CAPAL Public Service Scholars
2015 Scholars and Interns
CAPAL Federal Interns
CAPAL Federal Interns are typically placed in internships within the federal government in Washington, DC. Interns may also be placed in regional offices throughout the country. These internship positions provide students with real-world federal government experience in a range of topics and areas. CAPAL has partnerships with Federal Agencies including Forest Service, Rural Housing Service, and the National Credit Union Association.
CAPAL Public Service Scholars
CAPAL Public Service Scholars are undergraduate and graduate students who serve in unpaid public service internships (non-profit or government) in the Washington DC area for the summer. The scholarships are intended to enable outstanding Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) students with leadership potential to work full-time and learn about ways to influence public policy in their local communities.
CAPAL Federal Interns
Karman is a proud native New Yorker and a rising senior at Fordham University, studying political science, communications and media studies. She is interested in politics, Asian American issues, and new media. When she is not busy with classes and studying, she volunteers as the program director of a Service Learning program with the Chinese-American Planning Council in Brooklyn, where she plans and hosts weekly workshops for a group of thirty local high schoolers, and coordinates events for the participants throughout the school year. Karman has attended three East Coast Asian American Student Union conferences and enjoys learning about different issues affecting the AAPI community. In the future, Karman hopes to become directly involved in the AAPI community to provide assistance to those who need it, advance social justice for AAPIs, and raise awareness about issues affecting the community. She also hopes to become involved with politics to increase representation of AAPIs in politics, and possibly work at an advertising/marketing agency. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and watching cooking shows, binging on Netflix, taking walks in green spaces, and solving puzzles.
Kenneth Chen recently graduated from University of California, Davis with a B.A. in Political Science. He emigrated from Hong Kong to the United States on 2005 when he was 13 year old. After moving, he learned more about democracy from school and became fascinated by the system here and how it helps people in need. Therefore, he decided to major in Political Science. Kenneth was an intern at San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors Malia Cohen’s office for 2 years. Since he is the only staff member in the office who knows how to read and write in Chinese, he has become the “bridge” to connect Supervisor Cohen’s office to her district’s Chinese community. Besides Interning at Supervisor Cohen’s office, he was also an Economics tutor at Skyline College. Through tutoring, he has realized the hardships that many community college students face. Their struggle to balance family, full-time work, and school is alleviated by policies that create academic and financial support crucial to students’ success which motivated him to advocate for lowering the cost of public higher education. In 2013, Kenneth applied for OCA Advocate summer internship program in Washington D.C. Through this experience, he had the opportunity to meet many passionate young advocates who share the same values and ambitions he has regarding politics. He was placed in Asian And Pacific Islanders Affairs at the D.C. Mayor’s Office, where he had the opportunity to learn about structures of the Executive Branch and the relationship between different government agencies. At UC Davis, Kenneth is an active member of Davis College Democrat (DCD) and one of the founding members of Hong Kong and Macau Student Association (HKMSA). By forming a new club at UC Davis, he hopes to promote cultural understanding and to provide a platform for students to discuss current events in Hong Kong and Macau.
My name is Dany Chhan and I am a rising sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I am double majoring in Public Health and Political Science. I am also pursuing a certificate in International Relations. I am from the North Shore area near Boston, MA but originally from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Though I was born in Cambodia, my family is very much Chinese. I want to be involved in public service as a career; either working for the federal government or NGOs. My CAPAL internship this summer with USDA- Forest Service Research & Development will allow me to understand how the federal government works and whether or not it is what I want to pursue as a career. In the future, I hope to create a non-profit organization that focuses on the issues of global health and education in developing countries. I feel that education is a crucial component to improving and changing lives. One of my biggest interests is to travel around the world and learn about different cultures. I believe that traveling is an opportunity that allows people to learn about things that cannot be taught in classrooms. My other hobbies include playing tennis, hiking, lying on the grass when it’s sunny and nice out, and baking. In addition to English, I also speak Khmer and Mandarin.
