CAPAL Intern Spotlight Hana-Lei Ji ’22


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 interning at the USDA APHIS this summer! My internship is virtual, but my supervisor is working on the possibility of visiting the field offices near where I am staying this summer. My internship is starting in the upcoming week so we are still discussing some of the main responsibilities; however, we previously talked about working on research projects, literary reviews, or a communications project for the department. 

My CAP Project is with the Center for Asian Pacific American Women (CAPAW) and our group is working on developing a social media campaign for the organization. The organization hopes to expand its outreach and our team is currently looking into what platforms are available and most efficient at reaching their target demographics. I’m excited to work on promoting the nonprofit’s focus on developing a network for AANHPI women to cultivate leadership! 



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

This internship this summer is already cultivating my interest in research and communications in a professional environment. While I’m not entirely sure of my exact career goals, I’m interested in facilitating equitable spaces, in a number of fields, through policy, research, public service, or advocacy. During my first year at Northwestern University, I became involved in a project that worked on developing policies for the citizens of Evanston to engage in participatory budgeting. The project’s focus on environmental policies, along with my internship at the USDA APHIS, has inspired some new goals of environmental justice. Nevertheless, I’m excited to work with the USDA APHIS and learn about how national programs are established to enact change, regardless of the sector.



What do you hope to achieve this summer as a part of CAPAL’s 2022 cohort?

This summer, I hope to learn and collaborate with the other scholars and interns in my cohort. I want to hold space to appreciate our range of experiences and backgrounds while growing from those experiences collectively. CAPAL’s programming is something I’ve never been a part of before and I’m truly excited to be a part of a cohort with other AANHPI students that share similar goals within public service. I’m looking forward to CAPAL’s programming and cohort sessions which provide opportunities to understand my own identity better and how it relates to whichever career I seek to work in. I’m also excited about working with CAPAL and I hope to facilitate a meaningful and functional project while advocating for their values.



What does public service mean to you? What sparked your interest or desire to get involved with public service? 

My involvement in public service means using my privilege and opportunities to provide services to a community. When thinking about the government’s role in public service, I often think of the basic rights of protection, healthcare, education, etc. that should be provided to the public. I became interested in getting involved with public service because of my experiences with the education system in Hawai’i. My sister and I both attended different schools and we became aware of the challenges of achieving equitable educational policies. From this, I started to see the challenges to equitable access to several public goods or basic needs. History continues to play a role in the policies that we see today. Additionally, through my classes at Northwestern, I’ve learned that access to public service affects democratic participation which has implications for future policies and laws.


Meet all of our 2022 CAPAL Scholars & Interns here

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