Hi everyone! My name is Sharon Le and I’m currently attending the University of Virginia, double majoring in Psychology and Spanish, on the Pre-Law track. This summer I am working as one of the Office Interns for CAPAL, coordinating and executing events to help CAPAL’s mission of increasing access to public service for AANHPI youth.
What are you excited to learn about during your internship this summer?
I am currently learning the ropes of non-profit management and there is so much event planning and outreach that goes behind it all. What I’m most excited to learn about though, would have to be navigating this space – DC, business professional, working a 9-5, working on the Community Action Project – because not only am I learning so much from all of these things, I’ve gotten to know my mentors and they’re helping me every step of the way, and there is a cohort all doing the same thing I am so I don’t feel alone at all.
Currently I assist with all the logistics that go into planning CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Programs, AANHPI Roundtable Series, and our annual Career Fair. This means I email many many people, work collaboratively and individually every day, and have many phone calls. But this also means I get to meet so many people working in a very diverse environment, so I am exposed to a very wide range of careers and opportunities.
I’m actually super stoked to be organizing the 2018 Networking and Career Fair, because this is my opportunity to really refine many professional development skills and I’m so excited to call this project my own. Having the chance to get to know all these important people and really working so closely with the other CAPAL staff is amazing because I know for sure these professional and personal relationships are hard to make but I have the privilege to do so directly with my work.
What are some things that you did not expect coming into the internship?
I did not expect the amount of tasks given to me, and really having to force myself to manage my time better. I thought I was on top of things at school but working a 9-5 with events after work, trying to balance social life and mental health on top of that was exhausting at first. But really getting used to the flow of things and sleeping earlier ultimately helped me realize why adults don’t go to bed at 3am in the morning. And I did not realize having an intern cohort would be so much fun, everyone I’ve met so far are some of the brightest and funniest people ever and I’m so grateful for this opportunity.
I also was oblivious to the amount of event planning that goes into a non-profit organization, it’s practically non-stop! I have been planning events ever since early high school so this really was up my alley, and I am having a love/hate relationship with it. It’s tough because event planning relies on a lot of people, and most of the time it’s the attendees that make the event: whether it’s attendance, punctuality, participation – events can’t happen without the them, so we work really hard to promote all of those things. It’s incredibly rewarding to see people enjoying the events you plan, and that’s what has kept me going after the pep rallies and prom and homecomings of high school, to now planning professional development and networking events.
Why did you decide to spend your summer with CAPAL?
I wanted to spend this summer in DC with CAPAL specifically because I know that working in the office will teach me many useful things and give me exposure to not only the coolest people I’ve gotten a chance to meet but also first hand experience working directly with people in public service, in the federal government, and in the private sector as well.
After the first week, I knew that I made the right decision picking CAPAL because at that point I was already trained to do so many things they don’t teach you in class, and gotten a chance to learn what goes behind operating a non-profit, working so closely with Felicia – the Programs and Operations Associate (coolest boss ever), AND know how to articulate everything for my résumé and future interviews!
Free time? I don’t know her…
In all honesty, whenever I get some time for myself during this busy summer I like to work out or find a restaurant or bubble tea place to try with my best friends, or take a good nap. I also love to go anywhere aesthetically pleasing to get pictures taken (as I am weirdly incompetent at taking photos of others), if you ever need an art museum buddy let me know!! -> @botanical garden
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.
I read this somewhere and it just stuck with me ever since, but since then, whenever I’m in a highly stressful or rough situation, I would remain a lot calmer than I used to be, and it has helped me get through the toughest times with my head high and a smile.
It’s also a really positive reminder that no matter where you are in life, better times are to come, so don’t stress too much, because it will definitely be okay!
Meet all of our CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.
Sharon Le is a rising third-year student at the University of Virginia, double majoring in Psychology and Spanish, on the Pre-Law track. Sharon served as the External Vice President for the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA@UVA) the past year, and is also involved in Phi Alpha Delta – the International Pre-Law Fraternity, and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team at the University. She was greatly exposed to the Asian Pacific American representation not only through her involvement with the Vietnamese community in Northern Virginia with VSA but also through her background – having grown up in Vietnam and moving to America in high school. Sharon hopes to promote Asian Pacific American leadership with her commitments and to give the community a bigger voice in the country.