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Our CAPAL Intern Spotlight is Annie Xiao, a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Global Economics and currently interning at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USDA-FS).

What are your main responsibilities at your position? What are some of your big projects?

I am interning with the Cooperative Forestry staff under the State and Private Forestry (S&PF) Deputy Office at USDA Forest Service this summer. As the Outreach and Communications Specialist, I assist my supervisor with coordinating outreach, communication, and planning efforts that would benefit States, private landowners and other partners. More specifically, we work with largely communities of color and socially-disadvantaged forest landowners, farmers and ranchers, tribes, and urban and rural communities to ensure that they receive the proper financial and technical assistance needed to protect their lands.

Some of the assignments I have worked on so far include drafting critical communication documents for the Cooperative Forestry staff, developing a database to keep track of the past and current CAPAL participants’ internship placements in the Forest Service, assisting incoming Forest Service-CAPAL interns with the transition into their positions. Examples of my finished and ongoing projects include drafting conference call letters on behalf of the Deputy Chief, writing articles about the past conferences Forest Service participated in, as well as preparing outreach articles featuring Forest Service partnership organizations. In addition, I have gained valuable event planning experiences from assisting my supervisor with preparing agenda and meeting management packets for the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) info session at the Forest Service office.

Currently, I am developing an outreach web page on behalf of the Cooperative Forestry staff. To make the outreach web page easier to navigate and more accessible to the public, I will be proposing a new look to the current website. My job is to make sure that I highlight the important programs and organizations that we are currently working with, so that our targeted audiences could have a chance to access the available financial and technical assistances that they weren’t aware of.

How does this internship/scholarship fit with your professional and career goals?

After interning with the D.C. Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA) last summer, I was inspired to pursue a career in Public Service. Working as the Outreach and Communications Specialist in USDA Forest Service this summer, I have gained valuable experiences learning about and interacting with various non-profit organizations that aim to protect and defend the rights of underserved communities.

Through writing articles about the non-profit organizations that aim to assist these communities and landowners, I have learned about a number of financial and technical resources and the importance of making these resources visible and accessible in the community. I have prepared outreach articles about the resources provided by the Heirs’ Property Preservation organization, the Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association, the National Women in Agriculture Association, the Winston County Self Help Cooperative, and the Oklahoma Black Historical Research Incorporated. From researching about these organizations to producing communication documents that will increase awareness in the communities, this internship experience has helped broaden my perspective of the issues facing the underserved communities today and refined my purpose for serving AAPI communities in need.

Having interned in Washington D.C. two summers in a row, I am convinced that there is no better place to begin my career than in the nation’s capital. I am grateful to CAPAL for bringing me back to Washington, D.C. and humbled by the opportunity to work in such an important federal office this summer.

What do you hope to achieve this summer through your scholarship/internship experience?

With the skill sets and experiences I brought with me to this summer internship, I hope that the work I do at the USDA Forest Service will have a lasting effect and impact for these communities. Professionally, I also hope to walk away with project management, event planning, and outreach experiences that will help prepare me for any job opportunities in the future.

What does public service mean to you?

To me, public service is an act of supporting those who need you, giving back to those who were kind to you, and lending a hand to those who are less fortunate than you.

unnamed 7 300x225 CAPAL Intern Spotlight Annie Xiao 15What do you consider to be the most interesting thing about you?

I once wanted to become a Marine Biologist. Hoping, at that time, to participate in the Kelp Forest Ecology class and conduct research in a research center in Corsica, France, I began taking scuba diving classes my freshman year. Even though I ended up graduating University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Economics, I am grateful to have finished my college career with growing interest and knowledge in underwater photography (picture to the left), as well as being scuba diving certified up to the Rescue diving level.

What are you most excited to do in Washington D.C. this summer?

Among all the reasons why Washington D.C. is the best place to be in the summer, I am most excited about the opportunity to attend conferences, lunch series, and seminars with other like-minded AAPI interns. I can’t wait to expand my network and meet the AAPI leaders and policy makers who have worked hard to make substantial changes in the AAPI community!

Annie Xiao was born in Zhongshan, China and immigrated with her father to San Francisco, California at the age of 12. She recently graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz, with a B.A. in Global Economics and is the first person in her family to graduate from a four-year college in the United States. In order to fulfill the major requirements for her bachelor degree, Annie studied French for two years at UC Santa Cruz prior to studying abroad at the Lyon Institute of Political Studies in France. During her junior year abroad, Annie has challenged herself to taking sixteen classes that were all taught in French, and finished with a certificate from the Institute for having fulfilled the academic requirement within one academic year. When she was not studying, Annie enjoyed traveling around Europe and has visited fourteen countries in nine months thanks to the low-budget airlines and the Couchsurfing community. Last year, Annie interned at the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islanders Affairs (OAPIA) as the Community Outreach Intern and has performed several outreach efforts to address the concerns of the AAPI community. This summer, Annie is interning with the USDA Forest Service, Cooperative Forestry Division, as the Outreach and Communications Specialist. She is excited to leverage her language abilities and previous work experiences to continue serving the AAPI and other minority communities even in the capacity of being a young CAPAL Federal Intern. Her ultimate goal is to become an influential female leader and representative in the AAPI community like the Congresswoman Judy Chu and the Chief to Staff to the First Lady, Tina Tchen, one day.

Meet all of our 2015 CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.

IMG 7976 108x150 CAPAL Intern Spotlight Annie Xiao 15Posted 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