CAMDEN — As an aspiring physician and healthcare advocate, Salima Mostafa says she hopes to one day become a health policy advisor to the President of the United States. With that goal in mind, she’s certainly carving out her path in the right place.
The 2013 Rutgers–Camden graduate is interning at the White House this year and she was one of approximately 150 people from across the country chosen for the select position this fall. She is the first Rutgers–Camden student to earn a White House internship.
“I wanted to take on this challenge because public service is my passion,” says Mostafa, who earned her undergraduate degree in biology from Rutgers–Camden. “In continuation of my passion to help others, what I truly want to acquire from this program are the intellectual tools to help me become more than just a physician, but also a charitable leader of the less fortunate individuals of my community.”
Mostafa, 23, is a West Berlin resident and 2009 graduate of Overbrook High School in Pine Hill. At the White House, she works at the Office of Presidential Personnel, which oversees the selection process for presidential appointments for positions throughout the federal government. She works with staff members to coordinate outreach to potential candidates.
“I am learning something valuable every minute of my internship,” Mostafa says. “From learning how to craft my own personal narrative to participating in mock interviews, I am very grateful for this opportunity at the White House.”
Mostafa explains that her family moved to the United States from Bangladesh in 2004 so she and her brother could pursue higher education opportunities. At Rutgers–Camden, Mostafa was part of a group of students that, along with students from the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine, established Project REACH, an innovative, multifaceted program that teaches preventative health in Camden middle schools. For her efforts, Mostafa received Rutgers–Camden’s 2012 Chancellor’s Award for Civic Engagement.
“I am very proud to have attended Rutgers–Camden, where I intensified my knowledge for my undergraduate career in medicine,” Mostafa says. “Rutgers is unique, it’s small and it’s definitely one of the best institutions in the country.”
At Rutgers–Camden, Mostafa was a participant in the TRiO Student Support Services program, a college access and student success program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Through TRiO, she received a grant for an educationally-directed activity such as a summer class or unpaid internship, which she applied to her White House internship.
The White House Internship Program provides young adults with an opportunity to develop leadership skills and gain exposure to the public service sector. The competitive application process requires two essays, two letters of recommendation, and a resume. Interns live in residences within walking distance of the U.S. Capitol, House and Senate offices, Supreme Court, and Library of Congress.