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They were on the hunt. Seen scouring museums for the best opportunities for goofy pictures and selfies, two groups of Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) interns competed with each other in a scavenger hunt organized by CAPAL Programs and Operations Associate Andrew Lo. They traveled from 4th St. to 12th St. then back again for two hours on a sunny Saturday afternoon, realizing all the opportunities to take advantage of the free education provided by the museums in Washington DC. As part of the scavenger hunt, each group was given 5 incomplete phrases that they were tasked to complete with pictures they took of each other in each of the museums they visited. For example, a phrase could be “___it’s a trap!” and the interns had to take a picture of something to complete that phrase, at which point Andrew would judge the creativity of their photo-answer. The activity was goofy and fun, but also indicated the interns’ abilities to make meaningful connections between concepts, even if they were not evident at the start.

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This idea was reinforced during the week at CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program Session III: Environmental Justice when the first presenter, Charles Lee (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Deputy Associate Assistant Administrator for Environmental Justice), stated, “one of the hardest things to do has been to convey, to integrate environmental justice into governmental decision making.” He cited the potential to improve upon the understanding of environmental justice and its relation to mainstream social justice topics, hoping that with continued education on these issues, greater mobilization and recognition for environmental movements such as those he’d begun in the past would occur. The panel that followed, composed of Charles, Ann Li (Groundswell – Program Manager), and Piyachat Terrell (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – National Program Manager) went on to discuss the importance of finding the connections between environmental issues and race, socioeconomic class, consumerism. It was evident that this environmental justice is truly intersectional, but the challenge lies in making its applicability mainstream.

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Irene Bueno (Nueva Vista Group LLC – Co-Founder, CAPAL – Board Alum) touched on the importance of making these connections in this week’s AAPI Roundtable Series, where she discussed the start of her work in the AAPI community and how she molded her career by taking skills she’d learned and applying them to continue work she was passionate about. Her interests lay in connecting AAPIs with public policy opportunities, connecting her law education with policy advocacy endeavors, connecting herself with mentors who would help her grow into her role as a leader in the AAPI community.

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“How do we get more AAPIs involved in public policy? Why don’t we give them food!”

Irene’s advice to “never burn bridges” encapsulated the concept that not only is it important to make connections, but to maintain them, not just socially but with ideas and goals as well. This requires a degree of flexibility that CAPAL interns were taught about when they had the opportunity to participate in an informational panel with representatives from the State Department. They learned about the multitude of careers that can be pursued through the State Department, how it is necessary to communicate well and pull from diverse fonts of knowledge to be successful in a career of service, whether as foreign service officers, consuls, ambassadors.Screen Shot 2016 07 01 at 5.38.02 PM Weekly Wrap Up

Throughout the week the interns were given advice time and again from professionals who could give advice time and again. The art of making connections unified the takeaway of each event, as the interns went home to mull over what they had been given. Every day they must make connections between their work, these panels, their networks, their friends, and their aspirations to do more and to serve more than themselves. Being here this summer is the first step. The scavenger hunt continues.

If you enjoyed reading about events this week, join us next week to experience them yourself at our Resume Writing Workshop, then the week after at Washington Leadership Program Session IV: Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Reform and our 2016 AAPI Career Fair.

CAPAL’s Misison: Promote AAPI interests and success in public service careers, to provide information and education on policy issues affecting the AAPI community, and to serve the AAPI community at large.

Posted by Felicia Wong

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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 greater diversity curriculums/requirements and establishing an official APIA Studies program on campus. Felicia was also elected president of Global Medical Brigades her junior year to lead a sustainable healthcare program in Nicaragua. She hopes to connect her interests in healthcare with the community she has found in her cultural background and teachings. 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.