil says.

Dorsainvil adds that Michelle Obama is a “passionate, intelligent, and fearless role model.”

“Powerful women in politics change the conversations that are happening on all levels of government,” she says. “A completely different conversation occurs around health care, energy, and war when different stakeholders are at the table.”

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