Lee News

DeForest Returns from Washington D.C.


Lee University senior accounting major Michael deForest recently returned to campus after working in the White House for the past six months.

DeForest, a native of Holland, Michigan, describes his Lee experience as “far from typical.” After his freshmen year, deForest went to England and Scotland on his Global Perspectives trip, and he then continued on to South Africa for an additional two months. While in South Africa, he taught in local schools and assisted managing a surf outreach program in the hopes of alleviating the cyclical poverty in the region.

“It was really a coming of age trip for me,” said deForest. “It was a time when I came into who I was, gaining a broader perspective of the world, and instilling in me a desire to change it.”

During his sophomore year, deForest applied for an internship in the Office of Operations at The White House. He was accepted into the program for the fall of 2015, and shares, “Nobody was more surprised than me!”

During his internship, his responsibilities included the scheduling and logistics of meetings, triaging staff requests for goods and services, and assisting with large events across the complex.

deForest Returns from The White House
Michael deForest in D.C.

“Essentially, my job was to ensure that staff across the complex were connected with the resources they needed to be effective,” said deForest.

Following this internship, deForest returned to Lee with the intentions of pursuing an internship that would utilize his accounting degree. In the summer of 2016, he accepted an internship in the Division of Corporation Finance at the Securities and Exchange Commission. While there, he spent the summer reviewing financial statements for compliance with Securities Law and the generally accepted accounting principles.

DeForest was then offered a full-time position at the White House through the end of the Obama Administration. He helped to support the other offices over the last six months, and states, “The peaceful and professional transition of power truly is one of the cornerstones of democracy. I am incredibly proud of the Obama Administration’s commitment to all Americans over the past eight years, and for everyone’s work in ensuring the transition went smoothly.”

DeForest is now back on campus for his final semester at Lee. Although he has had an unconventional collegiate career, he said he is incredibly appreciative for the experiences over the past four years.

“Coming to Lee gave me an essential foundation in service, ethics, relationships, and faith. These are lessons I will take with me for years to come,” said deForest.

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