CAPAL Public Service Scholars & Interns
2022 Scholars and Interns
CAPAL Public Service Interns
CAPAL Public Service Interns are placed in DC and regional offices throughout the country. These internship positions provide students with public service experience in a range of topics and areas. CAPAL has partnerships with USDA APHIS, USDA NRCS, USDA ARS, USDA FAS, The Brookings Institution, U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Department of Interior.
CAPAL Public Service Scholars
CAPAL Public Service Scholars are undergraduate and graduate students who serve in unpaid public service internships (non-profit or government). For this summer in particular, scholars are not bound to only internships in Washington, DC. The scholarships are intended to enable outstanding Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) students with leadership potential to work full-time and learn about ways to influence public policy in their local communities.
CAPAL Public Service Interns
Aidan Ng is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University pursuing a major in Government and considering majors in Computer Science and International Politics. He is interested in a wide range of political subjects, including criminal justice reform, nuclear arms proliferation, and immigration. He has interned at his local District Attorney’s Office, where he has worked on the SIHope initiative, a program dedicated to combatting the drug epidemic in his hometown, Staten Island. He has also been a program analyst for Centri Tech Foundation, a non-profit working to bridge gaps in digital equity by expanding broadband internet access. He loves giving back to communities that have helped him succeed; he is currently an Advising Fellow at Matriculate, where he assists first-gen and/or low-income high schoolers throughout the rigorous college process. Outside of school, he loves to compose music! He music-directs shows for Georgetown’s Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society, and he has written songs as a Student Fellow for the Laboratory For Global Performance and Politics. He’s extremely excited to join the CAPAL cohort this summer, and he looks forward to having the opportunity for important career experience and public service!
Alexia Vue is a third-year student at the California State University, Fresno, actively pursuing a major in the Department of Political Science with a minor in criminology. As a Hmong-American woman, she is deeply connected to her Hmong roots because they have shaped her into who she is today. She has spent most of her undergraduate career serving her fellow Hmong community within the Central Valley through Fresno State’s on-campus student organization known as the Hmong Student Association of Fresno State (HmSA). Previously, she served as the 2020-2021 Public Relations Chair for HmSA and developed technological, content creation, and management skills. Today, she is fortunate to serve as HmSA’s 2021-2022 Vice President. As her officer term is coming to an end, she hopes to pursue further opportunities for herself to develop the ability to empower those within and beyond her fellow Hmong community. CAPAL is another step to initiating that goal. Being granted this opportunity to be a part of the CAPAL team allows her to take part in a diverse cohort while pursuing higher education. She is incredibly excited to join the CAPAL team this summer as it will be her first ever internship program! During her free time, she enjoys watching movies, listening to music, attending concerts, and trying out new foods with her loved ones.
Amal Ali is a rising sophomore at the University of Richmond double majoring in Political Science and Leadership Studies and minoring in Sociology. On campus, she is involved in student government as a Senator and served as Secretary over the past academic school year; through these positions, she addressed safety and wellness concerns. She also serves as the Managing Editor for Counterculture Magazine, a newly established publication at the university solely dedicated to social justice issues on campus, and the co-leader of Disability Student Ambassadors, a student-led organization dedicated to addressing a myriad of accessibility issues that disabled students face. Ali’s deep passion for activism on campus stems from her experiences off campus, as she has been heavily involved in combatting issues that face local, national, and international communities. She collaborated with faculty and administration in Henrico County to address racial inequities in the school system, co-created a COVID-19 and social justice information hub for folks around the country during the height of the pandemic, and worked closely with health organizations in the Rohingyan refugee camps of Bangladesh to aid persecuted Muslims. All her work stems from her deep appreciation for and prioritization of empathy; above all else, she cares about approaching all social justice issues and the people affected by them with an open heart and a listening ear. While she has a genuine passion for addressing all systems of oppression and forms of human rights abuses, her dream for the future is becoming a social worker and specializing in the disparities of mental health care in Asian-American families. She is also heavily interested in addressing domestic abuse as a social worker. Outside of her work, you can find her taking photos of her beloved cat, letting her creative juices flow in her art, or chattering about her unending love for evermore by Taylor Swift.
