Eileen Kim (she/her) is a rising sophomore at Pomona College studying Public Policy Analysis with a Politics concentration. This summer, she will be interning at Senator Menendez’s Newark, NJ office.
What are your main responsibilities at your position? What are some of your big projects? (this can include projects at your internship, your specific CAP project, etc)
I am an intern at the Office of U.S. Senator Menendez in Jersey City, New Jersey in the African American/Latino/Education/Environment Outreach Team. My main responsibilities include researching key legislative issues, attending outreach events and meetings with stakeholders, and drafting letters on behalf of the Senator.
My community action project for CAPAL is to create an alumni and parent engagement toolkit for Asian American Youth Leadership Empowerment and Development (AALEAD), an organization that “supports low-income and underserved Asian Pacific American youth with educational empowerment, identity development, and leadership opportunities” through year-round programming. Our main strategy for parent outreach is assessing parent needs and satisfaction with the program through survey responses and implementing more staff and parent communication throughout the programs. We will use ethnic media stations to advertise the program to AAPI parents and youth in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, where AALEAD offices are located. For the alumni engagement plan, we have created a survey to assess the needs and interests of alumni to provide them with career development training and opportunities post-graduation from AALEAD programming while they serve as mentors for youth who are presently participating in AALEAD programming.
How does this internship fit with your professional and career goals?
This internship fits with my professional and career goals because I want to one day create public policy solutions that benefit everyone, especially the marginalized communities who have historically been underrepresented in leadership. I am privileged to work with office staff who seek to make not only my state and country but also our world a better place. I hope to explore and refine my interests for a career of public service post-graduation.
What do you hope to achieve this summer as a part of CAPAL’s 2021 cohort?
The 2021 CAPAL Scholars and Interns cohort has been a welcoming community that I hope to keep in touch with after the summer ends. My goal is to be part of a greater movement of AANHPI leadership and service for the community. This summer, I hope to delve more into the issues the AANHPI community faces while becoming more comfortable and knowledgeable about my identity as an Asian American leader.
What does public service mean to you?
To me, public service means listening to and working for our communities. As the name implies, the main priority of public servants should be to serve the people rather than the other way around. Public servants should uplift the voices of marginalized communities
by paying attention to and supporting them. It is the job of public servants to keep the needs and well-being of all people in mind rather than those of a select few.
Did you pick up any new hobbies during quarantine, and if so, what are they?
Like many other people, I started cooking more. My favorite recipes are cream spaghetti, spicy shrimp tacos, kani salad, smoothie bowls, Levain Bakery-style cookies, and Korean mozzarella cheese hot dogs.
If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My answer to this question is always pizza or salad because you can put any topping you would like on either food. For instance, you could even make a pizza salad (like a fruit salad) or a salad pizza.
What’s one interesting/surprising fact that a lot of people may not know about you? I have been playing violin for 13 years. I was a violin accompanist at the 2017 Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center in NYC, in which world leaders and activists such as Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, actress Scarlett Johanson, and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie were in attendance. Find the recording of the performance here!