What was the moment in your life when you realized you wanted to explore public service?

I have always been interested in volunteer service but I first became truly passionate about service by leading an initiative to raise money to build antibacterial playgrounds in local hospitals as a leader of my high school’s National Science Honor Society. I led 90 society members to carry out fundraising events throughout my community, such as 5K’s, benefit dinners, and bake sales, as well as to promote science through tutoring, field trips, and internship information sessions. This opportunity allowed me to combine my passions for volunteer service, science, and medicine. I am currently striving to achieve a degree in medicine and eventually become a pediatrician. Through medicine, I am able to help others through direct patient care; however, I am hoping to explore my career options, which influenced me to apply to a public service internship through CAPAL. I wanted to gain insight in helping the community through a different method that would allow me to impact a broader community.

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What are your main responsibilities at your position? What are you looking forward to the most in your position?

I take on a variety of projects in the Research & Development Deputy Area of the Forest Service. I have written briefing papers to propose a synthesis on topics in environmental science, such as methane and Zika virus. I have also created databases, such as on information of climate change specialists in the Forest Service. I look forward to learning more about public policy and environmental science, and connecting my interests in medicine to these subjects.

Did you find anything surprising about your internship or doing public service work?

I thought I would exclusively explore environmental science topics and I was surprised to learn that I was able to connect my interests in medicine within the Forest Service. I have explored the overlap of environmental health, human health and animal health.

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How does this internship help you with your professional goals?What do you want to get out of it?

Although my ultimate goal is to achieve a career in medicine, I would like to explore all of my career options. This internship allows me to gain insight in a career in public policy/service and environmental science as well as learn something completely new. I have been learning how my interests in core science can be applied to multiple professions. I am also able to gain a support network in CAPAL and learn more about AAPI issues that I had not dealt with deeply.IMG 0950 CAPAL Intern Spotlight Celine Nguyen 16

What is something that most people would not know about you?

I love medicine and everything it has to offer, but if careers did not matter and if I could do whatever I wanted in the future, I would go to culinary school to become a pâtissière and spend the rest of my life in a bakery/pastry shop.

What are you most excited to do in Washington D.C. (or wherever you are)?

I have realized that growing up with D.C. and its museums/resources so accessible to me, I had come to take them for granted at some point. However, I do not know everything about D.C. although I could technically be called a local. This summer I am most excited about discovering everything there is to offer in D.C., whether it be museums, events, or local shops and restaurants!

Celine Nguyen is a rising second year at the University of Virginia, where she is working towards earning a degree in biology on a pre-medical track. At UVA, she is currently serving as Community Chair of the Organization of Young Filipino Americans. She is also involved in Madison House Medical Services and Peer Advising Family Network. This summer Celine will be interning in the Research & Development Deputy Area of the U.S. Forest Service located in the D.C. area.

Meet all of our CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.

Posted by Felicia Wong

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Felicia Wong is currently a senior at the College of William and Mary, double majoring in Neuroscience and Asian American Studies, and minoring in Biochemistry. She is president of the Filipino American Student Association, and current non-academic projects include creating films calling for diversity curriculums/requirements and establishing an official APIA Studies program. Felicia was also elected president of Global Medical Brigades to lead a sustainable healthcare program in rural communities in Nicaragua. She hopes to connect her interests in healthcare with the community she has found in her cultural background. Having lived in Germany for most of her childhood, Felicia makes yearly trips back to visit her family, providing opportunities for her to indulge in her greatest joys: touring castles, eating at cafés, taking fashion cues from strangers, cooking with her family. Non-country specific pleasures include: biking, watching live music performances, screaming because Game of Thrones.