CAPAL Intern Spotlight Garinn Pereira ’20

Garinn Pereira is a second year graduate student at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa pursuing a M.S. in Food Science. He holds a B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition with a minor in Music. This summer, he is interning at USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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

Some of the projects I have currently is helping with database maintenance and setting up a part of the APHIS website for applications to permits. Within the database maintenance, I upkeep the listings of new, renewed, and expired permits for plant and soil use. Due to the pandemic, it has become difficult to keep track of all the applicants that need new permits and the status of their permits, thus my duty involves reviewing requests to keep the most up to date list of each situation that comes through our office. As for the website, I help through participating in test runs of the application process to check for pop up errors that appear or if there is missing data that needs to be included.

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

Currently my interests are within agriculture and food systems; having this internship is giving me a taste of some of the work that is ongoing within the government that deal with managing plant/produce and soil that comes into our country. My interest within public service concentrate on environmental challenges and sustainability, thus having this opportunity provides knowledge into how our government manages and controls the factors that influence change to our ecosystem. Overall, having the opportunity to connect and be mentored by those in this industry is very insightful for how to prosper when I enter into my career.

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

I hope to achieve a greater understanding of the trials and tribulations associated with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, with this to which I hope to nurture by furthering my community in a sense of belonging and achievement. Also, throughout this summer, I hope to produce meaningful impact through the current projects I will be involved in and leaderships skills I will gain from each professional session.

What does public service mean to you?

Public service is the notion of endless giving and positive push without the need for reciprocation. Public service to me means providing for your community in hopes of creating an environment and lifestyle that helps to enhance the current state of living. Personally, I believe a little bit of public service in one’s life creates a more enjoyable state of mind. Without public service, our society wouldn’t have all the benefits it has today. 

If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

If I had to choose one food, it would have to be fish. I love fish and it is very versatile. You can make sushi, sashimi, poke, soup, or cook it whole. Some of my favorite types of fish are salmon, ahi, and opakapaka (pink snapper).

If you were stranded on an island what three items would you bring?

This is a funny question because I lived on an island my whole life. If I had to choose three items, it would probably be fruit/vegetable seeds, a sword, and a musical instrument. I actually enjoy gardening and growing plants so that’s where the seeds come in (and I can eat what I make). My second would be a sword because all survival shows have someone bringing some sort of chopping/cutting equipment. Plus you never realize how multipurpose it can be until you actually watch someone stranded put it to use. My third is a musical instrument (preferably a trombone) because I love music and have been playing music since the beginning of my middle school days.

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

If I could go anywhere in the world, it would definitely have to be to Switzerland. I’m a big fan of nature and being outdoors so seeing all the pictures and videos of there has made it my top destination. Also, Nestlé is from there so I’d have to visit and hopefully sample their new products.


Meet all of our CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.