Our CAPAL Intern Spotlight this week is Jarrod Zenjiro Suda, an incoming fourth year at the University of California, Berkeley and currently interning at the National Credit Union Association (NCUA).
What are your main responsibilities at your position? What are some of your big projects?
As an intern in the Office of the Chief Information Officer, I assist the Project Management team complete Information Technology-related tasks. I have completed market research and software testing. I also conducted interviews throughout the office in order to create an office-wide inventory of projects. This inventory has helped my supervisor gain a holistic view of his office’s productivity and work capacity.
How does this internship/scholarship fit with your professional and career goals?
CAPAL’s professional development events, like the Washington Leadership Program and the AAPI Leadership Roundtable series, have been instrumental in building my professional network. For example, I recently got breakfast with Mr. Floyd Mori, CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS). I was so surprised and grateful to have gained that connection.
Living in Washington, D.C. has provided me with a window into life away from home and school. More importantly, the city has brought me into contact with businesses and agencies that I could see myself working with a few years down the line.
What do you hope to achieve this summer through your scholarship/internship experience?
As I walk through this youthful and uncertain time in life, opportunities present themselves everywhere. I want to choose the opportunity that best fits my interests and best fulfills my aspirations. This summer will provide me with the insight to make a more informed decision.
I am learning how to be present. It is easy to dwell on the past or worry about the future. Rather than live my life according to a preconceived path, I am learning to be true to my interests now. I am learning how to be inspired by and aware of the moments that led up to this point in my life. To attend UC Berkeley, to live in Washington, D.C., to be surrounded by AAPI students not studying STEM, to sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial: what could be more miraculous that this?
What does public service mean to you?
Public service is a commitment to a universal moral code that guarantees that all citizens have their rights protected. Those in public service provide their constituents with access to certain rights such as water, electricity, emergency services, education, and health care. As an Asian American and a Pacific Islander, I feel a responsibility to ensure that the AAPI community has these services.
What do you consider to be the most interesting thing about you?
I find my family history particularly interesting. My father is Japanese-American and my mother is Filipino-American.
My great-grandfather Zenjiro Suda immigrated to Hawaii in the late 1800s as a farmer. He later settled in Fresno, CA where he raised my grandfather Willy Suda. My grandfather enrolled in the US Army during WWII and conducted research in the continental United States. I also have some great uncles who served in the all Japanese-American 442nd Infantry Regiment. My grandmother Lily Suda lived in the Poston, AZ internment camp during WWII. I take great pride knowing that my family endured through this dark time in US history. As a sign of respect to those who came before me, I will continue to preserve the very powerful Japanese-American history because I believe that people need to know what happened.
My grandfather Jesse Barizo and grandmother Ruth Barizo emigrated from the Philippines after WWII. During WWII, my grandfather hid in the mountains above his village in order to evade the incoming Imperial Japanese Navy. He once told me a story about a time when he carried his younger brother on his back as he ran for the hills during a bombing. My grandmother, who came from a wealthier family, housed Japanese soldiers in her home. She even learned some Japanese during the occupation. She often played piano to entertain the visiting soldiers. In search of a better life, my grandparents moved to Canada and then to Los Angeles, CA.
In order to cultivate a sense of cultural identity, aspects such as language, community, food, and architecture are incredibly important. However, I believe that knowing your history is of utmost necessity.
What are you most excited to do in Washington D.C. this summer?
I live in the University of California Center. There is a piano in the 10th floor communal area. I’d like to jam out with my guitar-playing friend sometime.
My name is Jarrod Suda and I am from Pasadena, CA. I am an incoming senior at UC Berkeley pursuing a degree in Development Studies. I also have a minor in Global Poverty and Practice (GPP) and Geospatial Information Systems and Technology (GIS). This summer, I am interning at the National Credit Union Administration in the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Upon graduation, I hope to travel to the Philippines and Japan to regain some connection with the culture and history of my heritages. Aside from professional life, I enjoy surfing, playing jazz piano, growing bonsai trees, and watching California Bay Area sports.
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