Brendan Ly (he/him) is a recent graduate of Pomona College with degrees in Linguistics and French. He identifies as a second-generation Vietnamese American. Growing up in Arizona, Brendan often accompanied his parents to their family’s nail salon, where they taught him about showing compassion and kindness irregardless of the circumstances. He is interested in LGBTQ+ advocacy and educational equity in AAPI communities. On campus, Brendan was an intern at his school’s Asian American Resource Center, where he worked with his supervisors and fellow interns to raise awareness of AAPI social justice issues and support local AAPI organizations. Brendan also served a couple years on the executive board of the Vietnamese Student Association at the Claremont Colleges. His experiences mentoring on campus and through local community organizations has motivated his passions for youth education and dismantling intergenerational communication barriers in AAPI communities. This summer, Brendan is excited to meet other peers passionate about community engagement and advocacy!
Constance “Faith” Tabora (she/her) is a rising junior at University of Maryland majoring in Communications and spent her first two years in college at Montgomery Community College (MC) with MC Scholars. She finished with an associate degree in general studies and completed a capstone project about cultural appropriation within US veganism. Proudly, she has spent a highly enriching and explorative time at MC having been able to be a part of the Social Justice Inclusive Leadership Institute (SJILI) where she continued her education on social justice issues such as BLM, Stop Asian Hate and handling conversations around race and gender. Her most prized experience at MC was her participation in a Asian American Literature Workshop where she was able to be exposed to AAPI authors and discuss identity with other AAPI students. She is a second generation Filipina American and is trying to learn more about her culture, history and self-define her identity. In her free time she tries to not fall asleep while reading, loves to spend time with family and friends and continues to sharpen her culinary skills.
Danielle Mangabat is a rising senior studying Anthropology & Human Biology and Philosophy as a Dean’s Achievement Scholar at Emory University. Danielle advocates for marginalized communities through tangible coalition-building, grassroots organizing, applied research, and community service around issues such as health inequality, justice reform, decolonization, and economic justice. She is currently the president of Emory Students for Prison Education, Activism and Resistance, president of Emory Filipino Student Association, editor-in-chief of Anthropos, and activism director of Young Democrats of Emory. Recently, she worked under Dr. Micaela Martinez to conduct interdisciplinary research on the state of food apartheid in New York City and helped craft policy recommendations that were published and signed as an executive order in Social Justice Recommendations for Mayor-Elect Eric Adams Report of December 2021. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she hopes to pursue a JD/MPH degree to prepare for a career in public service. As a future civil rights attorney and public health professional, she plans to tackle systemic intersectional issues, such as ethnoracial health disparities, with interdisciplinary solutions. Outside of these pursuits, Danielle likes to cook, spend time backpacking and hiking, listening to music, and creating art.
Darin Wong is a first-year graduate student studying macro-practice social work at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare. Concurrent with attending Berkeley, Darin interns with the organization, National CAPACD, and is part of a nonprofit consulting project at the Haas School of Business. When procrastinating on school, he works part-time in finances and operations for a medical clinic in San Jose, California and volunteers with two food pantries serving low-income AAPIs in San Francisco. Darin’s interests include community organizing, working with foster youth, slam poetry, and powerlifting.
Elizabeth Sweet (given Korean name Cheon Hye Ok, she/her), is a rising senior at the University of Washington majoring in neuroscience and political science. Transracially and internationally adopted from South Korea into a rural town in Washington state, she was raised outside of Asian American community and culture. She has since worked to reclaim her Asian identity and reconnect with Korean culture, advocating that there is no singular way to be Asian American. Elizabeth is a queer woman of color whose experiences before and during the rise of anti-Asian hate in the COVID-19 pandemic have shaped her vested interest in forwarding racial justice, progressive and inclusive politics, and intersectional advocacy. She is involved with the Asian Student Commission at UW, Homeroom UW (a student organization providing a platform for Asian student creativity, advocacy, and collaboration), and in her free time enjoys creating social media advocacy content featuring cosplay, cultural dress, and conversations around representation. She has been a student lobbyist, intern at a marine microbiology lab, member of a grassroots student nonprofit organization, and is passionate about race and ethnicity politics and combatting elitism in academia. She champions recognition for adoptee issues, dismantling mental health stigma, and the convergence of science with policy.
