CAPAL Public Service Scholars & Interns

2023 Summer Scholars and Interns

Welcoming our 2023 Summer Scholars & Interns, with a collage of the 23 scholars & interns' headshots and our 2023 summer supporting organizations.
Welcoming our 2023 Summer Scholars & Interns, and thank you to our 2023 supporters!

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-Wisconsin, USDA ARS, The Brookings Institution, U.S. Forest Service, WHIAANHPI, and the Asian American Scholars Forum.

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

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Austin Huang

Austin Huang is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University pursuing a major in International Politics with minors in Asian Studies and Economics. 

He is extremely interested in studying US foreign policy in Asia, as well as the regional dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region. He is also interested in studying US-China relations. He currently works for the Georgetown Asian Studies program, and is also a sports editor for The Hoya, Georgetown’s largest student publication. He has been passionate about AAPI advocacy since high school, where he was involved in student organizing and interned at the state legislature. At Georgetown, he’s also been involved with the Chinese Student Alliance and the Asian and Pacific Islander Leadership Forum, helping direct advocacy programming and working on projects like securing an AAPI community house and establishing an AAPI faculty mentorship program. He’s ecstatic at the chance to join the CAPAL cohort this summer, and is looking forward to the chance to gain first-hand experience in public service.

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Caroline Guo

Caroline Guo is a rising sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a major in Political Science and minors in Chinese and Economics. Her current interests in education equity, environmental justice, public health, and political theory inform her overarching interest in public policy. On campus, she is the Advocacy Chair for the Asian Student Alliance (ASA) and the Communications Director for the Political Science Student Association (PSSA). With fellow Pitt students, she also contributes to the question bank for CivWiz, an app to promote civic literacy. She is additionally a member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) Pittsburgh Chapter’s Civic Engagement Committee, where she encourages members in AANHPI and Hispanic communities to register to vote. Through experiences from canvassing to conducting research, Caroline cares deeply about addressing inequities in historically underserved communities. In her free time, she loves drawing, crocheting, and baking. She is immensely grateful to join CAPAL’s cohort this summer and is excited to meet other CAPAL interns and scholars.

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Emily Randolph

Emily Leela Randolph is a student at American University in Washington, DC. She is enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and is on the Dean’s List. Emily is involved in many activities on campus, including AU Club Swim, the Asian American Student Union, PRIDE, and AU Democrats. Prior to attending American University, Emily graduated with an International Baccalaureate diploma from Charlotte Country Day School in Charlotte, NC, where she swam on the varsity swim team and was involved with the Asian Affinity group, Aquilifiers, an all-female community service club, and PRISSM.

Emily’s work experience includes being an office manager for Randolph & Son Builders, as well as being a child care helper. Emily has a passion for advancing diversity & inclusion, a determination to make a difference in the world, and an incredible work ethic. She enjoys spending time with her family, taking care of her dog Jake and her cats, Chai and Sage, cooking, reading and working out.

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Jianhao Cui

Jianhao Cui (he/him) is a rising third year at UCLA double majoring in Political Science, with a concentration in International Relations, and Economics.  Born in China, Jianhao moved to Los Angeles when he was three and has lived there ever since.  Growing up near the San Gabriel Valley and Orange County, both heavily Asian-populated areas, he developed an interest in AAPI issues through interacting with the diverse ethnic communities around him.  On campus, Jianhao is involved in UCLA’s Dear Asian Youth (DAY) chapter, where he is part of the Projects and Finance Team.  There, he works on developing projects and fundraisers for DAY@UCLA, as well as other causes affecting Asian Americans.  Additionally, he is a part of the Global Research and Consulting Group (GRC), where he collaborates with nonprofits and social impact organizations through pro-bono consulting and research work, and Model United Nations (MUN), building committee simulations that help high schoolers develop their skills in writing resolutions, debate, and teamwork.  Outside of school, some of his hobbies include competing in olympic weightlifting, cooking overly-complicated dishes, and building Gundam figurines.  After college, he hopes to work in public policy for a few years before eventually attending law school.


Joey Chan

Joey Chan is a rising sophomore at The University of Virginia majoring in Public Policy and Leadership as well as Global Public Health. She is passionate about the effects of public health policies on minorities and underserved communities, particularly within AAANHPI communities. Joey is interested in the intersections of public health and policy in which they intersect within minority groups concentrating on health equity and accessibility in metropolitan areas. With a background in policy memo writing, Joey aims to develop her research and policy-making skills for AANHPI communities in her hometown, Washington D.C., in the near future. Joey enjoys gardening, photography, and nature walks in her free time as well as exploring new cafes.

