Crystal Im is a rising senior at the University of California, San Diego, studying Public Health with a minor in Business. This summer, she is interning at the US Forest Service.
What major projects are you working on in your internship? What responsibilities are you most excited about and why?
As a Forest Legacy and Water Partnerships Assistant for U.S. Forest Service, I am mainly working on creating story maps for 5 main Forest Legacy Program Projects in Region 2. These projects include: Good Earth State Park in South Dakota, Munger Mountain in Wyoming, South Boulder Creek in Colorado, Baldwin Woods in Kansas, and Chat Canyon in Nebraska. The main purpose of these story maps is to better tell the stories of the conservation and restoration of valuable forested lands across the country and why people should care about this program. My project has allowed me to partake in a diverse array of in-office meetings as well as reach out to multiple representatives and officials at various state and national level positions to learn more about these projects across Region 2. I am excited to continue to learn more about the many accomplishments and progress that the Forest Legacy Program has been making through the many projects it has funded since its establishment so that I can take what I learn about the many benefits of conserving and restoring forests around us back to my community and studies.
When did you realize you wanted to explore public service?
Coming into college, I did not know much about what I would be studying or where I will be working after graduation. However, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to utilize public service programs to study abroad and gain experiences in public service through programs like CAPAL. These experiences have influenced me to want to continue to explore the public sector and its many impacts in the communities we live in today. I also see experiences in public service to be valuable regardless of what sector I may end up working for in the future as I am always learning new things.
What are your plans/ goals after this internship? Are there any goals you want to accomplish this summer?
After this internship, I hope to be able to have a more clear picture of what my next step will be after finishing college and what I want to pursue in the future. I would like to experience a little bit of everything before deciding to go in one direction. I plan to go to graduate school to study Health Care Management after graduating college but am still deciding if going straight into graduate school after graduation from college is the right path for me. This summer, I hope to use my time at U.S. Forest Service to learn more about working for the public sector, gain practical skills to be used in the workplace and talk to people about their different experiences.
What are you looking forward to in DC?
I look forward to touring the city and visiting different national landmarks, while also checking out some of the more popular local places to eat. I also hope to tour some more surrounding cities, like New York and Boston, while I am in the East Coast.
What do you do for fun?
I like to be a foodie and look for popular local restaurants and ice cream shops. I also like to take naps and try cooking new recipes for friends and family when at home.
Any advice to those who want to apply to the CAPAL program/ go into public service? The many different public service opportunities provided by the CAPAL program provides an outlet for students of any major and background to be able to have a new and exciting learning experience. I would highly recommend the CAPAL program for those that want to learn more about various public service opportunities in government and for anyone that has or has not considered a career in government to be able to experience more and leave knowing more about oneself and what one wants.
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.