Stories from Our Community

Bernadette Hobson (MALAS'16) Pursues Energy Solutions in White House Internship

April 13, 2016 by Aislinn McNiece

Bernadette Hobson grew up in California as the daughter of a Mexican immigrant family, exposed to and acutely aware of issues of social and economic development in Mexico. This background is the root of Hobson’s interest in Mexico, the reason she came to the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at SFS to earn her master’s degree, and her motivation to intern with the National Economic Council at the White House.

“I hope that my experience at the White House shows others from my Mexican-American community that they too can achieve their dreams and carve out a new path for themselves,” said Hobson.

Hobson, MALAS’16, came to Washington, D.C., to pursue her passion for sustainable development in Mexico and gain the skills necessary to find those solutions herself. Ultimately, she hopes to be in a position to “develop informed policy solutions to advance U.S. – Mexico energy relations,” but until then, she is intent on taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by SFS and CLAS.

“For me, the best part about being a student at Georgetown is the unique opportunities it provides to engage with former diplomats, presidents, and policy experts in small spaces to really understand the complexities of issues facing Mexico and Latin America more broadly,” said Hobson.

“I also truly value the diversity of opinions that I engage with in each of my classes at Georgetown. I have learned so much from my fellow classmates, who have not only enriched my experience, but also challenged me to understand issues from a different lens.”

Off campus, Hobson has also taken advantage of several unexpected opportunities, including a prestigious internship with the National Economic Council at the White House, where she worked primarily with the energy, travel, and tourism teams.

“I felt that an internship at the White House would provide me an unparalleled opportunity to experience firsthand, at the highest level of government, how policy is developed and advanced. The experience by far exceeded my expectations and allowed me to also see that the opportunity to work at the White House was not out of reach for someone from my community,” said Hobson.

Despite her depth of experience in the private sector and with the Department of State, Hobson is confident that her time at the White House has truly put her on the path toward her future goals through the development of a lifelong set of skills.

“At the White House, I deepened my leadership skills and obtained the training I will need to someday work bilaterally and multilaterally. But the most important thing I gained from this experience was to trust in myself, and be confident in the decisions I make,” said Hobson.

The skills Hobson refined during her time with the National Economic Council will last her well into the future, especially with the help of her deep support system at Georgetown. She credits three CLAS professors “who have not only made a tremendous impact on me, but have also been invaluable mentors as I navigate through my graduate program.”

From the first moment she stepped onto campus, to her interest in Mexico, and to her research projects, Hobson has found support in SFS professors Erick Langer, John Bailey, and Jenny Guardado.“Professor Erick Langer was the first person to welcome me to Georgetown and has been in my corner ever since,” said Hobson. She credits her understanding of the Latin American nation-state to Langer, a professor of history and the former Director of MALAS, and his class on ‘Origins and Transformations in Latin America.’

In her passion for Mexico, Hobson found a common ally in Professor Emeritus John Bailey, the Director of the SFS Mexico Project. She credits Bailey with “provid[ing her] a strong understanding of the problem of corruption impacting the region and challeng[ing her] to devise solutions.”

Professor Bailey’s challenge is one Hobson has taken on with gusto, working with Jenny Guardado, assistant professor in political economy, to complete two independent research projects. The first project aims to provide a policy solution to corruption in Mexico’s energy sector, and the second measures the level of market integration between the U.S. and Mexico based on crude oil prices. Of Guardado, Hobson says, “She has been an amazing support and the Center for Latin American Studies is lucky to have her.”

While Hobson continues to take advantage of the many opportunities available to her through SFS and from Washington, D.C., she encourages other students to do the same — and to do so with enthusiasm.

“My advice to other students in my field is to follow your passion; be creative, be bold, and take informed risks. Don’t be afraid to be different! More importantly, take full advantage of all that Georgetown has to offer and engage in the broader DC community.”

This profile of Bernadette Hobson discusses her experience interning at the White House; she is not a representative of the White House administration or the views or positions of the administration.