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Our CAPAL Intern Spotlight is Lauren LeVan, a rising sophomore at the University of Virginia, who interned at the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-AHPIS) this summer.

What are your main responsibilities at your position? What are some of your big projects?

A lot of what I do is data collection and analysis. The Lacey Act strives to prevent illegal harvesting and ¬†importing of wood products into the United States by requiring importers to declare the wood products. We have a lot of paper declarations and my supervisor is trying to create a database that will detect fraudulent declarations. It’s a really cool up and coming program, and I am super excited to be helping create the foundation by digging through the raw data.

How does this internship/scholarship fit with your professional and career goals?

I eventually want to go to law school, so looking at this newly amended policy and how it translates from a law to an enforceable entity is really fascinating. I am not sure where I want to concentrate in the legal field, so getting to try a field like environmental law is a great experience.

What do you hope to achieve this summer through your scholarship/internship experience?

I think experience in and of itself is the biggest thing I want to achieve this summer. I just finished my first year at the University of Virginia, so this is my first time getting to work in a professional setting with macro-level consequences. I am really interested in seeing how the many different departments of the government and within each agency cooperate and conduct their affairs.

What does public service mean to you?

Public service to me represents moving forward on an individual level to accomplish the forwarding of our entire society. I think we take for granted how much we need people in the public sector to continually push for progress and improvements.

What do you consider to be the most interesting thing about you?

I think the most interesting thing about me is that I have so many interests. I am willing to try anything and everything at least once, so it’s fun to see where that takes me. I’ve had a lot of diverse experiences from studying abroad in Korea during high school, to joining a sorority in college. I consider all of these experiences an integral part of who I am and how I perceive things every day.

What are you most excited to do in Washington D.C. this summer?

I grew up in Northern Virginia, so D.C. was always a hop, skip and a jump away. I never really thought about how much goes on in this area besides big events and festivals, or visiting museums and monuments. So getting to experience DC as a government worker has transformed the way I see and view DC this summer.

My name is Lauren LeVan, and I am a rising second year at the University of Virginia. I am currently studying English with the intent to go forwards onto law school. At school I am heavily involved in my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, Beach Volleyball Club, and was previously a member of our semester-long APALTI program, which is very similar to CAPAL in that it gets the dialogue going within the APA community concerning issues of representation and leadership. As a first generation American, I have always been extremely proud of my culture and the sacrifices my family made to come to United States and live out the American dream. I am incredibly privileged to have the freedoms and opportunities that were often denied to my ancestors. As a result I would like to give back to the APA community and help those who still have yet to fully obtain those freedoms. I am very excited to be a part of CAPAL and look forward to seeing how I can influence the program, and how it will better me as an intern, APA community member and overall person.

Meet all of our 2015 CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.

IMG 7976 108x150 CAPAL Intern Spotlight Lauren LeVanPosted 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