I’m a rising junior at the University of Arizona, studying English and Literacy, Learning, and Leadership. My two passions in life are art and the environment; I’m committed to exploring all the ways we can raise dialogue & create change around complex environmental issues through art–language/poetry, visual art, sculpture, public installations, and etc. I believe the purpose of life is to continuously work towards understanding all of the beautiful mysteries on this world. Generally, there two ways one can do this: by pursuing ideas in art/social science, or math/hard science. But, I think a truly special way to do this is by pursuing ideas that highlight the way art and science complement each other. I’m trying to focus my intentions on this way of understanding life–even with my irrational fear of numbers and spreadsheets! My natural abilities and skills lean towards social sciences & communication. I love coordinating events, communicating through social media platforms, and executing inspiring projects/programs! At school, I am involved in Residence Life and a program called Students for Sustainability. I enjoy reading, writing poetry, doing yoga, and running; but, most of the time, I am finding metaphors in strange objects, falling asleep in the middle of movies, collecting people’s words, and getting bitten by fire ants.
Emily Chong is a graduate of Vanderbilt University where she double majored in Political Science and Psychology and minored in Corporate Strategy; in the fall, she will be attending Georgetown Law to pursue her dream of working as an attorney for a federal agency. At Vanderbilt, Emily was involved on campus primarily through serving as Co-Cultural Vice President of the Asian American Student Association, Director-General of Secretariat for Vanderbilt’s Model United Nations Conference, and Site Leader for Alternative Spring Break, reflecting her interests in civic service, law, community building, and Asian Pacific American culture. Last summer, she fell in love with DC during her OCA internship, and she is excited to be back in DC this summer as an intern with the National Credit Union Administration. During her free time, Emily enjoys exploring new things, dancing ballet, and going on adventures!
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!
My name is Mindy Eng and I am currently a student at the University at Albany – SUNY. I am double majoring in Economics and Japanese, as well as minoring in Informatics. Both of my parents work in civil service, and have inspired me to follow a similar path. I am considering a career within the government. I’m passionate about East Asian traditional and modern culture, and my interests include East Asian languages, making jewelry and crafts in addition to drawing. I think it is important to explore both one’s intellectual and creative sides. I enjoy travelling, and hope to one day travel the world.
My name is Mohammad Siraj Haque, but I have always been called Siraj by my family. I have currently been accepted into George Mason University and will be studying to get my bachelors in criminal justice. My long term career goal is to work for the department of agriculture to help the cause for more natural foods. I am a believer in natural food healing and believe that through our dietary intake we can stop many diseases and save a lot of money on healthcare. I am intrigued by the idea of working for public service agencies to help keeping our nations public feel safe and protected at all times. I believe in hard work and efficiency and the ability to adapt to any situation presented to me. I also have hobbies which include teaching and competing in a self defense martial art, called Brazilian Jiu-Jits, as well as playing and competing in soccer tournaments. I also enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, cycling, hiking, fishing, etc. I want to travel to places before I settle down and have a family and try to see all the natural wonders in the world. I would like to finish my studies and get my career started so I can embark on my journey.
Originally from the South Side of Chicago, Haoyang “Carl” Jiang recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in Political Science and Philosophy. Now pursuing a Master’s in Education at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Carl is currently a 7th grade English teacher in Las Vegas through Teach for America, and is interested in issues concerning juvenile justice and education, specifically the school-to-prison pipeline. Carl would like to continue his work with underprivileged, marginalized populations through law, public policy, and/or community organizing in the future. He is an avid reader, indie music listener, and aspirational chef. Sandwiches are his specialty.
Andy Kim grew up in Athens, GA and graduated from Emory University with a degree in anthropology and a minor in development studies. An advocate for immigrants’ rights, he led a successful initiative for tuition equity at Emory, which amended Emory’s policies to provide financial aid to undocumented students, and also organized a college preparation class at Freedom University, a modern-day freedom school that provides college-level classes for undocumented students in Georgia. Also during his time at Emory, Andy conducted field research in the Central Plateau of Haiti, studying the relationship between food insecurity and mental health, and helped develop a community garden in the Bankhead neighborhood of Atlanta. His continued interest in community development led him to intern with the United Way of Greater Atlanta, where he helped implement a family-based community development initiative in a refugee community. These experiences have adequately prepared him for his CAPAL internship placement with the USDA Rural Development office in Davis, CA. After his internship, Andy will work with the Congressional Hunger Center as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow, where he will work on domestic hunger policy. He hopes to obtain his PhD in medical anthropology.
