Press - 02/12/2014

Meet Nick Gulino


It’s not every 21-year-old who gets to spend a few months working at the White House. But MiraCosta College graduate Nick Gulino, who is now studying rhetoric at UC Berkeley, recently returned to California after spending the fall semester as an intern working in the Volunteer Department of the Office of Presidential Correspondence.

Raised in Encinitas and a product of Sunset Continuation High School, Gulino primarily attended MiraCosta College’s San Elijo Campus before earning his associate of arts degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in humanities. His career goals are to work in public service and help improve his community.

We asked Gulino a few questions about his experiences in the nation’s capital and his thoughts on a few related matters.

1) What were your expectations of the internship when you got to D.C., and have they been met?

I applied to the White House internship because I wanted to serve my country and learn about the government. My expectations were exceeded on both accounts. The experience was incredibly rewarding and I was privileged enough to meet some of the most inspiring, competent people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

2) Any disappointments?

That it ended.

3) Most challenging thing about life in D.C.?

The weather. One thing they don’t tell you in the brochure is D.C. is a swamp. I’m a San Diego kid born and raised and when I got there it was hot and humid and when I left it was snowing. Professionally, it was challenging being a full-time student and working full-time, but being around such inspiring people made the work come easy and everyone at work and school was understanding of the rigors of my and the other students’ schedules. It was a lot to balance, but tremendously fulfilling.

4) Can you tell us how you secured the internship and what it entailed?

The White House internship has three terms, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Interns are from all over and varied backgrounds. There are several departments within the White House that one can intern in and community college students are eligible. 

I kind of stumbled into the internship. I accidentally applied to the fall term for a Department of State internship thinking the application was for summer. I then found out the UC system has a program whereby students can intern and study in D.C. for a semester, and I had the room in my schedule to study in D.C., so I decided to apply. While researching the Department of State internship I found the White House’s intern program and looked at the website. I just made the application deadline and they ended up interviewing me and accepting me into the program.

5) Did you met the president, First Lady or their daughters?

I did meet the President and the First Lady. Both the President and the First Lady spoke to the intern class and did a question-and-answer session. The experience was amazing. The President is an incredible orator and manages to combine erudition with compassion. The First Lady was both charming and candid. Hearing both speak about their lives and experiences was fascinating and inspiring. 

6) Most memorable moment?

Shaking the President’s hand. 

7) How did MiraCosta College impact your life?

I enjoyed going to MiraCosta. I met some really great people who I stay in touch with to this day and I learned a lot. My biggest influences at MiraCosta were student government and a few professors I was lucky enough to have. Student government was the first time I participated in group service work. Everything I had done up to that point had been organized and executed individually. Student government taught me to operate effectively in a system with a whole lot of moving parts. It was an incredible learning experience that allowed me to work with a group of genuine, committed individuals to solve problems beyond the scope of any one of us. Learning how to effectively accomplish goals, the subtleties of parliamentary procedure, and sitting on and chairing committees taught me a tremendous amount about how government works and gave me an understanding of how politics functions. As for persons who influenced me, my advisor in ASG, Nikki Schaper, was tremendously supportive and knowledgeable. Of the professors, first and foremost Tony Burman was a huge influence on me during my time at MiraCosta. The man should be canonized for how passionate, dedicated, and talented he is as an educator. He was and is a seriously pivotal individual in my intellectual development. Also, Jim Sullivan brings more passion to his work than anybody I’ve ever met and I credit Bob Turner with introducing me to the wonderful world of foreign policy, while improving my writing to boot. 

MiraCosta impacted my life in more ways than I can count. A lot of people invested a lot of time and resources in me and I would not be where I am today without them. I am incredibly grateful places like MiraCosta exist and are giving people like me the opportunity to succeed. 

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