CAPAL Intern Spotlight Michelle Chung ’18

Michelle Chung is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BS in Sustainable Community Development. She has studied abroad in France, Brazil and the Netherlands and is a Boren Scholar for Portuguese. She is delighted to be working at the USDA Forest Service this summer and to partake in CAPAL’s leadership development activities.

What are you excited to learn about during your internship this summer?

I am very excited to learn how the US Forest Service is carrying out its mission while also taking steps to combat climate change, stimulate rural economies and facilitate innovation through building markets for domestic wood products.

Why did you decide to spend your summer with CAPAL?

I was interested in learning more about AANHPI issues and how to better engage my community and also wanted to complete an internship at a federal agency in Washington DC.

What are the projects that you’re working on this summer and how are they connected to your interests in public service?

I’m working on developing informational materials for the mass timber market in the United States, which includes updating the Tall Wood Building Map on the FS Wood Innovations website, creating informational two pagers about mass timber, reaching out to architects, builders and other stakeholders to promote wood as a more sustainable building material. I find that in my past experiences conducting community outreach to diverse communities in New York City, effective communication is key in achieving any end goal. These communications projects tie into my interests of urban climate resilience and sustainability as wood buildings are a more environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional building materials like concrete and steel. This internship has furthered my commitment to public service, particularly in the environmental field.

What is something that people usually don’t expect or know about you?

I speak four languages: Cantonese, Portuguese, French and English. Fluency in no particular order.

What do you do in your free time?

Bake, Pilates, exploring DC on my bike






Meet all of our CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.

Sharon Le is a rising third-year student at the University of Virginia, double majoring in Psychology and Spanish, on the Pre-Law track. Sharon served as the External Vice President for the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA@UVA) the past year, and is also involved in Phi Alpha Delta – the International Pre-Law Fraternity, and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team at the University. She was greatly exposed to the Asian Pacific American representation not only through her involvement with the Vietnamese community in Northern Virginia with VSA but also through her background – having grown up in Vietnam and moving to America in high school. Sharon hopes to promote Asian Pacific American leadership with her commitments and to give the community a bigger voice in the country.