Emily Hoyumpa is a rising sophomore at Michigan State University pursuing a major in Social Relations & Policy and minors in French and Asian Pacific American Studies. From Shelby Township, Michigan, she is passionate about the AAPI community and solidarity, homelessness, and environmental and sustainability issues. At MSU, she is an active intern at the Associated Students of Michigan State University in the Sustainability Department, Treasurer of the Asian Pacific American Student Organization, a member of the Filipino American Student Society, a member of the Freshman Class Council, and a student senator of the James Madison College Student Senate. In her free time, she enjoys watching sports with her family, traveling, listening to music, and trying out different coffee shops. This summer, she is looking forward to working with the other CAPAL Public Service Interns and is both grateful and excited for the opportunity to learn.
Hana-Lei Ji (she/her) is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is pursuing a major in Social Policy, a minor in Legal Studies, and Civic Engagement Certificate. Raised in a small town in Hawai’i, Hana-Lei has developed a passion for education policy and strives to focus on the inequities that persist in Hawai’i. While she is unsure of her exact future career, she hopes to continue to engage in communities and amplify marginalized voices. At Northwestern, she is currently working with Indivisible NU as a Coordination Head to institutionalize participatory budgeting in Evanston. Hana-Lei and a team of undergraduates and graduate students are working on developing policies for Evanston citizens to evaluate for distribution of the ARPA COVID-19 relief funds. She is also serving with Jumpstart as a Corps Member, working with preschools in Evanston and Rogers Park to teach critical language, literacy, and social-emotional skills. On campus, Hana-Lei is also secretary for Hawai’i Club and writer for NU Asian Magazine, a journalism publication dedicated to Asian American stories. When she is at home, Hana-Lei dances hula with an Okinawan taiko group, performing cross-cultural dances of Hawaiian hula with Okinawan culture. Hawai’i has taught Hana-Lei the strength of a community; her goals align with the values of her home and she strives to work within communities to reduce the opportunity gaps across racial and class divisions.
Isha Kalia is a rising sophomore at Stanford University majoring in Public Policy on the Resource, Energy, and Environmental Policy track. She first became passionate about climate policy work when observing the environmental disparities between her hometown in Iowa and her family’s hometown in India. In the past, Isha has worked with Sunrise Movement to host climate events with presidential candidates such as Julián Castro and Pete Buttigieg. On campus she is involved with Stanford Women in Politics, Cardinal Policy Group, Stanford Roots, and works as a tour guide! In her free time Isha enjoys spending time outdoors, gardening, reading, cooking, and traveling. This summer she will be interning at the United States Department of Interior in Washington DC.
Joel Hwang is a rising senior at Emory University pursuing a double major in History and Economics. He hopes these two areas of study will prepare him for a career in legal studies and public policy. In 2020, he acted as a Law Clerk Intern at Law Clerk On Demand where he conducted legal research on the field of probate law. At Emory, he currently serves as the Co-Editor in Chief of the Emory Political Review, secretary of Phi Alpha Delta, secretary of Emory’s Behind the Glass, and as a student assistant in the history department. Through his extracurricular involvements, Joel has displayed a commitment to amplifying the voices of marginalized communities on campus. Outside of work, he enjoys hiking, listening to podcasts or audiobooks, playing the bass and exploring new cuisines. He’s grateful for the opportunity CAPAL provides and can’t wait to connect with other CAPAL scholars and interns.
Karina Ngo is a rising junior at the University of California, Los Angeles pursuing a degree in Political Science and Public Affairs. Born and raised in San Francisco, Karina comes from a family of Vietnamese refugees and feels deeply connected to the Vietnamese diaspora of the Bay Area. As she hopes to pursue a career in public interest law, she is passionate about tackling intergenerational trauma and ensuring access to social services within the AANHPI community. At UCLA, Karina is involved at the non-partisan research institute California Policy Lab as Data Privacy Assistant, AAPI Pre-Law Society as Law Journal Editor, Journal on World Affairs as Junior Editor, and Federal Relations Staff at the USAC (Undergraduate Students Association Council) Office of the External Vice President. In these roles, she has helped manage compliance standards for public policy research projects, launched UCLA’s first AAPI undergraduate law journal, and advocated for the student body on a variety of policy issues. Outside of the university, she has also worked closely on developing public policies establishing veterans’ preference in affordable housing, participatory budgeting programs, and vaccination requirements in higher education as an intern at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. In her free time, Karina enjoys dancing ballet, taking pictures of food, and thrifting with her friends! This summer, Karina is thrilled to join the CAPAL cohort and to further her interests in public service through hands-on experience.
