Best White House Intern - 2000
In a world where the phrase "White House intern" elicits sniggers and blow-job jokes, we all can say we're relieved that Monica "I don't take dirty dresses to the dry cleaners" Lewinsky wasn't from Houston, but Kristen Jones is a White House intern we're proud of. The 20-year-old University of St. Thomas sophomore broke her neck and crushed her spinal cord three years ago when she dived into a shallow backyard pool. The accident left her paralyzed from the neck down. Instead of sitting around feeling sad, Kristen started writing letters. She was elected the youngest person on Houston's City Commission on Disability and applied for an internship at the White House. She was one of just a handful of differently abled interns. Kristen worked last spring in the Office of Public Liaison and Disability Outreach. It was a typical internship; she answered mail and met with disability groups and advocates, and maintained a listserv. Those three months, and then another two working in the Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, helped her decide to pursue a double major of political science and special ed. She liked the White House. Does she want to work there again? "It depends on who's elected," she says. "I don't think I'd want to work under a Republican."