So Jung Kim
So Jung Kim attends the University of Michigan where she is pursuing a major in political science. On campus, she is involved as a research assistant, member of the professional fraternity, and Janggu player. She hopes to enter a career in public service or law in the future. Born in Northern California and raised across the country on both coasts and in the Midwest, she grew to love food, pop music, and television from both her Korean and American cultures.
Benny Kuang is a recent graduate from Oregon State University majoring in Political Science with an option in Law, Politics, and Society. He is an active member in Sigma Beta Rho Fraternity, Inc. having served as the chapter’s Brotherhood Chair, New Member Educator, Vice President, and President throughout his undergraduate years. Benny aspires to help the Asian American community along with other systematically disadvantaged communities, particularly in his hometown of Portland, OR. His long term goals include attending law school or graduate school. This summer, he will be interning with Rural Development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture at Davis, CA.
Annette Lee is going into her third year at the University of California, Irvine, studying International Studies and minoring in Economics and Management. She was born and raised in California but spend a few years of her childhood in Taiwan, learning Chinese (Mandarin) and spending time with her extended family. Upon graduation, she hopes to work for the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer or work for a global non-profit. She is very involved in her community through volunteering at various non-profit organizations. During her senior year in high school, she attended the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Program that ignited her interest in issues surrounding the API community and led her to take Asian American Studies classes to learn more about it. During her free time, she likes to travel, climb, and go on adventures.
My name is Lauren LeVan, and I am a rising second year at the University of Virginia. I am currently studying English with the intent to go forwards onto law school. At school I am heavily involved in my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, Beach Volleyball Club, and was previously a member of our semester-long APALTI program, which is very similar to CAPAL in that it gets the dialogue going within the APA community concerning issues of representation and leadership. As a first generation American, I have always been extremely proud of my culture and the sacrifices my family made to come to United States and live out the American dream. I am incredibly privileged to have the freedoms and opportunities that were often denied to my ancestors. As a result I would like to give back to the APA community and help those who still have yet to fully obtain those freedoms. I am very excited to be a part of CAPAL and look forward to seeing how I can influence the program, and how it will better me as an intern, APA community member and overall person.
A Colorado native, Johnnie Nguyen is a rising Sophomore at the University of Colorado Denver, studying Political Science and Economics on a Pre-law track. He currently serves as an elected Senator for the Student Government Association, he is on the board for the Council of Asian Student Leaders, and is interning for a Denver District Attorney Campaign led by Colorado University Regent Michael Carrigan. Johnnie is greatly inspired by the philosophy that the pen will always be mightier than the sword, because growing up Johnnie had often dealt with conflicts of violence in his educational atmosphere. However through speaking up using peaceful activism, had created resolutions in such a limiting learning environment. Johnnie’s hopes are to continue to advocate peace by becoming a Colorado State Representative, because he believes in sticking up to bullies, making positive change in the world, and creating a legacy for a better tomorrow. He also wants to contribute to tearing down racial stereotypes that corrupt our society, and inspire social activism amongst the grassroots level. For CAPAL, Johnnie’s internship will be involved with the White House Initiative on Asian American Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) in relations to the United States Department of Agriculture.
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.
Jasmine Pineda is a 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Born in New Jersey to Filipino immigrants, she later moved with her family to Virginia, a state that has been both her playground and classroom for the majority of her life. Throughout her childhood and young adulthood, she was involved in a wide variety of activities. However, it wasn’t until she began her undergraduate studies that she began to take on a more active role in the AAPI community. Apart from her studies in Spanish, Jasmine spent much of her free time during her first two years at UVA participating in activities with the Organization of Young Filipino Americans(OYFA), serving her second year as a liaison between OYFA and District VII of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue, Inc. (FIND, Inc.). She also served as a National Director Proxy for FIND, Inc. and assisted with the planning of the 2014 Spring Conference Bukas Ngayon: Tomorrow Starts Now which was hosted at UVA. Jasmine spent her third year abroad in Valencia, Spain through the UVA Hispanic Studies Program. Shortly upon returning to the U.S., she has now begun her internship through CAPAL at the Forest Service of the USDA at the Washington DC office, where she is interning in Research & Development of Sustainable Forests.