Lauren Zou is a rising junior at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in International Studies and Economics and minoring in Environmental Studies. She is vice president of operations at the Hopkins Podcast on Foreign Affairs and a captain of JHU Mock Trial. Lauren also does research and graphic design for the Alliance For Citizen Engagement. Last summer, she interned at Democracy International and attended courses with the AEI Summer Honors Program. On campus, Lauren has restarted the JHU Club Golf team and works as Education Chair for Kappa Kappa Gamma. She is passionate about golf, baking, and reading. Lauren plans to pursue a career in environmental law and help those affected by environmental inequity.
Lorenzo Garcia is a rising junior at Northwestern University double majoring in Political Science and International Studies with a minor in Economics. He is currently working as a Farrell Fellow at Northwestern’s Deportation Research Clinic, where he gathers documents through the Freedom of Information Act to build cases and code data exposing and litigating policy misconduct among law enforcement agencies. Born and raised in New York City, he has slowly but surely learned to become loud and unapologetically Asian despite widespread stereotypes that often encouraged hiding one’s “Asianness”. His innate desire for justice in interpersonal relations from a young age drew him to the study of law, in which he has pursued ample academic and field experiences. Furthermore, he is a model for the UNITY Charity Fashion Show in Chicago, aspiring to reshape the standard of beauty in a way that is inclusive of traditionally underrepresented groups such as Asian-American men, while simultaneously raising money for worthy causes in his community. In his spare time, you can usually catch him training or hosting events as an executive member of NU Triathlon Club, jamming out on the guitar, running a pickup game with some friends, or skating across campus. He is extremely excited to meet the brilliant leaders comprising this year’s CAPAL cohort, and beyond grateful for the opportunity to work in D.C. this summer.
Manasi Reddy (they/she) is a rising senior at the University of Houston pursuing a B.S. in Finance and a minor in Political Science. At the University of Houston, Manasi is a Division I student athlete (Women’s Tennis). In addition to their student athlete status, Manasi is actively involved in the athletic community, holding a dual role as team representative and executive board member on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC). Through her involvement in SAAC, Manasi strives to create a safe and welcoming environment for all student athletes regardless of race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Coming from New Jersey, Manasi understands the importance of a diverse environment and cultural appreciation. In their free time, Manasi enjoys watching anime, reading manga, singing, and discovering new food. This summer, Manasi is excited to join CAPAL and meet other AAPI’s who are working towards a similar goal.
Mia Hwang is a rising Junior at Smith College, double majoring in Education and Child Studies and Psychology. Mia’s experience going to school in South Korea, Bolivia, NJ, NC and NYC taught her the importance of advocating for social justice, cultural representation, and equity in education systems. At Smith, she has advocated for these causes by being a Smith Alliance for Justice and Equity Fellow, sitting on the Student Government Association’s Curriculum Committee, and serving as a research assistant in the education and child studies department. Mia has worked as a qualitative researcher for Learning Ally, a non-profit organization that helps students from Pre-K to high school with dyslexia. She has also interned for The Leadership Academy in NYC, where she contributed to interviews and case studies with the former NYC Chancellor, Meisha Porter and former RISD Superintendent of Schools, Jeannie Stone. Recently, she completed the Mindich Fellowship where she focused on cultural responsiveness, Youth-led Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and counternarratives. As an avid boxer, Mia has trained with Hector Roca, the late Darryl Pierre at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn and Jesus Alonso in Mexico City.
