Scholarship & Internship Program

Scholarship & Internship Program

DC Public Service Internships

CAPAL’s Public Service Internship Program places undergraduate and graduate students within the public sector in the Washington, DC area. Intern duties may include policy or scientific research, project coordination and management, business, law, communications, and more. In addition to their internship requirements, interns will participate in CAPAL’s programming such as the Washington Leadership Program, be paired with professional mentors based on similar field interests, and reflect on their internships with other CAPAL interns and scholars during regular cohort sessions. Applicants are asked to specify their placement preferences on the application, and those selected will be placed based on their interests and skills. These internships are open to ALL MAJORS.

Public Service Field Internships

CAPAL’s Public Service Field Internship Program places undergraduate and graduate students within public sector positions throughout the United States. Placements may be in rural or urban areas, such as Alaska, Delaware, and California. Interns will be exposed to various duties such as conducting field research, performing site visits to local communities, and presenting their findings to various partners; they will be able to see their work directly benefit the communities around them. Field interns are also given the opportunity to interact with the DC-based CAPAL cohort via video chats and livestreams of various events. At the end of the program, field interns are flown to Washington, DC for CAPAL’s 30th Anniversary Gala.

Public Service Scholarships

CAPAL’s Public Service Scholarship Program awards scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students who will be serving in unpaid public service internships in the Washington, DC area. These scholarships are intended to enable outstanding students with leadership potential to work full-time and learn ways to influence their local communities and the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community. Recipients of the scholarships are responsible for securing their own internship opportunity.

The CAPAL-MAASU Public Service Scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate student enrolled at a school that is a member of the Midwest Asian American Students Union (MAASU) or a school located in the following Midwestern states: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. All eligible scholarship applicants will be considered for the CAPAL-MAASU scholarship.

**For scholarship applicants: You must print and submit the CAPAL Scholarship Program Participation Agreement with your application if you have an internship secured already. If you are still in the process of securing an internship, please note this in your application in the appropriate short answer section. Once you have secured your internship you will be required to submit the Agreement.**

The 2020 Scholarship and Internship Application

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Learn about applying

Deadline to apply for the 2020 summer program is Thursday, February 13 at 11:59pm EST. The online application must include all of the following components.

• Application form
• Personal statement (750 words max)
• Current official or unofficial transcript
• Letter of recommendation

The 2020 Application will open in November 2019, we encourage you to apply! If you have any other questions, please email

**For scholarship applicants: You must print and submit the CAPAL Scholarship Program Participation Agreement with your application if you have an internship secured already. If you are still in the process of securing an internship, please note this in your application in the appropriate short answer section. Once you have secured your internship you will be required to submit the Agreement.**

Application Review

  • The application review process will begin in February, and we hope to place all interns by the end of April
  • Final applicants will be invited to interview with CAPAL and a potential internship placement office during that time

• Only currently enrolled students are eligible for an internship or scholarship through CAPAL.
• Only applicants with a 3.0 GPA or higher will be considered.
• U.S. citizenship is not required for CAPAL’s Public Service internships. Permanent residents, and in some instances, interns with appropriate work visas, are eligible to apply. Specific citizenship and residency requirements may vary by federal agency. CAPAL’s scholarships, however, are open to all students, regardless of residency or citizenship status.

DC Public Service Internship Requirements

• Fulfill responsibilities of a full-time internship within assigned public service organization.
• Attend all sessions of CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program (WLP) as well as other summer events designated as required.
• Collaborate with assigned Community Action Project (CAP) team to create a finished project to be presented at CAPAL’s 30th Anniversary Gala.
• Attend regular cohort sessions.
• Meet regularly with a paired mentor who matches the intern’s areas of interest, and complete a mentorship plan.

Public Service Field Internship Requirements

• Same requirements as listed for “DC Public Service Internship Requirements,” with the exception of attending the DC programs in-person.
• Attend CAPAL’s Closing Ceremony in Washington, DC. Travel to the event is funded by CAPAL.

DC Public Service Scholarship Requirements

• All applicants must either have secured or applied to an unpaid public service internship in order to be eligible to receive a scholarship from CAPAL.

• Same requirements as listed for “DC Public Service Internship Requirements.”

2020 Placement Partners: 

TBD Please check back for updates as we add more placement partners.

2019 Placement Partners:

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) • Google • Papa Ola Lōkahi • Truman Research Institute • USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service • USDA Forest Service • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

“To be eligible for the scholarship, what qualifies as an unpaid public service internship?”

    • Internships with federal, state, local or tribal government organizations, public child or family service agencies, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, or tribal colleges or universities are public service internships.
    • To be eligible for the scholarship, the internship must be unpaid and in the Washington, DC area.

“If I graduate in the spring, can I still apply for the summer program?”

    • Yes, you can certainly apply as a recent graduate. However, if you have been out of school for over a semester, you must be planning to attend grad school in the fall to be eligible.

“Can I apply to multiple programs?”

    • Yes, you can apply for the DC-based and field internships and the Scholarship program all in the same application.
    • You do not need to submit multiple applications to apply for each program.

“Does CAPAL cover housing expenses?”

    • Unfortunately, we are unable to cover housing costs for our Scholars and Interns, but we do provide a housing resource guide with helpful tips and links to make your housing search easier. 

“When will the program begin this year?”

    • Our orientation session for the 2020 Scholars and Interns cohort will take place on Saturday, June 6, 2020. The Scholars and Interns program officially begins on Monday, June 8 and concludes Thursday, August 6. Depending on your internship placement, your start date may start before or after June 8; your end date should be eight weeks after your start date.

“My school operates on a trimester or quarterly system so I don’t finish finals until after the start date. Can I still apply?”

    • We advise that you indicate clearly in your application that you may need to start your internship at a later date. This start date can be negotiated with supervisors if you are selected by an office.

“What does the work environment typically look like?”

    • For our DC-based internships, it is highly likely that you will work in an office setting. 
    • Our field internships can be a mix of office and sitework. 
    • As for our scholarship, the work environment will depend on the organization.  

“Does CAPAL give any other financial support aside from the $3,000 stipend?

    • CAPAL reimburses scholars and interns roundtrip travel to and from DC and a domestic destination. If you are selected for our program, an in-depth reimbursement policy will be sent to you along with other welcome forms. 

“I do not identify as Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (AANHPI), can I still apply?”

    • CAPAL internships and scholarships are open to students of all identities. However, an individual’s interest and commitment to Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander issues will be considered.

“Who can I reach out to if I have more questions?”

    • Dung Tran, CAPAL’s Programs and Operations Associate, will be the point of contact for the 2020 Scholarship and Internship program. Feel free to contact her at

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