CAPAL Intern Spotlight Aashna Sawhney ’21


Aashna Sawhney is a rising sophomore at Duke University pursuing a major in Environmental Science & Policy and a minor in Political Science. This summer, she will be interning with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Wisconsin.

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

At the USDA NRCS, I support the work and overarching goals of the offices of Public Affairs, Civil Rights, Management & Strategy, and Partnerships. This work includes helping draft agreements between NRCS partners such as conservation organizations and state agencies, researching policy, as well as creating media for strategic communication efforts amongst other projects. My community action project will allow me to work with the Center of Asian Pacific American Women where I will explore and help document the journeys of the Asian Pacific American Women’s Institute (APAWLI) Fellows.

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

Currently studying environmental science and hoping to eventually work to institute environmental policy, this internship with the NRCS is an amazing opportunity to gain experience in resource conservation efforts, learn more about environmental policy work within the public sector, and gain valuable and relevant leadership and technical skills.


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

As a CAPAL intern, I hope to form new connections and learn from my fellow interns’ and CAPAL board members’ diverse experiences and expertise. I also look forward to further exploring my identity as an AANHPI youth and learning from inspiring Asian American leaders within the public sector, which I hope will culminate in an informative and impactful CAP project. Furthermore, I hope to learn more about public service and the opportunities that exist for AANHPI youth within the federal government. Lastly, I hope to learn more about my interests within environmental science and meet more professionals within my field.

What does public service mean to you?

To me, public service means to give back to your community and to shape policies and services that protect and service the public. Environmental policy is integral to a healthy, safe, and productive society where everyone is equally protected and given equitable access to resources and a healthy environment.

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

I would have to say sandwiches because anything can be a sandwich! You could make savory sandwiches with bread, ice cream sandwiches, hot dogs (controversial if it counts as a sandwich, I know), or bagels.

What is one country/place you hope to travel to one day? 

A place I really hope to travel to one day is New Zealand. It has such beautiful cultures and amazing natural sights that I would love to explore.

Meet all of our 2021 CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.