CAPAL Intern Spotlight Grace Lim ’21


Grace Lim is a rising senior at Columbia University where she is studying Sociology and Ethnicity & Race Studies with a special concentration in Asian American Studies. This summer, Grace is interning with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

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

At the USDA-APHIS Plant Permitting & Quarantine branch, my main responsibilities include conducting user testing on a new permitting system, spearheading client communications for licensing new contracts or permits, and assisting with data entry and management. As a part of the Community Action Project, I will also be working with Act to Change to develop and launch a Youth Ambassadors Program to equip students with the necessary tools to prevent bullying targeted towards students of the AANHPI community. 

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

This internship at USDA-APHIS allows me to expand my knowledge base and skillsets by providing me with the unique opportunity to work for a federal agency. As a student with a strong interest in non-profit work related to community organizing and empowerment, I am both challenged and excited by the prospect of taking my prior experiences and applying them to the community outreach and communications work required of me at the USDA. Both the technical and leaderships skills that I acquire during this summer will prove to be invaluable assets as I continue my work in the public sector.


What do you hope to achieve this summer as a part of CAPAL’s 2021 cohort?

  • As a part of CAPAL’s 2021 cohort, I am most excited to connect with peers who share the same interests and passions for AANHPI civic engagement, political representation, and community service. In terms of my internship experience, I hope to carefully plan and execute projects that can have a tangible impact on the organization as a whole and the clients that we serve.  

What does public service mean to you?

  • To me, public service means directly engaging with the community to ensure that all constituents have fair and equitable access to necessary resources and support systems. Therefore, a public servant is someone who serves as a bridge between the community and a variety of social institutions to ensure that the needs of community members are well represented and met. 


Did you pick up any new hobbies during quarantine, and if so, what are they?

  • During quarantine, I spent a lot of my free time baking soufflé cheesecakes, taking my dog on long walks, and watching Chinese dramas. I was also able to pick up some new books! My current book recommendations by a few of my favorite Asian American authors are Yolk by Mary H.K Choi, Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner, and Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang. 

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

If I only had food to eat for the rest of my life, it would have to be matcha ice cream.  

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

One day, I hope to make it to Iceland to see the Northern Lights. 

Meet all of our 2021 CAPAL Scholars & Interns here.