Dan Quach was born and raised in Richmond Virginia. He recently graduated from George Mason University, with a B.A. in Government and International Politics with a Minor in Intelligence Analysis. Having been to over ten countries, Dan’s passion for seeing the world has led him to D.C, one of the most influential cities in the world. He hope to make a positive impact in the AAPI Community by showing them how to be leaders through community engagement. He is thankful CAPAL helps him with this goal along with his desire to serve in the public sector.
My name is Jarrod Suda and I am from Pasadena, CA. I am an incoming senior at UC Berkeley pursuing a degree in Development Studies. I also have a minor in Global Poverty and Practice (GPP) and Geospatial Information Systems and Technology (GIS). This summer, I am interning at the National Credit Union Administration in the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Upon graduation, I hope to travel to the Philippines and Japan to regain some connection with the culture and history of my heritages. Aside from professional life, I enjoy surfing, playing jazz piano, growing bonsai trees, and watching California Bay Area sports.
Lee Thao is pursuing her Master of Social Work at California State University of Sacramento. She graduated with her BA in psychology and minor in communication in 2011 at the same university. One of her long-term goals is to develop a non-profit organization that targets Southeast Asian elderly who are at risk of developing mental illnesses due to isolation and acculturation stress. She hopes to provide a culturally sensitive environment to educate them on how to prevent mental illnesses and/or seek help for mental illnesses. Lee was a Legacy Corps member who provided respite for caregiver of veterans. Currently, she is interested in issues of sexism and women’s right within the Southeast Asian community. During her spare time, she likes to volunteer at local non-profit organization such as Hmong Women’s Heritage Association and Asian Community Center. She also likes to play tennis and hang out with family and friends.
Annie Xiao was born in Zhongshan, China and immigrated with her father to San Francisco, California at the age of 12. She recently graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz, with a B.A. in Global Economics and is the first person in her family to graduate from a four-year college in the United States. In order to fulfill the major requirements for her bachelor degree, Annie studied French for two years at UC Santa Cruz prior to studying abroad at the Institute of Political Studies in Lyon, France. During her junior year abroad, Annie has challenged herself to taking sixteen classes that were taught in French, and finished with a diploma from the Institute for having fulfilled the academic requirement within one academic year. When she was not studying, Annie enjoys traveling around Europe and has visited fourteen countries in nine months thanks to the low-budget airlines and the Couchsurfing community. Last year, Annie interned at the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islanders Affairs (OAPIA) as the Community Outreach Intern and has performed several outreach efforts to address the concerns of the AAPI community. This summer, Annie is interning with the USDA Forest Service, Cooperative Forestry Division, as the Outreach and Communications Specialist. She is excited to leverage her language abilities and previous work experiences to continue serving the AAPI and other minority communities even in the capacity of being a young CAPAL Federal Intern. Her ultimate goal is to become an influential female leader and representative in the AAPI community like the Congresswoman Judy Chu and the Chief to Staff to the First Lady, Tina Tchen, one day.
Sharon Youn is a rising junior at the University of California, Berkeley where she is double majoring in Economics and Psychology with an emphasis on market behavior and labor relations. Prior to Sharon’s current position as the Marketing and Communicating intern at the USFS Ecosystem Services, she worked at her school newspaper The Daily Californian and at several fashion start-ups in both Northern and Southern California. When she isn’t working or attending school, Sharon can be found playing volleyball, singing or café hopping. She hopes to one day see the garment and tech industry radically improve their supply chain to better suit international labor conditions and lessen their environmental impact. Sharon also hopes to see the Lakers and Dodgers win their championships in the same year and in the near future.
CAPAL Public Service Scholars
Asha just finished her first year at the UC Berkeley – UCSF Joint Medical Program where she enjoyed poking classmates with tongue depressors, planning her thesis work evaluating a domestic violence report and referral tool at a nearby county emergency department, and coordinating a student-run clinic and linkage to continued care program for homeless and underserved individuals in the Bay Area. Asha also completed her undergraduate education at UC Berkeley studying Integrative Biology and Global Poverty & Practice. She then worked at the California Department of Public Health STD Control Branch and received a Master of Public Health degree in Community Health Sciences at UCLA. Asha is interning at USAID and reading lots of documents on fecal sludge … as she is currently working on a gender equity analysis for a pilot urban sanitation project in India. She is thrilled for the opportunity to address the structural determinants of health in the land of her forefolks and to spend the summer uncovering future options for public health physicians in public service. Contrary to popular belief, Asha does not reside with 16 cats. Or any.
