What was the moment in your life when you realized you wanted to explore public service?
It was not a singular moment but a length of time that extends to even now, that started when I was in high school where I was becoming more aware of racial, gender and socioeconomic disparities. This was especially apparent to me as a second generation Chinese American in the media where there was a distinct lack of diversity, and in news where the dominant narrative was either black or white, that excluded the perspective and experiences of AAPIs. From then on, with the influence of my teachers, friends, and especially my sister who was in the Peace Corp stationed in Mali, I found a way to not only represent myself but contribute to helping other people of color which was by being active in public service. Being present and visible is a form of resistance, and here I’ll be resisting with all I’ve got the erasure and marginalization of AAPI identities.
What are your main responsibilities at your position? What are you looking forward to the most in your position?
I’m responsible for assisting the Forest Service’s Sustainable Operations Coordinator Bobbie Jo Skibo on any interdisciplinary projects to carry out Executive Order 13653: Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. Our focus is currently on reducing the R-10 Alaska Region Forest Service climate change footprint by conducting a waste audit, presenting our findings to the regional office staff to raise more awareness on achieving net zero waste, and developing a method of analyzing the Forest Service’s covered facilities to determine which energy conservation measures (ECMs) can be implemented economically to bring the facilities up to high performance and sustainable building (HPSB) standards. I’m looking forward to learning the ways in which the federal government is trying to reduce their climate change footprint and being able to help in a small part to make our government more sustainable for the future.
Did you find anything surprising about your internship or doing public service work?
I met so many great people who were enthusiastic about working for the Forest Service and learned that the Forest Service has many career options available ranging from civil engineering to soil scientist and from fishery management to plant pathologist. I didn’t know the Forest Service’s job was so broad, and it is very fulfilling to be able to help promote green initiatives with people who care so much for the planet and the forest.
What motivates you?
Something more. It’s a combination of greed and curiosity but I want to achieve and experience and learn everything I can. There’s so much I do not know, so much of navigating the social waters, testing career paths, tasting different cultures. I enjoy planning and setting goals and I feel very satisfied when I’m able to achieve those goals, whether it be simply get a good seat in a movie theatre for a Pixar movie, to grasp a biology concept, successfully have a sunny beach day with my friends or figure out what flour not to add to macaron batter. I want to collect as many different experiences as possible and grasp at the happiness my parents wanted to gift me when they immigrated to this country.
When you get off work, what do you do? What are your weekend activities?
Since I’m in Juneau, Alaska, I try to hike the amazing hiking trails through the U.S’s largest national forest the Tongass when it’s a sunny day. I’ve walked to see the Mendenhall Glacier, the first glacier I’ve ever seen in real life. I really enjoy cooking for myself after work because it’s relaxing and I get to try the either really good or really strange things I’ve made. I also try to read a bit everyday because I like to be whisked off into a new land. The weekends involve more exploring of the vast nature around Juneau with breaks in-between to try the delicious touristy seafood spots around downtown. I’m a big fan of the salmon and delicious crab here.
Nancy Luo is a community college student studying to transfer to a University of California as a molecular and cell biology major. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in bioengineering in the future. Nancy is passionate about the life sciences, and currently works as a museum assistant in her college’s life sciences department. Women’s and minority rights highly interest Nancy in addition to other social issues. Previously, she’s volunteered at Pathways to Peace, a peacebuilding organization, Marin Aids Project, a local program dedicated to providing HIV/AIDs services, and is currently a volunteer at Ambassadors of Hope and Opportunity which provides assistance to local homeless and at-risk youth. In her spare time, Nancy enjoys baking sweets, drawing, learning to sing and dance, spending time with her 96 year old grandma and watching dramas.
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Posted by Felicia Wong
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.