Q&A with Henry Katz ’19: From All School President to White House Intern

Ali Schwartz ’10
Shipley All School President Henry Katz ’19, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May with a BA in Political Communication. This summer, he served as an intern at The White House in the Office of Scheduling and Advance, and has recently started a new position as a Political Strategist at Schoen Cooperman Research in New York City.

Can you tell us more about your experience interning at The White House? What responsibilities fall under The Office of Scheduling and Advance?

The Office of Scheduling and Advance handles the president’s daily schedule and movements off of White House property. The team I worked with was responsible for coordinating all aspects of these events. From sourcing venues and motorcade vehicles to making sure essential senior staff and elected officials were properly briefed on the needs of such events. On my team, I specifically served my office’s travel team, coordinating the president’s movements in motorcades, on Marine One, and on Air Force One.

What were some of the most memorable moments or projects you worked on during your time at The White House? Was there a specific event or initiative that you were involved in that you found particularly impactful? 

During my time at The White House I attended many memorable events such as the first annual Juneteenth concert, where Jennifer Hudson and other notable musicians of color performed. I also helped to plan and execute a civil rights symposium the president gave remarks for at the National Archives. After the event, I was lucky enough to ride back to The White House in the president’s motorcade, which is a moment I will never forget.

The Office of Scheduling and Advance are the producers of the most watched show on the planet. We set the stage for every picture perfect moment and it is our responsibility to put the president in the strongest position possible to communicate his message effectively. I learned very quickly that my work was having a direct impact on how the media covers the president and his work. I’d often leave an event I spent days or weeks planning, sit down at my desk, and see the event being covered on every major news network on the TV above my desk. That was pretty cool.

You recently started a new job working as a Political Strategist in New York City. What are you looking forward to most in this new role?

In my new role at Schoen Cooperman Research (SCR) I am looking forward to working on campaign strategies for Democratic candidates and causes around the country. From anti-gun violence and pro-choice legislation, to public opinion polling on American and Israeli government officials, to corporate market research for companies such as Snapchat, HBO, and Margaritaville; SCR has a broad portfolio which will give me experience across different fields.

What skills, values, or experiences did you develop (or begin to develop) at Shipley that contribute to your success in your personal or professional life?

My love for politics and campaigns started when I was in Mrs. Van Horn’s fourth grade class. I did not win my Student Council election that fall, and in my teary-eyed state, Mrs. Van Horn encouraged me to run again in the spring election. Mrs. Van Horn taught me that it is my ability to make others feel loved and appreciated which would help me down the line. So I continued to be myself, embracing every member of Shipley’s community and following through on promises I made to friends. I never lost an election at Shipley again.

Some hard skills I gained at Shipley were a foundation of statistics and strong writing skills. Teachers such as Mrs. Small and Dr. Pickering were both relentless and encouraging in my development as a writer, which has gone a very long way. Being able to communicate effectively through writing, especially with co-workers, has served me well in my professional endeavors.

Lastly, every teacher at Shipley taught me how to advocate for myself. There is never anything wrong with looking out for yourself, both as a person and as a student, and this mindset served me well going to UPenn. As all Shipley students attend colleges and universities which are much bigger communities than they are used to, self-advocacy is a skill that stands out with college professors and makes life as a college student a whole lot easier. 

Looking back on your time at Shipley, is there anything you know now that you would tell your young self as a student at Shipley?

Shipley is the best place to try new  things and obsess over what you are passionate about. My whole life I have loved writing, sports, politics, and theater. While my athletic career at Shipley did not take off, I was able to fulfill my love for sports and politics by writing for The Beacon. I was able to run a student government campaign every year and then serve my classmates throughout the school year by improving student life through new initiatives and traditions. And lastly, I was able to perform in the school musical every year, which was by far the most rewarding community of students I met at Shipley. Having never taken a singing or dance lesson in my life, the Riely Theatre stage developed my public speaking skills and gave me the confidence to make others laugh and take risks. Shipley was a place for me to always take my work seriously, but never take myself too seriously.
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.