Dundee student living the American Dream as a Saltire Scholar
Published on 1 August 2022
A first trip to the United States is exciting for most, but even more so for one University of Dundee student who on her first visit enjoyed Independence Day celebrations on the White House lawn
History student Sophie McPherson flew out to America last month after securing a spot in this year’s Saltire Scholar Internship Programme, run by Entrepreneurial Scotland. The programme pairs students in their penultimate year of study with companies across the world.
After landing, Sophie’s first port of call was the White House in Washington DC, where her internship placement is based. She was chosen to intern with the White House Historical Association for eight weeks, working with the team on valuable research and content creation.
“When I first applied for the programme I didn’t think I’d get this far,” said Sophie. “I hadn’t been to anywhere in America before, let alone the White House. Despite everything being extra-large, from their cars to their portion sizes, I have found most of the time I am not shocked by everyday experiences!
“The two things I was most excited for were to experience a new country and to get a taste of the working world. This opportunity has given me both.
“I share an office with other interns and we’re fully integrated as working people within the team. They’re not just using us for photocopying – we have our personal projects and research.
“I’m currently working on an article on Eleanor Roosevelt and her involvement with LGBTQ+ individuals as well as her impact on feminism as a First Lady, which will soon be published online. I have also recently been invited to accompany the President of the association to New York to assist with an event.”
Outside of the internship, working with the White House Historical Association has brought additional perks for Sophie. Last month she attended a famous traditional celebration on the White House lawn, courtesy of an invitation by President Joe Biden.
“The highlight so far is spending the 4th of July, Independence Day, on the south lawn of the White House with President Biden’s friends and family. I saw Joe and Jill in person and watched the fireworks over the Washington monument, it was a surreal experience.
“Entrepreneurial Scotland has given me the opportunity to meet some extremely influential people and gain some incredible experiences which I will value for the rest of my life.
“I have learnt the importance of the transferable skills that my university education has taught me, and that my passion for history can be used in multitude of ways in the workplace.”
This year a total of 22 Dundee students were placed in the Saltire Scholar Programme, a record cohort from the University.
Applications for the 2023 programme will open within the next month. Students can register their interest via the Saltire Scholar Programme website.
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