Hudson Western Reserve Academy graduate, Yale University student, interns at the White House

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published:

Hudson -- This summer a graduate of Western Reserve Academy stepped away from his plans to study medicine and instead experienced politics at the White House.

The White House Internship Program selected Hudson native and Yale University student, Peter Suwondo, 20, as one of the participants in its Summer 2014 session from May 27 to Aug. 8, according to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

"Ohio is home to strong schools, families and communities that have helped to equip young Ohioans like Peter with the skills needed to lead," Brown said. "Mr. Suwondo's family and the entire Hudson community should be proud of this driven young man who embodies the integrity and intellectual insight needed to succeed in the White House."

White House interns are exposed to a wide range of work that provides valuable professional experience, Brown said. The mission of the program is to make the White House accessible to future leaders around the nation and to prepare those dedicated to public service for future leadership opportunities.

Suwondo grew up in Hudson, attended Seton Catholic School and graduated from Western Reserve Academy in 2008. He is a junior at Yale University majoring in molecular, cellular and developmental biology.

"I have interests in medicine and public and global health," Suwondo said. "At school I am involved with student groups such as the Yale Public Health Coalition and Yale EMS."

Research is a big component of his major and through a fellowship from Yale College, he served as a student researcher with Dr. Thomas Melia's Lab at the Yale School of Medicine last summer.

"Dr. Melia's lab conducts a range of cell biology research into autophagy, an important part of the cellular response to diseases, ranging from neurodegeneration to cancer," Suwondo said.

Prior to working in the Melia Lab, Suwondo researched emergency department treatment procedures with the Cleveland Clinic as part of its Science Internship Program.

"I hope to pursue a career in medicine and public/global health," Suwondo said. "I have strong interests right now in military medicine as well as health in an international development context. Interning in the White House is especially exciting to me because I believe that the work of health professionals is strongly tied to public service."

Health professionals, whether direct caregivers or policymakers, have a responsibility to be advocates for their patients and promote health nationally and globally, he said.

As a White House intern, Suwondo works in the Office of Presidential Correspondence.

"The office plays a key role in connecting everyday Americans with the President and making their voices heard in our government's policies," Suwondo said. "Our office manages thousands of incoming letters, emails and calls from Americans and sends a sampling to the President. This sampling helps inform the President about the concerns of the American people on a daily basis."

As part of the Writing & Production Team within the Office of Presidential Correspondence, Suwondo helps coordinate with other offices of the White House. Each week, interns attend a speaker series with senior White House staff members and host group discussions to explore specific domestic and foreign policy issues.

"Overall, I think the internship is an exciting opportunity to experience the White House and federal government firsthand and a valuable chance to learn from our nation's leaders," Suwondo said.

As a White House intern, Suwondo said he feels honored and excited to contribute to the work of the Executive Office. "My role in the Office of Presidential Correspondence is especially rewarding because I help Americans establish a personal relationship with the White House and its top officials," Suwondo said. "All of this contributes, I think, towards the larger goal of making sure Americans know they have not only a voice but a vital role to play in their nation's government."

Suwondo is open to the people and their experiences who fulfill the mission of the White House

"I'm happy to be working with people who are so passionate about what they do, and I'm constantly learning from both White House staff and my fellow interns," Suwondo said. "I'm looking forward to meeting a wide range of people this summer and learning from all their perspectives."

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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