Editor's note: This is the next in an occasional series spotlighting people who grew up in or who were community leaders in Aiken, and where they are now.
While attending the University of South Carolina, Christina Cue did internships in the fields of sports management and entertainment – expecting to move in that direction, perhaps as an attorney and sports agent.
As they say, things didn't quite work out like that. Cue currently serves in the Obama administration as the scheduling director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“It's amazing,” said the former Aiken resident. “I'm so pleased to be a part of the administration. It's a great experience, one I'll never forget.”
A 2002 Aiken High School graduate, Cue is the daughter of educators Karen and William “Bobby” Cue. Her dad also is a longtime pastor at the New and Living Way Apostolic Church in Trenton. In high school, Cue served as a manager for girls' and boys' basketball.
During college, Cue worked in sports advertising with CNN and then with a sports agency. In that role, she joined other staffers in setting up events for athletes – among them longtime Braves pitcher John Smoltz and race car drivers Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton.
Ultimately, “It was a lot of fun, but had no intrinsic value,” Cue said. “I didn't feel like I was making a difference.”
In 2006, she worked on the campaign of Chris Hart, a Richland County attorney. He successfully defeated a 21-year incumbent in the S.C. House of Representatives.
In 2007, Barack Obama was a U.S. senator from Illinois. Yet few people had heard of him when he started testing the waters with speeches – including many in South Carolina, including Aiken.
“When he was in Columbia, he was so inspiring,” Cue said. “My parents told me I was crazy. But I wanted to jump on the campaign, even though he hadn't announced he would run.”
She worked in the field, eventually earning a promotion as a regional field manager in 2008. Cue's father said he and her mother soon realized “Her accomplishments have exceeded all we could have imagined.”
After the inauguration in 2009, Cue moved to Washington, D.C., and never left.
She worked on a contract basis initially before taking an administrative assistant's position within the Department of Commerce in 2010.
A year later, she served on advance teams for the White House – travels that took her throughout the nation and overseas ahead of the president, as well as the First Lady.
Cue's role evolved, working with national and local press representatives on proper credentials and other logistical issues.
In her present role with HUD, Cue has enjoyed working for the outgoing secretary, Shaun Donovan, who is joining the Office of Management and Budget as director. The new HUD secretary, Julian Castro, will take office on Monday.
“My biggest thing is that young people don't know the experiences that are available for them,” Cue said. “You have to be open for change and learning about different opportunities.”
Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard's education reporter.