Barbourville to the White House

A 2013 Barbourville High School graduate has impressively bolstered her resume since her days as the valedictorian for her graduating class.

Hannah Bingham, 22, left Barbourville in 2013 for the University of Kentucky, where she majored in Economics and Political Science, leading her into opportunities many only dream of.

Bingham recently wrapped up a summer internship working in the White House Visitors Office, an opportunity that afforded her the opportunity to meet President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and several other political dignitaries such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway.

Bingham graduated from U.K. in May 2017, just before moving to Washington, D.C. where she is now attending law school at Georgetown University. Having set her sights on law, Bingham says she felt that while political science was a subject matter she really enjoyed, she felt it was a good match to prepare her for law school. “Economics is something that is very important to understanding how our society functions. It is a subject I was truly interested in and wanted to know more about. It also provided more of a challenge compared to political science because I did not have as much background in that subject. The two majors really complemented each other to provide me with what I felt was a well-rounded education at University of Kentucky,” she said.

When asked how she went from Barbourville to the nation’s capital, Bingham responded “Four years ago, I never would have guess that I would end up living in Washington, D.C. The first thing that really led me in this direction was an internship with Kentucky State Senate President Robert Stivers in Frankfort.”

Prior to her internship with the White House, Bingham also completed an internship with Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and United States Senator Mitch McConnell.

Bingham credits her family as the reason she chose a career in law and her interest in politics. “I think my family was the biggest influence in my interest in politics. My family always had a strong interest in what was going on in government and they demonstrated the importance of being politically active. Growing up with that influence helped me to understand how impactful government decisions are on nearly every aspect of everyday life in some way,” she said.

When asked of her experience working with the White House this summer, Bingham commented “Every day walking into the White House was an amazing experience. I was assigned to work in the Visitors Office, so I was able to attend a lot of incredible events. Some of the most notable events were the ceremony honoring the Clemson football team for winning the National Championship, the annual Congressional Picnic with all the members of Congress, the “Made in America” event featuring manufacturers from all 50 states, the Medal of Valor ceremony honoring the first responders to the shooting at the Congressional baseball practice in June, and viewing Marine One take off and land on the South Lawn.”

Bingham said the Independence Day celebrations stood out during her time at the White House. “My absolute favorite experience was helping with the Fourth of July events. Fourth of July is my favorite holiday, so it was unbelievable to spend the whole day at the White House and watch the fireworks from the South Lawn.”

Applying for the White House internship, while pretty much a standard application process, took a while. With the new administration, information wasn’t readily available on internships, but along with her family’s help, periodically following up on internship opportunities eventually paid off. “One day my mom called me and told me the application had opened… I submitted my resume, a few letters of recommendation, answered some interview-type questions and submitted an essay about a current political topic,” she said.

Now that her White House internship is behind her and law school has begun, Bingham says she is very open to figuring out which type of law she enjoys the most and will eventually specialize in. “I have three years to figure out what I want to do after law school… there are so many different opportunities at Georgetown and in Washington, and I look forward to exploring and figuring out what I really want to do next.”

Barbourville Independent Schools Superintendent L. Kay Dixon had nothing but praise for Bingham. “Hannah is a prime example of focus. She has always believed that with hard work and dedication she could do anything she wished. Guess what? She has!” said Dixon. “As a student at Barbourville, she was never about drama; she was an older soul at an early age. Her desire to reach for her dreams while knowing that it takes work and sometimes sacrifice will continue to lead her to great accomplishments. We are proud of Hannah and are happy to have her as a BHS alumnus.”

Bingham is the daughter of William and Jamie Bingham of Barbourville.