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Senior Inspired by Internship at The Carter Center

Camron O'Malley with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter

Cameron O'Malley, C'19, with President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

Cameron O’Malley, C’19, a double major in secondary social studies and history, has the sage advice of President Jimmy Carter echoing in her head in her final year at the Mount. An intern in the Educational Programs Department at The Carter Center in Atlanta in the summer of 2018, O’Malley recalled that Carter emphasized a quote of his teacher Julia Coleman several times in his discussions with the interns: “We must adjust to changing times, but still hold to unchanging principles.” He encouraged the interns to never settle for anything less than peace and prosperity for all humans, and this guidance has inspired Cameron to learn more about how she can better help those in need once she graduates.

O’Malley applied for an internship at The Carter Center after being tagged on a social media post about opportunities at the organization. While she questioned whether she was well qualified for such a competitive internship, she applied anyway, driven by a desire to gain a new experience that could help her in her education. During her interview, she was asked, “Why should we choose you instead of someone from an Ivy League school or state school?” She replied that she goes to a great university where she has learned the skills necessary to do an outstanding job. She used her writing and analytical thinking skills, honed through the Mount core curriculum, to demonstrate her capacity for success.

O’Malley loved working with higher education and career centers to allow more schools to learn about The Carter Center and get involved with the educational programs. She quickly became a leader among her peers. Spending most of her time organizing community service projects in the Atlanta area or writing newsletters, she made connections with people from all over the United States and the world. She was surprised by the number of employees at The Carter Center who are well-known politicians and other people who worked in places like the White House and the United Nations. O’Malley enjoyed spending time talking with other interns and coworkers at The Carter Center about their mutual passion for helping those facing political and social injustices throughout the world.

In recognition of her outstanding work, O’Malley was given the opportunity to spend time with the Carters during a weekend in June in Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s hometown of Plains, Georgia. She saw how down to earth and personable the Carters are and noted that they did not want to be put on a pedestal but instead work hard to help the less fortunate without the need for recognition in mind. She recalled sitting outside President Carter’s boyhood home with other interns, listening to Carter tell a story. A thunderstorm came in fast and trees around them were falling because of the lightning, leading the Secret Service to suggest that the president go indoors. He refused, saying that he was going to stay outside enjoying the nice day, and then continued to tell his story.

Through her internship at The Carter Center, O’Malley learned so much in a few short months by reaching out and trying something a little out of her comfort zone. Her advice for students is be confident in your education and know when to ask for help or clarification. When asked how the Mount prepared her for this internship, O’Malley said, “The last four years, the Mount has provided me with tools and resources to put in my ‘toolbox.’ Now it is up to me with the help from my education to learn how to use these tools to succeed. I knew that [the Mount] would help me reach my goals, provide me the tools to succeed, and build lifelong friendships along the way.”