This post highlights Stephanie Xiao a native of the Northern Mariana Islands District. She is a rising third year at the University of Virginia and is one of CAPAL’s scholars for the summer, interning at the office of Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.
What was the moment in your life when you realized you wanted to explore public service?
The experience of having lived in two vastly diverse countries fosters my passion for public policy work. I was born in Saipan, a tiny island located in the Northern Marianas. I then spent the next thirteen years of my life in Shanghai, China, before returning to Saipan for high school when I was fourteen. Saipan is an incredibly multicultural place, and this small island brought me varied encounters that broadened my horizon and led to my maturation. Struck by the huge difference between Saipan and Shanghai, I hope to reduce poverty and improve people’s living conditions in isolated and impoverished areas like Saipan. This determination drives me to enter public service and the public policy field.
Did you find anything surprising about your internship or doing public service work?
Absolutely. I got a chance to know a more approachable side of Congressmen. Residents and citizens in the District look up to Congressmen because of their position in government. However, after I personally talked with my Congressman and I saw things from his perspective, he became my new role model. Every single bill he reads through and time he spends at his desk are for his people and public service. I was very surprised when his spine operation finished on Thursday and he went right back to work early Monday morning. I also asked the Congressman what he does for fun, and he said “work.” I want my future job be meaningful.
How does this internship help you with your professional goals? What do you want to get out of it?
I want to pursue my passion in international development policy. By interning on Capitol Hill, I gain a clear understanding on legislative process. Domestic policy can give me a fundamental concept on international development policy.
What is something that most people would not know about you?
Most people would not know that I have spent 5 years of my life on an island which only take an hour drive around the island. My experience as an islander shaped who I am today, being caring and appreciated.
What are you most excited to do in Washington D.C. (or wherever you are)?
All the amazing tours of the White House, Pentagon, CIA, State Department and Capitol that CAPAL has set up for the scholars and interns. You can actually read all about them in our Weekly Wrap-Ups and it’s great being able to go back and read through the memories.
Stephanie Xiao was born in Saipan, a beautiful tiny island located in the Northern Mariana, part of the U.S. territory. She also spent many years living in Shanghai, China. Currently, Stephanie is a rising third year at University of Virginia, Frank Batten School of Public Policy and Leadership. At school, she is the Campus-Based Leader President of Gates Millennium Scholars Foundation and the Vice President of Global Student Council. Stephanie has volunteered at Youth Village for Alternative Spring Break in Memphis, Tennessee. Stephanie is a lead speaker and panelist, having spoken on Women Economic Forum in New Delhi, India, in regard to poverty issues in developing countries and social responsibility. This summer, Stephanie will be interning in Congressman Gregorio Sablan’s office on Capitol Hill. Stephanie’s long-term career goal is to work for the World Bank or the BRICS New Development Bank to help those in need.
Meet all of our CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.
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.