Our CAPAL Intern Spotlight is Tiffany Chong, an incoming second year at the University of Virginia, interning this summer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS).

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

I’m in the Office of Budget and Program Management of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). The ARS is the main research agency within the USDA, so a lot of the budget information I deal with relates to research! I’m mainly helping with consolidating and organizing budget history files, as well as assisting in the transition from an old to new tracking system. An example of a project I’ve worked on is consolidating data that spans over ten years for easier accessibility. Basically, a lot of Excel!

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

I hope to pursue a business-related career path, and this internship will help me explore potential fields that I would not otherwise have had the chance to. The amount of exposure I’ve had so far to public service, AAPI issues, and activism has reignited my passion to serve my community. I’ve been blessed to have the opportunities to cross paths with people who genuinely care about improving others’ lives, and more importantly, are taking measurable action towards it. While I have also attained and refined other leadership and communication skills, I believe this fire and passion is what will carry on with me the most. No matter where I end up going in life, I hope to always have confidence and faith in the work I put forward.  

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

Coming into this internship, I thought I understood what it meant to be a leader; I thought I understood the importance of maintaining relationships and connecting with others. However, before now I was never put into a situation where I truly experienced leadership while being a team member, until now. In terms of skills, I hope to strengthen my networking and communication because there’s always room to improve! But what I really hope to achieve are long, lasting relationships. The people I have met have had such a positive influence on my outlook of the future. I hope after this summer we can still be a part of each others’ journey. 


What does public service mean to you?

Public service is showing your appreciation for all the opportunities you’ve been given. No matter what background or environment you come from, we all have been provided with opportunities, and public service is a way to give back those opportunities to others. It’s a cycle, a pay-it-forward, that we all must individually help continue. As Andy Grammer said, “Think about the world and what I got, it’s a beautiful, beautiful day.” I’m thinking about everything I have and everyone close to me, and how incredibly lucky I am. Public service is my way of showing that appreciation.

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

One of the most interesting things about me is that in high school, I was a part of a Dragon Dance team, and now in college, I’m in a Lion Dance troupe! (Pictured above). At first, when I joined the New World Bilingual Institute’s (NWBI) Dragon Dance team, I just did it because my parents thought it was a good idea (thanks Mom and Dad!) However, as time passed, I began to realize the amount of pride I had in my team and in my culture. We were performing and sharing our rich culture with others. In addition, all the money raised from our Dragon performances went directly into the NWBI Hope Fund, which was donated to underprivileged students in rural China. Now in college, I’m fortunate enough to continue that pride and culture performing not as a dragon, but as a lion! The people you perform with and the reception from the audience just adds to the already fulfilling experience.

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

Meeting people from all over the nation and hearing their stories! I’m also a native to Northern Virginia, yet I’ve never really explored D.C., so I hope to find all the hidden places I never knew existed and eat all the delicious food this city has to offer, with my CAPAL family, of course!

I am a Northern Virginia native, born and raised. I am a rising second-year at the University of Virginia, currently on the Pre-Commerce track. Although I’m not quite sure what exact career path I’d like to pursue, I absolutely would love to contribute back to my community through my career. At the University of Virginia, I’m involved in the Vietnamese Student Association, the Virginia Sil’hooettes (an all-female a Capella group), and Future Business Leaders of America. In my free time, I love singing, looking up DIY projects and recipes, and watching Netflix!


Meet all of our 2015 CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.

IMG 7976 108x150 CAPAL Intern Spotlight Tiffany Chong 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