CAPAL Scholar Spotlight Amanda Yuen ’20

Amanda Yuen is a rising junior at Johns Hopkins University studying International Studies and Anthropology. This summer, she is interning at the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

What are your main responsibilities at your position? What are some of your big projects? 

As a policy intern I focus on researching current legislation and issue areas relevant to domestic workers. This ranges from unemployment and labor laws to immigration protections. Based on current events, our organization’s focus has shifted to focus on improving worker protections during COVID-19 and supporting our Black domestic workers. My day to day involves drafting policy memos, creating externally and internally distributed resource guides, and attending stakeholder meetings. However, given that everything is so fluid in politics my day to day also changes based on what Congress is doing!

How does this internship/scholarship fit with your professional and career goals?

I am excited to be an intern with at NDWA because of my long-held interest in human and civil rights. Growing up in Los Angeles and in my work with the International Rescue Committee, I met many domestic workers. Learning from these individuals has continuously demonstrated to me the importance of protecting and empowering hardworking and frequently overlooked workers. I am excited to continue to develop my writing, communication, and research skills in a professional setting. I also see this as an opportunity to learn about the field of public policy and most importantly decide if this is something that truly interests me, since this is something I haven’t done before!

What do you hope to achieve this summer as a part of CAPAL’s 2020 cohort?

I am excited to further develop relationships with ANHPIs who genuinely care about the impact they have on the world and want to serve their communities. Already I can tell that we have an amazing cohort of young people who are so thoughtful. I’m especially excited to collaborate with Patrick and Agnes on our Community Action Project with AARP. Coming from Los Angeles, it’s especially exciting to build a network of East Coast based ANHPIs who are working in the careers that I hope to have one day.

What does public service mean to you?

First and foremost, public service involves uplifting others’ voices and listen to those with lived experiences other than our own. It is important to listen to the needs of your community before you go about trying to create change. In order to create these changes, you also must be willing to put in the hard (not so fun) work and keep at it. Personally, I am not chasing elected office or the political spotlight, but rather see public service as a method through which I can achieve my larger vision for a safer and more equitable world.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Really enjoy exploring whatever place I’m in at that moment. It’s been great living in Baltimore that last couple of years and finding all my favorite restaurant, hiking spots, and museums. Because Baltimore is so close to DC, I’ve also started to do the same there. Beyond that, I also enjoy listening to podcasts, cooking, baking, and taking up new DIY projects. During quarantine, I made my own rug out of fabric scraps.

What movie or show are you watching right now?

I’m a huge West Wing fan and I rewatch the show at least once a year. It’s been funny rewatching it while doing a “DC internship” because I’ve found myself noticing new things about the politics behind certain decisions that the characters make or the way they talk about a bill or policy. It has definitely given me a new appreciate for the characters in the show. Although it’s an idealized version of DC, it still gives me hope that there are characters like CJ, Toby, and Josh that are out there looking out for us.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I’ve always wanted to go to Berlin, Germany. Beyond being a huge history buff, I also appreciate that amazing modern art scene that the city has. Berlin in particular is such a diverse city with food and culture from around the world. I haven’t traveled around Europe a lot, so it would definitely be a new experience!


Meet all of our CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.