The days Kelsey Pietranton, '11, liked best during her internship in Vice President Joe Biden's office were the ones when her boss, the office's director of correspondence, took the time to walk her out the front gate of the White House.

"She would walk me past the West Wing, past the press corps, out the driveway and onto Pennsylvania Avenue," Pietranton said. "She didn't have to do it. But the days that I got to walk past those offices were so incredible."

Even though the history and international studies major spent two summers interning for West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller, she says it was during a semester abroad in Jordan that she first began thinking about applying to the White House internship program.

On her first day in the country she was brought to the U.S. embassy for an orientation with the attaché, who stressed the importance of understanding that she was now living under a monarchy.

"She said that most foreigners who are arrested, are arrested for insulting the King. She told us, 'If you get arrested, don't bother calling us. You're not allowed any legal representation and we won't be able to get you out.' The experience really made me appreciate the foundations of our country."

Pietranton spent the summer working in the Vice President's correspondence office, helping to open, sort, and sometimes assist with answering his mail. The office received mail including official documents from the Cabinet and, more than anything else, mail from constituents.

"Overall the mail was incredibly positive," Pietranton said. "A lot of people are really critical of this Administration, but most of what people wrote were messages of support. It was nice to see that in this day and age when you can send an e-mail blast in seconds, so many Americans take the time to send a thank you card."

Pietranton said the Vice President took great interest in his interns, on occasion pulling them into his West Wing office to chat.

"He really cared that we were there and we were working for him," she said. "He knows what a great staff he has, and was really excited for us to get to learn from them."

Pietranton also got the chance to spend time with the second lady, Dr. Jill Biden. Dr. Biden, a strong supporter of military families, asked interns to help her create care packages to send to family members meeting injured soldiers at hospitals.

Community service is a major component of the White House internship. Every intern volunteers at a local charity. Pietranton was the service project leader at So Others Might Eat (S.O.M.E.), an organization that provides food, shelter and counseling to Washington’s homeless.

"I volunteered at S.O.M.E. throughout middle and high school, and knew this was where I wanted to volunteer this summer. They offer two hot meals a day, dental and health care, housing and transitional programs for the homeless."

As the service project leader, Pietranton coordinated the efforts of all the other intern volunteers at S.O.M.E. Her hard work did not go unnoticed. She had the opportunity to meet President Obama when he greeted the intern service project leaders.

"That was incredible," Pietranton said. "We were in the Rose Garden and he came down and shook our hands and talked with us for a little while.

"And he knew the Spiders! He asked me where I went to school, and I told him the University of Richmond. And then he said, 'Oh the Spiders!' Everybody knows the Spiders."

Pietranton says that her experience at the White House solidified her plans to attend law school, but it also opened her up to the idea of taking some time off to work after earning her bachelor's degree.

She plans to eventually study constitutional law in hopes of one day defending the civil liberties that she says were never more evident than on that evening walk she loves so much.

"You walk onto Pennsylvania Avenue and find visitors, activists and foreign tourists, and they’ve all come to the same place."

"Politics aside, whether you agree with an Administration or disagree with it, the American presidency is an institution unlike any other in the world. A lot of times people get caught up in the nuances and nitpicking, but really we're very lucky."