Michelle Tran-Duong is a recent graduate from the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This past spring, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and minors in Korean Studies and Anthropology. During her time at the University of Iowa, Michelle was heavily involved in Asian-interest organizations. She held Co-Collective Philanthropy Project Chair in the Vietnamese Student Association, Chapter President in alpha Kappa Delta Phi International Sorority, Inc., and Student Lead at the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center. Michelle holds strong passion and dedication to the advancement and pursuit of spreading awareness on issues affecting Asian Americans to the community. She hopes to take the next year and a half to explore her identity and passions prior to applying and starting law school. Michelle hopes to pursue her legal career in the West Coast with a focus on immigration law. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, listening to music, exploring new restaurants, and hanging out with friends. Michelle is excited to take part in CAPAL’s internship program this summer. She hopes to take the experiences from this time and expand them into her future endeavors.
Nina Gohel is a third year at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, studying Political Science and Planning and Public Policy, with minors in Economics and Philosophy, and a certification in PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics). At Rutgers, Nina serves as the Student Body Vice President, where she actively works to advocate for and address problems concerning the Rutgers’ student body and surrounding local communities. During her college career, Nina has also served as an elected representative to the Association of Big 10 Students (ABTS), Rutgers Board of Trustees, and the President’s Student Advisory Committee. In these positions, Nina has been a strong champion for marginalized voices; it is her hope to make all spaces as inclusive and welcoming as possible for everyone. Outside of Rutgers, and to advance the prior goal, Nina has spent time with the International Leadership Foundation, US Environmental Protection Agency, and US Department of Interior, working to increase the representation of AAPI youth in government. Overall, Nina is a bright, young individual, who is fascinated by the world of policy and government relations, and their intersection with the law. It is her desire to incorporate these passions into her professional career, while being able to give back and serve those most in need. In summation, Nina is overjoyed and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership’s 2022 Public Service Program, and looks forward to interning with The Brookings Institution!
Nishad Francis is a rising junior at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is pursuing a major in Political Science and a minor in English. At UCLA, he is a leader in his acapella group, as well as an attorney in his school’s Mock Trial team. He comes from Irvine, California, and started public service by running music recitals through his local senior center as President of the student branch of his local Music Teachers Association. He is also a counselor and leader in Congresswoman Katie Porter’s Youth Advisory Board, where he facilitates discussions on bills and policies. He previously conducted research in the field of sociology and is always trying to expand his knowledge and skillset. He believes that public policy should ensure that everyone gets the same opportunity to express what they are passionate about and that it should allow people to get the opportunities that they deserve. In his free time, he enjoys basketball, playing games with friends, listening to music, singing, and reading.
Phillip Huynh is a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. This past Spring Quarter, he received his Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and History of Public Policy & Law. Throughout his time at UCSB, Phillip has been actively involved in Associated Students (AS), in which he has served as a College of Letters and Science Senator, the Communications Director for the Office of the President, UCSB Delegate to the 2021 UCSA Student Lobby Conference, and a member of the AS COVID-19 Task Force. He has also taken numerous leadership roles in his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, as the Director of Alumni Relations, New Member Educator, and Social Chair. In the latter half of his college career, Phillip interned at the Office of Davis-Bacon & Labor Standards, an agency within the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and then Purplely, a non-profit and non-partisan political organisation based in New York. Growing up in the Little Saigon District of Garden Grove, California, Phillip feels a deep connection to his Asian heritage and wants to combat racial discrimination against Asian Americans in his future career with public policy. He also wants to uplift low-income communities of color by stimulating educational opportunities for youth and community-wide professional development programs for adults. In his free time, Phillip likes to go to music festivals and concerts, explore new places and foods with his friends, play video games, and journal.
Rachel Song is a rising senior at the University of Michigan pursuing a double major in political science and psychology. Growing up in New York City has taught her the importance of increasing political representation and implementing equitable public policies in order to advocate for marginalized communities. As such, her passions include social justice, specifically children’s rights, and social psychology. At Michigan, she has been able to explore these passions through her extracurricular activities where she is currently serving as the Vice President of the Korean Students Association and the Marketing Team Leader of Liberty in North Korea. This year, she created a scholarship opportunity for Korean-Americans in light of the rise in Asian hate crimes in order to help students on her campus navigate their multicultural identities. She is also working as a Digital Content Fellow for People First, a marketing agency that specializes in advocacy and public health. Outside of her academic and work obligations, she finds joy in cooking, writing, and taking scenic walks.
