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)
As an intern at USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Services, my main responsibilities include technical support, customer service, and note-taking during meetings. Throughout my internship, I will be working on converting a database to Microsoft PowerApps, among other projects that sort through data. Outside of my internship, I will also be working on a Community Action Project with APIAVote, where I will help develop a comprehensive digital Voter Engagement Toolbox geared towards general student organizing tactics and voter engagement training.
How does this internship fit with your professional and career goals?
I am looking forward to receiving an inside look into government agencies and how they develop applications and projects for constituents. I’ve had the opportunity to attend USDA APHIS’s monthly report meetings, and it has been educational to see the process of app development, the role of private contractors, and the long-term goals that the agency is set out to achieve. Although I am interested in a government-related career, I am unsure what sort of work/agency would fit me best. I believe that this internship will help me narrow down my options and point me into a direction that fits me best.
What do you hope to achieve this summer as a part of CAPAL’s 2022 cohort?
I hope to gain the experience, mentorship, and network necessary to navigate the public sector as an Asian American. Prior to college, I didn’t have anybody to confide in/connect with in the government field; even though I was interested in the subject, I wasn’t sure how to take steps forward to prepare myself for a career. I am extremely glad to have the opportunity through CAPAL’s 2022 cohort to hear advice from professionals in public service and learn what it’s like to work at a government agency. I hope that this summer can help me hone my interests and become a springboard for me to seize future opportunities.
What does public service mean to you? What sparked your interest or desire to get involved with public service?
To me, public service is both an opportunity and an obligation. It’s a willingness to sacrifice something to help people you may not know, but it’s also a chance to help create a world that is more equitable and more inclusive. I find public service, and its resulting social impact, to be an extremely fulfilling line of work. As a child of immigrants from a lower-income background, I find it important to give back to the communities I come from. A substantial portion of AANHPI people live below the poverty line, and many first-generation AANHPI people grow up facing barriers to success, like living in linguistically isolated households where their parents have limited English proficiency. Socioeconomic, education, immigration, mental health, and many other types of issues disproportionately affect people of color, and seeing these issues manifest in my communities have motivated me to consider a career in public service.