CAPAL Intern Profile: Jared Leung
The final deadline to apply for the CAPAL Federal Internship Program is TOMORROW, March 7. The deadline for the CAPAL Public Service Scholarship Program has been extended to March 14. Remember to submit your applications!
This week, CAPAL’s alumni spotlight features Jared Leung, a 2013 graduate of CAPAL’s Federal Internship Program.
As a CAPAL intern this past summer, I gained experience working for an impactful federal agency and had the opportunity to learn about Asian Pacific American (APA) issues across the country. By working in a federal agency and also getting involved at CAPAL events, I had the opportunity to synthesize and integrate the APA experience and perspective into the public sector, as there is a small APA presence in the public sector. Such unique opportunities are uncommon, which makes my time as a CAPAL intern special.
Before beginning the CAPAL Federal Internship with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service in Washington DC, most of my previous experience was in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I’m originally from. My interest in APA issues began when I interned with a local political campaign in high school and became interested in voter mobilization and the importance of multilingual access at the polls on Election Day. More specifically, I was concerned that language barriers could limit the ability for minority groups to exercise their right to vote, especially the APA community. I was eventually able to work on this issue as a Voting Rights Intern with the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco for the 2012 elections, which I found to be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience.
However, my awareness of APA issues has certainly expanded since then, and I credit CAPAL’s plethora of programs for broadening my knowledge of matters that impact my community both locally and nationally. The insight I gained through the internship was tremendously impactful – not just because of my daily work with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, but also through CAPAL’s offerings, such as the Washington Leadership Program (WLP) and the Roundtable discussions with APA leaders.
The WLP was one of the highlights of my summer. Each week, my fellow CAPAL interns and I listened to prominent members of the APA community speak. In addition to the fascinating speakers and discussions from each WLP session, these events were a great opportunity to meet fellow interns and share our perspectives and common interests in APA issues and establish lasting friendships.
Most importantly, my internship this past summer was memorable because of the people that I had met and worked with. I credit my supervisor and staff at the Forest Service, my CAPAL mentor, and the CAPAL Board Members for being incredibly helpful and insightful during my time in D.C. Each was more than willing to share their experiences and provide advice and assistance in pursuing my career interests. I’m extremely grateful for their help. Whether it was receiving advice about working in the public or private sector, discussing APA issues, or attending professional development events, the mentoring opportunities available were extremely valuable as I start to pursue a career in both law and public service.
Looking back on my time as a part of CAPAL’s Federal Internship Program, I can say with certainty that it has been an incredibly influential internship experience. As my time as an undergraduate comes to a close, I hope that my career will lead me back to Washington D.C. in the near future. I know my experiences as a CAPAL intern have prepared me well for my future endeavors. If you are interested in public service, I can think of no better opportunity to participate in an incredible internship experience with CAPAL in the nation’s capital.
Jared Leung is currently in his fourth year at UC Berkeley. He is a Political Economy major and a Public Policy minor, and is currently working to complete his senior thesis, which focuses on the implications of redevelopment of the Central Market neighborhood in San Francisco. A born and raised San Franciscan, he has spent the majority of his life in the Bay Area. As a CAPAL intern this past summer, he interned with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. After graduation, Jared hopes to pursue a career in law and public service. In his free time, he enjoys following the San Francisco Giants, the 49ers, and the Warriors, playing soccer, and exploring new restaurants around the Bay Area.
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From CAPAL Scholar to CAPAL Chair: A Path Through Public Service
The deadline for the CAPAL Public Service Scholarship Program has been extended to March 14. The final deadline to apply for the CAPAL Federal Internship Program is March 7. Submit your applications today!
This week, CAPAL’s alumni spotlight features Rebecca Lee, Advisor for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders* and an alumna of CAPAL’s Public Service Scholarship Program.
I believe everything happens for a reason. In this case, the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) came to me at the right time in my life.
As my classmates and I crammed in practice case interviews between our group projects and problem sets during graduate school, I wondered if there were summer internship opportunities beyond the companies recruiting on campus.
And I wondered what it would be like to work for the mystical federal government. Could I really make a difference? Would I be taking too much a risk by straying from what my classmates were doing? Would I put my degree to good use? Could I get paid? Could I get a full-time job afterward? It was by a stroke of luck that a friend told me to apply for the CAPAL Public Service Scholarship and try out a summer in Washington.
And so I threw my name in the hat. But with only a few weeks left until summer, I was skeptical of my chances because I had not heard anything. But then, I got a call from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), offering me a summer internship. And CAPAL had agreed to fund my internship.
The summer interning with HHS was transformative. I worked in the communications office for Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, and also supported the Surgeon General of the United States. The issues that I worked on – coordinating a response to the Gulf oil spill to the launch of health reform and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative – were affecting millions of Americans and shaping the health of the country at large. I was inspired by Dr. Koh’s commitment to Asian American and Pacific Islander health issues, from addressing disparities like hepatitis B and diabetes that disproportionately affect the community to making information accessible in Asian languages. The internship in Dr. Koh’s office sparked a passion in me that I wanted to continue professionally.
The best part of my experience as a CAPAL Scholar was not only my job, but also the community I became part of. Every Wednesday, I joined nearly a hundred other interns in CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program, a seven-week policy and leadership development series geared at AAPI interns. I cannot forget the inspiring remarks by Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on AAPIs, and Congresswoman Judy Chu as they shared stories of their paths through public service. It was one of the first times I had seen strong AAPI women in such important positions making a difference for the public and for the community.
After that summer interning in DC, I wanted to come back. And so I did after graduation, and decided to apply for CAPAL’s Board of Directors. During my three years on the Board, including one year serving as CAPAL Chair, I learned firsthand the commitment and long hours of an all-volunteer board in putting together the organization’s many youth development programs, including the CAPAL Scholarship and Internship Program and the Washington Leadership Program. I am thankful for the leadership experience gained through both my summer experience as a CAPAL Scholar and on the Board.
I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without CAPAL. It opened doors for me to explore and pursue a career in public service. It provided me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in the federal government and connected me to the right people to continue that journey. And in its 25th year, CAPAL continues to open doors for students beyond me.
For students who are wondering what public service is all about, I encourage you to apply for the CAPAL Public Service Scholarship by March 14,2014 and Federal Internship Program by March 7, 2014, and participate in the Washington Leadership Program this summer.
Rebecca Lee is an Advisor for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In this capacity, she oversees the Initiative’s strategic communications portfolio. Rebecca joined the Initiative as a President Management Fellow from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she has worked in its public affairs, health information technology, and public health offices. Prior to her fellowship, she was a senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton specializing in strategic communications for federal health clients. Rebecca received her BS from Cornell University and MPH from Columbia University. At Cornell, she led a diverse coalition to found the Asian & Asian-American Center, a resource center for the AAPI community on campus. Rebecca served as Chair of CAPAL in 2013. Under her leadership, CAPAL awarded an unprecedented number of scholarships to students to take on public sector internships and had the largest graduating class of its annual Washington Leadership Program.
* Titles are used for identification purposes only.
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