White House Staff: Andrew Coy and Megan Smith
After sitting through an amazing but lengthy interview with Congressman Sam Farr, the group was ready for a break before our next two interviews. We were planning to head back to the Pilgrimage for lunch and rest up before interviewing Kakenya Ntaiya and Alyse Nelson from Vital Voices. But thanks to Ward’s connections and determination to make sure we got the most out of our time here, no such break was to be had. When Ward informed us that we had just received another interview with Andrew Coy, Senior Advisor at the White House, in about a half an hour, we made a mad dash to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, stopping shortly at a food vendor to pick up some chips as lunch.
When we finally got into the room and set up, Andrew Coy came in and surprised us by bringing in Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer to the president, and later his co-worker and assistant who will be graduating college on Thursday. I was honestly a little star struck to be talking with them. They talked a lot about systems of student evaluation, and the integration of technology into education. One thing they said that struck me was when we went around the circle and told them our names, grades, and subject of interest. I, slightly embarrassed, said that I didn’t know what I was interested in, and they all smiled and discussed how there was no reason to be afraid of living in uncertainty. If you don’t know what to do, it is going to be okay.
Overall the experience of meeting executive branch public service workers was a once in a lifetime experience that I never expected to happen to me. Even though by the end of the interview we were all very tired, hungry and on edge, I think that as we left the building the whole group felt that it was worth it. Especially as we were walking out and we all took in the incredibility of the Eisenhower Building. Then we saw the White House, and Ward told us that we wouldn’t be able to get a closer view of it unless we were heading inside. It was a unique experience that I will always cherish and be grateful for.