The first Intern Spotlight this week is Divina Li from from Brooklyn, NY. She recently graduated from NYU, and this summer she is interning with the USDA Forest Service.

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

Public Service never had an ‘aha’ moment for me. It was a facet of my life that was constantly developed since childhood – whether I was on the receiving end as a kid in subsidized Brooklyn community daycare or when I was a volunteer English teacher in Shanghai. We benefit so much from our community in ways we never think about, giving back should feel just as natural.

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

At the USDA Forest Service, I work in Cooperative Forestry, specifically in Wood Innovation Grants. I currently have three projects on my plate – 1. Research sustainable wood structures currently in use and help the Forest Service create a website highlighting those structures and their applicability in the United States, 2. Obtain permits for models of tall wood buildings to be displayed to the public and 3. Review grant proposals. Big picture – I look forward to observing and facilitating private-public sector cooperation on sustainable development, small picture – I look forward to seeing the website completed and the building displays up (hopefully by the time I return to DC next summer), smaller picture – I look forward to lunch.

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

This internship falls right into my academic and professional focus – environmental advocacy. Specifically in state-private cooperative forestry, I hope to gain more insight on private sector stake in the environment and shift my focus to the domestic policy arena. At my last summer internship at the UN, people loved using the buzzword “corporate social responsibility” – I’d like to see that in action with the Forest Service.

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

I longboard and I’m into photography. You should follow my instagram: DivinaKano

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

13450807 10210263163763966 9026921327559424793 n 300x169 CAPAL Intern Spotlight Divina Li 16I’m excited to do everything. I just want to explore and see as much as possible (within budget of course) with my fellow interns.

I would love to take selfies with some politicians. I was very close to meeting Marco Rubio on my first night here. Last week I met Representative Grace Meng and was just starstruck.

Divina is a recent graduate from New York University with a BA in Environmental Studies and concentrations in Politics and Chinese language and culture. American-born Chinese, born and raised in Brooklyn, Divina is passionate about issues that specifically affect the APA community. This has led her to participate in the publicity committee of NYC Asian American Student Conference. Additionally, Divina’s academic and professional interests lie in climate policy, equal access to resources and energy, and sustainable development. This green background has manifested into years of experiences with Airtek Environmental, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, and NYU Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity. These opportunities have allowed her to explore the environmental field in both private sector and small businesses as well as in policy-building and international NGOs. In the past few years she has studied and travelled abroad in Asia and Europe. Divina is looking forward to broadening her experience with federal environmental policy from this internship with USDA-FS. In her spare time she loves travel, adventures, photography and longboarding (so environmentally friendly).

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.