This past summer, two Stamps Scholars from the University of Pittsburgh, Jake Lorenz and Sophia Shapiro, participated in the White House Internship Program, in the Office of Scheduling and Advance.
Jake Lorenz studies political science with a minor in French and is also pursuing a certificate in European Union studies. Last spring, he served as the political-military intern at the U.S. Embassy to Estonia, working to support the diplomacy behind U.S. defense posture in the Baltics and security cooperation in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, through the State Department’s Student Internship Program. Lorenz is also politically involved on campus and previously interned at the American Enterprise Institute.
At the White House, Jake served as the scheduling intern. In this role, he authored drafts of the daily schedule, prepared materials for senior Administration staff, and assisted with managing incoming scheduling requests for the Administration. He said, “This work was unbelievably exciting and allowed me to see the breadth of what the White House does every single day.”
Lorenz shared that, outside of the continuous excitement that comes with working in the White House, the coolest experience last summer was watching Jennifer Hudson perform on the South Lawn after President Biden’s remarks during the Juneteenth Concert. “It was such a beautiful and historic moment to witness,” he said.
Lorenz plans to pursue a career in public service in the future. He credits the Stamps Scholarship as “the principal reason for my professional success. By removing all financial barriers from my education, I’ve been able to focus on professional development and achieving exciting opportunities. The Stamps Scholarship has unlocked every door for me, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be surrounded by such amazing colleagues.”
Sophia Shapiro studies urban studies with a minor in education and a distinction in civic engagement. Shapiro’s interests have always been interdisciplinary; her professional background includes both government and campaign positions, as well as extensive theater and film production experience.
On campus, she is actively involved in Jewish life, having formerly served as the president of Chabad at Pitt, a Jewish organization on campus that provides students a place to engage with their religion, feel a sense of community, and meet other Jewish students. She was also president and co-founder of Pitt Students for Biden in 2020, which led to her involvement with the Pitt Dems. During her junior year, she served as a board member on the Student Government Board, pushing for increased civic engagement and chairing the Disability Resources and Services Committee.
Her role as the White House advance intern involved a variety of responsibilities. She supported the Office of Scheduling and Advance to advance domestic and international trips for President Biden, helping coordinate many aspects of these trips, including staffing, travel, logistics, budgeting, credentialing, and visas. Further, she supported the proclamation signing that established the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument, as well as the President’s remarks to the Truman Civil Rights Symposium at the National Archives in D.C.
She said, “I am really grateful to have had the opportunity not only to do exciting work within my office but also to volunteer with the Visitors Office,” which provides interns from around the White House with special opportunities to help volunteer during events at the White House throughout the summer. For Shapiro, this included the White House’s Juneteenth Concert, Pride Month celebration, India State Arrival Ceremony, Fourth of July celebration, and annual Congressional Barbeque.
Sophia says the Stamps Scholarship has enabled her to enjoy a variety of experiences that would not have been available to her otherwise, including working in a foreign country on a movie set, taking a food studies course in Italy, and her most recent experience in the White House. “These opportunities have helped shape my academic and professional career and give me a unique and diverse portfolio of experience as I graduate and enter the workforce.”
Following the completion of their internships, Jake and Sophia volunteered as Advance Associates and served on the Advance Team for President Biden’s recent trip to Hanoi, Vietnam. In this role, they helped prepare sites and events on behalf of the White House. These two Scholars worked in tandem on various sites, ensuring the on-the-ground logistics for this historically significant international visit.
Their work together does not start or end with the White House. Jake and Sophia are close friends and have worked together on campus across a variety of student organizations. Per Sophia, “The personal and professional network that Stamps Scholars build is one of the most important elements of the program. The work that Jake and I have been able to do is a key example of this, and what makes the scholarship special.”
About the Stamps Scholars Program
The Stamps Scholars Program was founded by E. Roe Stamps and his late wife Penny in 2006, with the purpose of enabling extraordinary educational experiences for extraordinary students. Through partnerships with institutions across the nation (and into the U.K.), Scholars receive annual awards that range from $6,000 to $88,400 (four-year awards total an average of $24,000-$353,600) with additional funds for enrichment activities such as study abroad, academic conferences, and leadership training. The Stamps Scholars Program and partner schools evenly share the costs of the award. Penny Stamps passed away in December 2018, but her legacy continues through the Stamps Scholars community, which has grown into an international network with more than 3,250 Scholars and alumni. Find out more at stampsscholars.org.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications and Scholar Experience