Marcia Saetang is a rising junior at Wesleyan University. She is pursuing a double major in Government and Economics and is working to receive her Certificate in the College of East Asian Studies or International Relations. This summer, she is interning at the US Department of Agricultural Marketing Service.
What major projects are you working on in your internship? What responsibilities are you most excited about and why?
This summer I’m working at the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services agency. Within the Marketing Order and Agreement Division, I’ll be looking into updating new resource materials for our customers and stakeholders. I’ll be recording my voice to accompany an informational PowerPoint presentation that will be publicly accessible online. I think it’d be really neat to figure out how to project my personality through my voice as I explain our regulatory procedures, so I am looking forward to completing that project.
When did you realize you wanted to explore public service?
It wasn’t until after high school that I decided to expand my interest in public service. After attending the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, I got a fantastic scope of the STEM field but was driven by my involvement in student leadership and community engagement. With that, I reflected on my own story. Coming from a low-income family in which I was the first to attend college, I realized just how much support I received that allowed me to have the opportunities I had despite facing various obstacles. It was then that I decided look into a career in government, which paved my academic plan at Wesleyan University. Ultimately my curiosity is the reason why I am in DC this summer, and I hope to dive deeper into what public service really looks like.
What are your plans/ goals after this internship? Are there any goals you want to accomplish this summer?
Throughout this summer, I plan to give my 100% in the workplace and I hope to start forming my own professional brand. I’d like to have a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses, look into what potential careers will best accompany those skills, and hopefully tailor the rest of my future plans to explore those options. Other goals include learning to cook more dishes, memorizing the subway system in DC, and developing lasting relationships with my CAPAL cohort and others.
What are you looking forward to in DC / where your internship is located?
As someone who has never stayed in the city before, I’m excited to go to museums, explore the monuments, and attend free events that the city has to offer throughout the summer. There seems to be a million things to do, and I hope to get as many things checked off the bucket list as possible. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the USDA building where I work is right next to the National Mall—I don’t know if it gets any better than that!
What do you do for fun?
I love watching kids’ movies in my free time—they’re fun, imaginative, and often teach a valuable lesson. My favorites include Beauty and the Beast, the Toy Story series, and Spirited Away. You can also find me listening to some of the latest rap and hip hop songs in the gym, but in other settings I am a huge fan of romantic R&B. I’m a big adventurer and enjoy the adrenaline rush of doing things like skydiving or even performing on stage, but on the other hand I love to relax. I am always up for café conversations… especially if there’s food involved.
Any advice to those who want to apply to the CAPAL program/ go into public service?
Be passionate. I’ve found that being passionate about public service has helped me express my interests better during interviews and to my supervisor. Although I don’t necessarily know the specifics of what I want to do yet, the fact that I’ve voiced my eagerness to engage has really allowed me to connect with people both inside and outside of the CAPAL program.
Be yourself. This is one of the most important things I’ve learned as an intern. I’ve met so many people of different backgrounds who all have different areas of expertise. Public service for me was not about figuring out how to fit into the system, but more of understanding how my unique perspective and qualities can help contribute to the conversation.
What has been the most interesting/ meaningful thin you’ve learned from CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program so far? Why?
I’ve learned about just how diverse our AANHPI community is, and how important it is that we’re educated in the history of each other’s stories. The panelists from the Washington Leadership Program encouraged us to find ways in which we could advocate for awareness not only within the AANHPI community, but for other racial and ethnic groups as well. I was inspired by this because I realized the importance of open discussions and being a good listener, which would be crucial in forming a more cohesive support system for the causes I support.
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.