Our CAPAL Intern Spotlight is Andrew Lo, one of our remote interns who is currently placed in Portland, Oregon. He works as the Sustainable Operations and Climate Change Intern for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USDA-FS) in Region 6 (Oregon and Washington).
What are your main responsibilities at your position? What are some of your big projects?
Everyday is different for me. One day I might spend my time creating an infographic. The next day I might be doing research and data analysis. I assist with whatever that needs my help, which can include a wide of different tasks and projects. Currently I am working on a utility bill cleanup, looking at different sites in the region and checking up on their sustainability and what they could be doing better.
As for big projects, I am organizing and leading the first region wide environmental footprint reduction contest. This project revolves around changing individual behaviors, from recycling to utilizing reusable bags, and my responsibilities include laying the key groundwork on logistics and what behaviors we should target.
How does this internship/scholarship fit with your professional and career goals?
As a recent graduate my work here has been incredibly invaluable to me, as I can really see my work within a federal office create day-to-day changes in behaviors towards the environment and sustainability for all communities.
For my future plans, I aim to pursue a degree in law and eventually a career in public policy. I hope that my time working for the USDA in their regional office will lead me from a grassroots understanding of civil engagement, to give me a bit of insight into how government organizations work and how policy is implemented.
What do you hope to achieve this summer through your scholarship/internship experience?
I hope to work on my networking and communication skills during my internship and learn more about public service and community action alongside my fellow CAPAL interns. This experience has already allowed me to have a very hands-on role in policy and how it works in different branches of government. Even more than that, it has truly been an awesome experience, through the USDA I am often able to work out in the field to explore the forestry of the Pacific Northwest, and can really see the reason behind the work I am doing.
Additionally, though I am not currently working specifically around AAPI issues, sustainability work affects all communities, especially all disadvantaged people. My work here has shown me this, and though environmental awareness and sustainability is not always a focus in our community, it should be.
What does public service mean to you?
Public service can take shape in so many ways. It can be large in the sense that it entails sacrificing your time and effort, working towards change that will improve the future and the community around you. But, it can also be small in the form of a friendly smile or patient ear.
Regardless of the scope of the work, to me public service means ensuring that the people you meet and serve leave your life better of than when they entered it.
What do you consider to be the most interesting thing about you?
I am someone who is willing to try anything and everything, which has led me to having a plethora of interests and hobbies that I wish I had more to time to enjoy. I grew up in a restaurant and love to cook and host people. I love to make different types of ramen dishes.
I am also passionate about music and play several different instruments, including piano, guitar, ukulele, and violin. Though the ukelele is my favorite to perform.
And fun fact, I have driven through most of the US, 47 states, missing only Alaska, Hawaii, and North Dakota.
What are you most excited to do in Washington DC this summer?
I am a remote intern, so I am unfortunately not in Washington DC, but I do look forward to exploring the city of Portland and its many delicious food carts.
Being from Kansas City, it has been a real transplant, and even just in my drive to the Pacific Northwest, crossing thousands of miles, I got my first views of the beautiful greenery which, in my small way, I have been working to conserve and protect through this internship opportunity.
A Kansas City native, Andrew studied philosophy and biology at Saint Louis University from which he is a recent graduate. Outside of the classroom he served as president of SLU’s Asian American Association which aims to foster API communities as well as work hand in hand with other cultural organizations promote advocacy and social justice for all. Andrew has a passion for music and can often be found playing instruments, singing, and generally causing a ruckus. He helped to establish Forte, an organization which works to provide Saint Louis inner city schools with tutors, instruments, and others resources needed to facilitate education in music. Growing up in a restaurant, Andrew has always had a passion for cooking and food both in his blood and in his stomach. Andrew hopes to gain experience in the workforce before pursuing a degree in law and eventually a career in public policy.
Meet all of our 2015 CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.
Posted by Taylor Huang-Boutelle
Taylor is an incoming Senior at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is double majoring in World Literature and Feminist Studies, with a concentration in Law, Politics, and Social Change. Taylor is in the D.C. cohort for the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (www.causeusa.org) and is currently a summer interns at the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, where she is focusing on development and fundraising, and will be developing the blog content for this summer. Taylor is passionate about issues of representation, coalition between underserved communities, and creating spaces for strength and solidarity around injustices through community activism and public policy. taylor.boutelle [at] capal [dot] org