Our CAPAL Intern Spotlight is Benny Kuang, who recently graduated from Oregon State University, and interned with the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development (USDA-RD) this summer.
What are your main responsibilities at your position? What are some of your big projects?
The main responsibilities of my position involves working on two special projects under California’s Assistant State Director. The first project is to improve the USDA RD’s relationship with California’s Congressional Representative and Senators by demonstrating program outreach and effectiveness. The second project is to evaluate, demonstrate, and improve the USDA RD’s service of California’s 105 federally-recognized Native Tribes.
How does this internship/scholarship fit with your professional and career goals?
My current career goals are to either go to law school or to attend graduate school for public policy. This internship will fit in by helping me decide which of these two routes I should take, especially in concerns of a Master’s in Public Policy.
What do you hope to achieve this summer through your scholarship/internship experience?
This summer I hope to just explore and learn more about the type of work that a federal agency like the USDA Rural Development does. From this, I would also like to see how these issues that Rural Development faces in California and look at how it applies back to my home state of Oregon. Prior to this internship, I knew very little about the USDA and did not even know about Rural Development, so my internship experience has been eye opening thus far.
What does public service mean to you?
Public service to me means working with others not for one’s own self-interest, but for the interest of the mass society. It means taking the opportunity to work with others to address and solve the systemic issues that affect not just yourself, but the people around you.
What do you consider to be the most interesting thing about you?
When I was a kid, I had a wire retainer put in my mouth. I had a gap for where I did not have my teeth grown in yet. One morning I woke up and looked in the mirror to see that my tongue looked like it had protrusion on it. It turns out, the gap allowed for the wire to cut my tongue, making it appear like I had an extra tongue growing out. I use to stick out my tongue to my friends to get their awed and sometimes disgusted reactions.
What were you most excited to do in Washington D.C. this summer?
Unfortunately, I was not in D.C. except for the Closing Ceremony, but I was excited to go and meet all the CAPAL board members and cohorts there! Additionally, the opportunity to experience the nation’s capital, even for a brief moment, should be an exciting one.
But besides that, I am also excited to be in California, where I interned this summer. I have not been back in California for over ten years, so I look forward to exploring Davis and the surrounding areas including San Francisco and Sacramento.
Benny Kuang is a recent graduate from Oregon State University majoring in Political Science with an option in Law, Politics, and Society. He is an active member in Sigma Beta Rho Fraternity, Inc. having served as the chapter’s Brotherhood Chair, New Member Educator, Vice President, and President throughout his undergraduate years. Benny aspires to help the Asian American community along with other systematically disadvantaged communities, particularly in his hometown of Portland, OR. His long term goals include attending law school or graduate school. This summer, he will be interning with Rural Development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture at Davis, CA.
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