Where Are They Now: Former WHK Intern Julianne Heberlein Moves from Science to Politics

By Marie Haughey, staff writer; headshot by Richard Frederickson, staff photographer; contributed images
Former WHK intern Julianne Heberlein.

Former WHK intern Julianne Heberlein.

Former Werner H. Kirsten (WHK) intern Julianne Heberlein—who worked in the Frederick National Laboratory Public Affairs and Communication Office under Frank Blanchard—credits the WHK program with setting her apart from other applicants when applying for her recent internships.

After completing her WHK internship and graduating high school in the summer of 2016, Heberlein interned with Governor Larry Hogan’s press office in the State House. She is now interning at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and studying government and politics along with journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park.

“I don’t think I would have landed my internship in the governor’s office if I didn’t already have public affairs experience from the WHK program,” said Heberlein. “It has set me up for success and helped me in so many ways.”

While interning in Governor Hogan’s office, Heberlein discovered her passion for politics and decided to pursue political press relations. She helped analyze Hogan’s digital engagement on social media, worked on constituent correspondence, and assisted the deputy press secretary with live streaming events and speeches. 

At the U.S. Department of State, Heberlein currently covers Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings and monitors upcoming public diplomacy-related events and reports. She’s also assisting with promotional materials for the Expo 2020 Dubai Roadshow, which will be the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, North Africa, or South Asia.

During her WHK internship, Heberlein wrote scientific articles and feature stories for Poster and Insite on topics such as the MERS virus and colorectal cancer. She also helped organize FNL’s involvement in the annual In the Street festival, directed a video series highlighting students in the WHK Student Intern Program, and created and presented a poster titled “Science Journalism: Balance Can be Biased” at Student Poster Day.

“I cannot emphasize enough how lucky I was to have Frank Blanchard as a mentor. He set aside extra time to revise my drafts with me and explained how I could improve. Because of his instruction, my writing improved immensely. I strongly believe that I excelled in my first-year journalism classes [at UMD] because Frank prepared me so well.”

After graduating from the University of Maryland, Heberlein plans to work in the political press relations field for several years before attending graduate school, where she will pursue a public policy or law degree. Her dream job would be as a White House press secretary or communications director.

Julianne Heberlein and Governor Larry Hogan pose while wearing their matching sunglasses.Julianne Heberlein stands with Governor Larry Hogan on the last day of her internship in the governor’s personal office in the Maryland State House.Julianne Heberlein in the Harry S. Truman lobby at the U.S. Department of State before starting her internship.