Areeba is a rising senior at the University of Michigan studying Public Policy with a concentration on Housing and Transportation and a minor in Writing. This summer, she is interning at Senator Gary Peters’ office.
What major projects are you working on in your internship? What responsibilities are you most excited about and why?
I’m interning at the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management, which means that I get to work on a breadth of issues, ranging from researching FEMA programs to finding examples of government waste. I’m most excited to be able to conduct research one day and read a related news story the next; it’s an exciting and unique time to be in the Senate, and I’m looking forward to seeing the “behind-the-scenes” work that isn’t always presented elsewhere.
When did you realize you wanted to explore public service?
I’ve always been interested in issues of social justice. When I was younger, I was always curious about the inequality I saw and I always wanted to understand why it existed. My attempt to answer that question inspired me to explore public service as a way to contribute to solutions instead of just complaining to the side. I saw that so many life-altering policy decisions had been made without input from marginalized communities and I knew that I wanted to enter public service and make sure my voice was heard.
What are your plans/ goals after this internship? Are there any goals you want to accomplish this summer?
I’ll be in DC until December through a program by my university, so I’m in the process of finding employment for the fall. After these internships, I’d like to have a clearer understanding of what path might be right for my career. I’d like to know what kind of work environment I prefer, in which form I prefer my advocacy, and how I can best contribute my skills to the causes I care about.
What are you looking forward to in DC / where your internship is located?
I’m excited to take advantage of all of the free events going on in the city! I feel like there’s always something new and exciting to take part in, so I’m looking forward to just experiencing as much as I can. I’m also looking forward to being surrounded by so many intelligent, passionate people and learning as much as possible from them.
What is something that most people would not know about you?
Something most people might not know about me is that I’m really into musicals and Broadway (and not just Hamilton, although I do love Hamilton with all of my heart). This is mostly surprising because I have no artistic or musical talents, and I’ve never been involved in anything vaguely close to theatre. But it’s a bit of an obsession, no matter how much my family makes fun of me.
What has been the most interesting/ meaningful thin you’ve learned from CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program so far? Why?
I think the most meaningful thing from the WLP sessions has not just been the weekly topics or the overall theme, but being able to see a variety of Asian Americans in public service, all finding ways to advocate for their communities no matter what their specific job titles may be. As an editor for a section in my university’s paper that is meant for people of color, it’s also rewarding to see the strength of narrative in every avenue of public service.
Meet all of our CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.
Posted by Nattacha Munakata
Nattacha Munakata is currently a rising sophomore at George Mason University, studying Community Health with a concentration in Clinical Science (Pre-med). On campus, she is Peer Health Advisor, working to raise awareness and educate students on health issues. She is also involved in TEDxGMU and Thai Student Association. Outside, she likes to volunteer for local organizations and events, such as the DC Sakura matsuri and her local FIRST robotics team. During her free time, she likes to watch Netflix dramas and explore new music.