Our CAPAL Intern Spotlight is Thanh-Thanh Pham, who is entering her last semester of her senior year at Louisiana State University, and interned at University of Agriculture – Rural Development (USDA-RD) this summer.

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

I work directly with the public information coordinator at the USDA-RD Tennessee State Office. My main responsibilities consist of drafting and sending out news releases of TN USDA-related events to local media and writing success stories for the website. In addition, I heavily use InDesign and Photoshop to create any graphics such as banners needed for TN USDA events. One project I am working on is a pull-up banner design for the TN USDA office which will be used for promotional purposes and to have displayed at events. In addition, I was assigned to create a program agenda and a course outline for the TN State Training Meeting. I was recently put on the Cultural Transformation Team and designated as a committee leader to lead the “Mr./Ms. Area/State Office” awards which rewards one male and one female from each USDA area or state office who best exemplifies outstanding USDA customer service. I was also given the ongoing task of editing professional head shots of all area and program directors to be placed on the website and across other media platforms.

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

This internship fits well with my professional and career goals because I am gaining first-hand experience on public relations work. I did not expect to be able to take on what feels like such high responsibility for a student intern at the agency. The work that I do has already taught me so much, and I know this experience will help me in the long-run with my goals as a publicist. I believe this internship has opened my eyes to wanting to seriously work in public service in the future.

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

I hope to gain a better understanding of public service. In particular to my field of study, I hope this internship will enhance my communications and writing skills as a publicist.

What does public service mean to you?

To me, public service means working towards the greater good. Although the workload may be a lot more to take on, the ends will always justify the means. Public service is about helping to make those around me happier and more satisfied with public goods and services. The Return on Investment in public service should always be high enough that it outweighs all costs in the process.

unnamed 13 CAPAL Intern Spotlight Thanh Thanh Pham 15What do you consider to be the most interesting thing about you?

Aside from my side singing hobby, I think one of the most interesting things about me is that I can be very ambitious, and I strive for my goals. Although I may not seem like that type of person from the outside, I tend to set goals for myself, to make sure I accomplish them or get as close as I can to achieving them.

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

This summer, I enjoyed finally meeting my CAP group at the Washington Leadership Program Closing Ceremony. In addition, my supervisor at the TN State Office is working toward setting a meeting time with Jay Fletcher for me, who will give me a tour of the USDA RD DC public affairs office while I am in town.

Thanh-Thanh is entering her last semester of her senior year at Louisiana State University. She is majoring in mass communication with a concentration in public relations and minoring in business. Thanh-Thanh has been involved within her Vietnamese-American community and in various student organizations for quite some time. She was an active member in the Vietnamese Student Association at LSU and took on an executive position for all three years of her college career. This past year, she was elected as President for VSA-LSU and will serve as the organization’s senior adviser this upcoming semester. She has been involved with the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations after becoming a recipient of the UNAVSA-10 Visionary Scholarship. Since then, she joined the Conference Marketing Committee for the UNAVSA-12 Conference. On her free time, Thanh-Thanh enjoys singing, shopping and watching TV shows. Although she does not know what the future holds, she plans to utilize her time from graduating early to explore more internship opportunities and gain better experience before she fully enters the workforce.

Meet all of our 2015 CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.

IMG 7976 108x150 CAPAL Intern Spotlight Thanh Thanh Pham 15Posted 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 ( 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