Way to Washington
Gloria Nlewedim ’17 lives her dream with help from the Tom Anstrom ’04 Internship Fund.Candidates for White House internships receive no advance warning about when to expect their phone interviews—the call can come on any day, at any time. For Gloria Nlewedim ’17, that time came just as she was about to go on stage for a Warner Hall eating house event. Nlewedim, who is the organization’s service chair, stood in the hallway of Chambers Building doing her best to convince the interviewers to make her dream come true.
“I started my application during the fall of 2013, and I wasn’t ready to click ‘submit’ until the spring of 2016,” says the political science major and communication studies minor. “I wanted to make sure I was prepared to give something to the White House, not just take from the experience, and Davidson is the reason I was ready.”
Nlewedim’s role as a summer intern included reading and responding to letters, emails and social media messages from citizens under the age of 18.
“The messages included stories from kids with incarcerated parents or from kids who were concerned about school cafeteria food that didn’t align with their families’ religious beliefs,” she says. “I learned that one message from one kid can really change a person’s outlook.”
While Nlewedim was chosen for the highly selective opportunity because of her stellar interview and impressive résumé, a new internship grant from Davidson helped to ensure she could accept the offer—Nlewedim is among the inaugural recipients of the Tom Anstrom Internship Fund, which was created by Davidson classmates, friends and family of Anstrom ’04, who died suddenly in April of 2015. The fund honors and advances his passion for public service, social justice, and human and civil rights, and supports students interested in progressive public policy, politics or social justice.
Over the summer, Nlewedim met President Barack Obama, the First Lady and many key White House staffers. She also met Tom Anstrom’s parents, Decker and Sherry.
“They are such giving people,” she says. “It’s a unique idea to create an internship grant that is specific to what he loved most, and now that I know more about Tom and his family, I hope I did the experience justice.”
Davidson was a perfect fit for Nlewedim from day one, when she first learned about the college in a Raleigh, North Carolina, Starbucks. The next day, she talked with an Admission Office representative at her school’s college fair, and immediately decided to plan a trip to campus for Junior Day. With support from the service-focused Bonner Scholarship and the Royster Scholarship, awarded as part of The Davidson Trust, she added “Wildcat” to her ever-growing list of accomplishments.
“I fell in love,” she says. “It seemed like such a magical place. Four years later, Davidson has instilled more confidence in me, and it has taught me more about the importance of being kind. It seems like a simple thing, but being a nice person who isn’t afraid to work hard can go a really long way.”