CAPAL Intern Spotlight Samantha Mori ’18

Samantha Mori is a rising fourth year at the University of Virginia (UVA), studying Foreign Affairs and Chinese Language and Literature. She is also currently a graduate student in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy pursuing a Masters in Public Policy and Leadership. Prior to her internship with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Samantha has interned for the Japanese American Citizens League and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

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

I’m excited to learn more about international agricultural trade with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) as I’m particularly interested in international affairs. As both an undergraduate of Foreign Affairs and Chinese Language and Literature and a graduate student of Public Policy and Leadership at the University of Virginia, the topic of international trade and the varying relationships with countries, private sector companies, and individuals peaks my interest. I’m working for the Office of Country and Regional Affairs in their Europe Africa Middle East Division, Asia Division, and a bit with the Western Hemisphere Division as well. I have already been gaining valuable insight into international agricultural trade and hope to delve even deeper in my understanding of country knowledge and agricultural trade. I’ve also been learning more about food politics, which I never thought of before, and have really been enjoying that!

Why did you decide to spend your summer with CAPAL?

I decided to spend my summer with CAPAL to further my experience working in Washington, D.C. and to get to know fellow peers with an interest in public service from around the states. CAPAL sounded like a great organization to help me build a strong foundation and network in addition to providing a plethora of events that would introduce me to various issues in the AANHPI and broader communities. Many of the topics hit close to home as Asian-Americans, but many also are new and provide a deeper insight into the diverse AANHPI community. In addition, though I live in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) area, I was excited for more opportunities to work in and explore the city. I had also heard great things about CAPAL from past interns and was excited to join the CAPAL family!

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


Some of the projects I’ve been working on this summer are related to G20 preparation, agricultural export and import relations between the United States and other countries, briefing books, and a comparison between top export markets and individual U.S. states. These projects are all connected to my interests in public service as they all have an international aspect and work towards bettering the situation for those who may not be able to represent themselves. I’m still not quite sure exactly what I want to do in the future, but the variety of projects is really opening me up to all the possibilities.

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

I’m both gluten and lactose intolerant ☹.

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time you will find me planning trips, searching for the best boba, and taking naps


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.