Hi everyone, my name is Scarlett Ho. I am a rising Junior at Northeastern University, doing a dual major in International Affairs and Political Science, with a minor in Law and Public Policy. This summer will be my second time in DC, where I will be interning in the Office of the Secretary of State, and previously in the Office of Senator Elizabeth Warren on Capitol Hill. I spent fall 2014 interning at the European Parliament and studying abroad in Belgium. My passion lies in foreign policy, law and public policy, and I plan on going to law school after graduation, and become a Foreign Service Office in the later stages of my life. On top of studying for the LSATS this summer, I am excited to discover the gems of DC and connect with more young professionals and like-minded people. In my free time, I enjoy watching ballet performances, photography, and traveling.
Mayura Iyer is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs, and has lived in the Northern Virginia area for most of her life. She will be returning to UVa in the fall to complete her final year of her Master of Public Policy degree through the Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy’s Accelerated BA/MPP program. She is a passionate social justice advocate, and is particularly interested in the intersection of race and gender with education and economic policies. As an agent for change in the AAPI community, she is concerned with the Model Minority myth, intersectional feminism, and mobilizing Asian Americans as a group for political advocacy and change. She has interned for several policy organizations, including the Peace Appeal Foundation, DC Public Schools, and Polaris, and has written for websites including Mic.com and Literally, Darling. After graduating with her MPP, she hopes to pursue a career that combines her passion for social justice with her love of writing and advocacy. In her free time, she can be found drinking coffee or binge-watching 30 Rock, Gilmore Girls, and Parks and Recreation.
Hamin “Daniel” Jung is a rising senior at American University double majoring in International Studies and Asian Studies and minoring in Chinese. During his years at American University, Daniel has pursued studies related to U.S. foreign policy in East Asia, focusing primarily on South Korea, China, and Japan. Passionate about the topic, Daniel co-founded the student organization, Peace of East Asia in Creative Engagement (PEACE) in which students from these three countries came together to learn about one another, build relationships, and discuss key regional issues. This summer Daniel is interning with the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS as a Program and Research Intern. He is grateful and excited to be part of the CAPAL community this year.
Hayeon is a rising third year student at Northwestern University studying American Studies and Asian American Studies. She is a 1.5 generation Korean American excited with the opportunity to learn about the AAPI identity as it functions today and in history. At school, she is a work study student and minor of the Asian American Studies Program that began through a student-led hunger strike in 1995. With this personal history in mind, she hopes to fight for the rights of the AAPI community through her involvement in student government and Asian Pacific American Coalition. Furthermore, she is interested in immigration rights in the context of language access and government support. Through CAPAL, she hopes to learn more about ways to advocate for the AAPI community in federal employment.
So ‘Alicia’ Lee
So ‘Alicia’ Lee is a rising junior at American University pursuing a major in International Studies with a focus in International Development. During her undergraduate studies, Alicia has focused on studying education and global health development and has interned at various places such as NASPA, Teach for America, and United Nations Foundation in order to gain more practical experience in her field of study. Interested in learning more about public policy, Alicia is interning at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) this summer as a Research Intern in the Korea Chair. In the fall, Alicia will be studying abroad at Yonsei University in South Korea. In her spare time, Alicia likes to play the violin and explore new coffee shops in DC.
CAPAL Staff Interns
YLan Nguyen, Summer Intern
Taylor Huang-Boutelle, Summer Intern
Nyana Quashie, Programs and Operations Intern
Nyana recently graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.S. Geographical Sciences. While there she also pursued minors in Global Poverty, and Spanish. She is committed to engaging communities and creating social change both in the U.S. and abroad. In 2013, she consulted with local businesses in Nicaragua as an intern with the Social Entrepreneur Corps. She also recently completed a fellowship at the grassroots advocacy organization RESULTS, working to end poverty around the world. Nyana has previously volunteered with CAPAL, blogging on rising leaders in the APA community, and assisting with the Washington Leadership Program. Currently, Nyana serves as CAPAL’s Programs and Operations Intern and will be focusing on event planning, volunteer engagement and fundraising. In her free time, you can often find Nyana reading a book, catching up on shows, or attempting to cook. firstname.lastname@example.org.