Tanya Decendario (She/Her) is a senior at the University of California, Berkeley. She is studying Legal Studies with a minor in Dance and Performance Studies. Tanya grew up in the Philippines and migrated to Sonoma, California at ten years old. As a Filipina-immigrant who grew up in a predominantly white community, Tanya recognized the importance of her advocacy for the Pilipinx community. She is a current member of Kasama Ng Kalayaan (Together for Freedom) whose mission is to demand freedom for Pilipinx community members against sanctioned violence. Moreover, she is passionate about advocating for low-income communities that lack access to legal resources. She is currently a Bay Area JusticeCorps member where she assists low-income litigants in navigating the court system. On-campus, she is involved in a research team where the goal is to define justice within the court system. During her free time, Tanya enjoys hiking with her dogs and going to concerts with her friends!
CAPAL Public Service Scholars
Kilin Tang is a rising sophomore at Swarthmore College pursuing a major in Political Science, Philosophy, and Economics. At Swarthmore, he is an A-Team Attorney on the Mock Trial Team, a Voting Inclusive Excellence Fellow, and a member of the LGTBQ+ Student Advisory Board. He is also excited to serve as a policy intern for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where he will analyze upcoming legislation with the Bureau and discuss its potential impacts on Massachusetts citizens. Kilin believes in the power crafting equitable public policy to uplift underrepresented populations and is passionate about removing voting barriers, particularly for traditionally disenfranchised communities. In his free time, Kilin enjoys reading, snowboarding, volleyball, and listening to music. He is so excited to connect with other CAPAL scholars and interns this summer!
Lena Pham is a master’s student in Applied Anthropology at the University of North Texas. Her research interests include educational programming for Asian American and immigrant youth and program evaluation. Lena graduated summa cum laude from Hendrix College with a degree in Sociology/Anthropology. Previously, she has interned for organizations such as OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, Heifer International, and the Thai Community Development Center. After graduating college, she taught English through the JET program for two years in Shizuoka, Japan. In her free time, she enjoys baking, improving her Vietnamese language skills, and reading. Lena is passionate about working with community organizations to conduct ethnographic research that will help meet their needs. This summer, she looks forward to honing her research skills and making new connections within the AANHPI community.
“Well behaved women seldom make history” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Growing up as a first-generation Pakistani-American in a low-income household, Muna quickly realized the importance of thinking as a revolutionary. Born and raised in New York, she fell in love with the melting pot around her – a blended mixture of cultures, religions, values, and ideologies. Muna hopes to continue paying homage to her roots and think in this global perspective in different avenues of her life.
Muna is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with a joint-major in Government and International Studies with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. As a first-year student, she held executive board positions in five organizations and worked two-on campus jobs while interning with Students for Justice in both the fall and the spring. Most notably, she currently serves as the Diplomatic Congress Sophomore Senator where she works diligently to draft proposals for the campus community and serves as President of S.I.S.T.E.R.S., a non-greek affiliated women empowerment organization aimed for women of color. She also conducted research with the Government department at her undergraduate institution and participated in the Oxford Consortium of Human Rights, Harvard Public Policy and Leadership Conference, as well as the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Public Service Weekends at George Washington University and Carnegie Mellon University.
Her love for working in policy began her sophomore year in high school when she started working for the first Haitain-American woman to be elected to the New York State Assembly, Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages. This experience sparked her interest in community development and she has worked diligently ever since to continue this passion into her college years, During this past summer, she interned with the Alexander Hamilton National Scholarship Organization. As a member of the 2019 cohort, she was incredibly fortunate to be able to develop programming for younger cohorts who ranged from their junior year of high school to their first year of college. Muna was recently named an International Leadership Foundation Fellow, an Islamic Scholarship Fund Intern, and accepted into the United States Foreign Service Internship Program where she will be working with the U.S. Department of State for two consecutive summers after obtaining a Top Secret security clearance. During this Spring, she is interning with the Department of Interior in their International Technical Assistance Program as well as with the U.S. House of Representatives with Congressman André Carson.
