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Jun 25, 2020 Washington, D.C.

The White House Historical Association has released the June episode of its podcast, The 1600 Sessions, “White House Fellows.” This episode explores the program started by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 for leadership and public service. In this episode, Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews Elizabeth Pinkerton, Director of the President’s Commission on White House Fellows, Stephanie Ferguson, President of the White House Fellows Alumni Association, and Andy Ku, White House Fellows Alumnus.

“The White House Fellowships program [was designed to] bring in young talented Americans to serve along with senior White House officials and cabinet secretaries and department leads,” Pinkerton commented. “And the idea was that they would take this knowledge back to their communities and do great things.”

Selected participants of the White House Fellows program typically spend a year working as a full-time, paid Fellow to senior White House staff, cabinet secretaries and other top-ranking government officials. In this episode, the group discusses how to apply for the program and the real-world experiences alumni gain in taking part in domestic and international trips to study U.S. policy in action. They also mention several notable alumni of the White House Fellows program including Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State; Elaine Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation; Henry Cisneros, businessman and former Mayor of San Antonio; and Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon, media reporter and Medical Correspondent for CNN.

Alum Andy Ku recalled, “One of the lasting memories from the program is that almost on a daily basis we’re able to physically see the White House. And that’s just a daily reminder of the reason why we’re here.”

Stephanie Ferguson talked about how the program influenced her career: “I’ve had the great experience in my own career being in healthcare and global healthcare to work all over the world in more than 100 some countries with the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses. And so, when I work at and do programs with the State Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it’s like coming back home. It’s the same people because, and that’s the beauty of being a White House Fellow, you get to work with the civil servants, you get to work with the political appointees, and you build lifelong lasting relationships for the rest of your career.”

The 1600 Sessions

In this podcast series, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews luminaries, historians, and eyewitnesses to history about America’s most famous residence and office—the White House. Each episode includes a prominent guest or guests to discuss varying facets of White House history, including insights from former staff and many other topical issues.

The 1600 Sessions is available on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher. To hear the full episode, visit

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About the white house historical association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit

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