Intertwining her appreciation for a global perspective and her passion for public policy, Muna hopes to become a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) for the U.S. Department of State. She hopes that her experience as a first-generation low-income woman of color serves as an inspiration for women who doubt whether or not they can make a difference. Acting in accordance with what a “well-behaved” woman would do in society won’t change the world – but acting as a revolutionary does.
Shreya Gupta is a rising junior at Vanderbilt University studying Medicine, Health, and Society with a focus in Health Economies and Policies and minoring in American Political Science. As an aspiring legislator and lawyer, she is passionate about American health policy, specifically regarding substance abuse and the opioid crisis. She is an active member of Vanderbilt College Democrats, Vanderbilt Political Review, and Vanderbilt Student Government. Additionally, Shreya is starting research at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center on the effects of opioid abuse policy in Tennessee. Shreya serves as
an executive board member of her sorority as Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and is passionate about cultural competency in all its forms. Outside of academics, Shreya loves fashion and enjoys partnering with different brands as well as being a member of Strike Magazine, an entirely student-run fashion magazine. In her free time, Shreya enjoys reading, singing, and trying new restaurants for her food Instagram (@stuffedshreya)!
CAPAL Office Interns
Gurmehar Kaur is a rising sophomore at Rutgers University, double majoring in Accounting and Finance in the Pre-Law Society. At the Rutgers Business School, she is currently a part of the Rutgers Accounting Association, Rutgers Pre-Law Society, Rutgers Women in Business, Rutgers Corporate Finance Society, Rutgers Sikh Student Association, and Rutgers Association of Punjabis. After undergrad, she plans to go to law school to pursue a career in corporate law. She is currently a marketing intern for the Rutgers Pre-Law Society where she handles all the social media posts and creates posts for the organization so that members are informed of upcoming events. She also runs a non-profit organization called Royal Weaves, which helps struggling artisans in Kashmir to give back to her own community. She also writes blogs for Sikhteens to help young Sikh teenagers face any challenges they may go through by being part of a minority. Her past experiences include interning for Assemblyman Wayne D. Angelo and Assemblyman Daniel Benson. Gurmehar is also a member of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, whose mission is to build relations with other communities and educate people regarding the SIkh faith. Outside of school, some of her hobbies include working out, cooking, traveling, and creating new memories.
Ruhani K. Ahluwalia is a rising sophomore honors student at Southern Methodist University (SMU), double majoring in Biological Sciences and Art. Before starting college, Ruhani worked as a student intern in a cancer research laboratory since middle school. She has presented her research at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Joint School Science Exhibition (Hong Kong), Mostratec (Brazil), and several regional and state science fairs. She is also a co-author of a peer-published paper in the Breast Cancer: Targets and Therapy Journal.
Ruhani is an award-winning artist trained in European art styles like Academic Classicism and Impressionism. She won the Congressional Art Competition for Texas Congressional District 12, and her work was on display at the U.S. Capitol for one year. She is also a winner of the Mayor Betsy Price High School Art Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. Besides her passion for art, Ruhani is also a pianist and enjoys singing in her free time.
At SMU, Ruhani is involved in WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), Student Foundation, and Engage Dallas, a student-led community engagement program to encourage involvement with local nonprofits and organizations in the South and West Dallas communities. She will serve as the next Engage Dallas Student Director of her residential commons.
Ruhani plans to pursue a career in medicine and healthcare public policy after graduation.
Steven M. Gomez Bautista is a rising junior at Cornell University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Studies and potential minors in South East Asian studies and Landscape Architecture with prospects to pursue international development and civic advocacy. With his interests in development, cultural preservation, and civic engagement, Steven hopes that through his studies he will be equipped with the theory and planning practices necessary to work toward improving the material conditions — access to public services, the democratization of the planning process, improvement of development markers — of marginalized and underserved communities. Outside of class, he works in the Echol’s South East Asia Library and is active in his local Filipino community as Vice President of Cornell’s Filipino rondalla 14 Strings!, Performance Chair of Cornell Filipino Association, and founder of CFA’s choir Pancit Kanta!. In his free time, Steven enjoys performing and writing music, sketching, and watching video essays. Steven is grateful to be a part of a like-minded organization that values the power of improving access to public services that provide opportunities, knowledge, and resources in the AANHPI community. Steven is proud to say that he is ecstatic to join the CAPAL team this summer!