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Juan Carlos Feraro

Juan Carlos (JC) Feraro is a rising senior at the University of Michigan majoring in Public Policy and minoring in APIA Studies. Growing up, JC had a very STEM-centric background, and even entered university as an engineering student. Eventually, his passions changed, but his skill set remained; he is intent on combining his experience in areas such as math and computer science to provide unique perspectives in the world of policy. Intending to pursue a career relating to environmental public policy and sustainability in the future, he is particularly passionate about studying issues concerning environmental, economic, and racial disparities. At UMich he served as Cultural Chair for the Filipino American Student Association. It was during his tenure as Cultural Chair that he began to understand the necessity of APIA and minority spaces in both social and professional contexts. He is also part of Students for Democracy, a student organization focused on curating policy briefs for pressing issues, ranging from local to federal, and presenting them to relevant stakeholders. Using this experience, he also recently took on a role as a Campaign Intern for a local state representative campaign, where he used his skills to act as a policy consultant and communication liaison for his candidate. Additionally, JC is a Building Manager at Trotter Multicultural Center on the UMich campus, where he represents values concerning diversity, acceptance, and cultural awareness that are upheld by Trotter and its rich and dynamic history. JC is excited and honored to take on the role of Biological Resources Intern for the U.S. Forest Service through the CAPAL Public Service Internship! In his free time, JC likes to play basketball, take walks, work out, and choreograph traditional Filipino dances.

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Justin Wu

Justin Wu (he/him) is a rising sophomore at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He is pursuing a double major in International Studies and Political Science, and a minor in Economics. Born and raised in Hong Kong and having attended high school in Connecticut, U.S.A, Justin has developed a passion in Sino-American diplomacy and facilitating civil discourse to dispel misperceptions of China and the West alike. Having met a community of friends and family on both sides of the world, he hopes to separate the nations’ distinct cultures and traditions from political polarization between the two countries. 

At Johns Hopkins, Justin is on the executive board of the Johns Hopkins Undergraduate Debate Council, a staff editor for the Johns Hopkins Foreign Affairs Reviews, and a programming committee member for the Johns Hopkins Foreign Affairs Symposium. While Justin is unsure of what exactly he will pursue as a career, he is looking to attend law school and work at the intersection of public policy, management, and international advocacy. Outside of work, Justin enjoys competitive debating, badminton, cooking, and traveling. He will be interning this summer for the U.S. Forest Service, and looks forward to meeting other passionate young leaders at CAPAL!

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Keana Rose Hilario

Keana Hilario is a rising junior at the Sciences Po-UC Berkeley Dual Bachelor Degree Program. She spent her first two years of university in Reims, France majoring in Politics and Government. During her time there, Keana was Head of Awareness in Asians in Reims Association, the Head of Academic Activities in the European Law Students Association, and a Creative Writing staff writer for The Sundial Press. Outside of campus, she interned at Ex Aequo, a French LGBTQ+ nonprofit organization, and at the You Have a Friend in Me Initiative, a student-led organization that assists in the cultural integration of Ukrainian refugees. During the summer of 2022, she also interned at Immigrant Defenders Law Center. In the next two years, she plans to study Comparative Literature and Global Studies at UC Berkeley. Born in Metro Manila, Philippines, and raised in Los Angeles, California, Keana grew up immersed in Filipino culture, from attending a predominantly Filipino church every Sunday to performing Filipino folk songs in choir. Issues connected to the community such as immigration and unfair working conditions inspired her to be a social justice advocate. Despite living alone in a country with a smaller Filipino population, she tried to be connected to her Filipino American identity while also gaining an appreciation for diverse cultures. In the future, Keana wants to be a public interest lawyer, defending the rights of the most marginalized. During her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, traveling, singing karaoke, and visiting museums. She is excited to be part of this year’s CAPAL Cohort and meet other AAPI individuals interested in public service!

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Khue Tran

Khue Tran (she/her) is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Earth & Environmental Science and minoring in Asian American Studies. Growing up in a Vietnamese immigrant household in California, Khue cultivated passions for environmental sustainability and the welfare of Asian American communities as she navigated an increasingly climate-conscious and multicultural world. On campus, Khue is a multifaceted member of the Asian American Studies (ASAM) program, pursuing the minor and working in the Undergraduate Advisory Board (UAB). As a part of the UAB, she has worked closely with ASAM faculty to help put on educational and social programming to bring awareness to current issues and to the systemic barriers that ethnic studies programs face. During her time with ASAM, she has studied Asian American history, communities, and activism, which will always inform the work she does. For the ‘23-’24 academic year, she will participate in the ASAM Fellows program, researching the relationship between Asian Americans and climate adaptation planning in New York City. She is an active member of the Vietnamese Students Association, working on the committee to put on the annual cultural show that celebrates their Vietnamese heritage and leading a family group of her peers. Khue was also a Student Eco-Rep with Penn Sustainability, working on a project to improve waste management systems in the dorms and implement a new office recycling program. Outside of school, you can find her as a barista at the coffee shop next to campus or at the front desk of one of the school’s libraries. She loves reading, going to concerts, and listening to video essays and podcasts, as she stays up-to-date on all pop culture happenings. She is excited to join the CAPAL cohort this summer and learn more about public service!

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Laurie Chan

Laurie is a rising senior at McGill University, majoring in Sociology and Environment. Through her involvement, she has found ways to put both parts of her academic aspirations into action. As someone inclined to work with others, she has volunteered with primary school children, refugees at language centers and youth mentorship. She has volunteered with the Chinese Progressive Association in her hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, where she advocated with the Housing Stability Committee during the pandemic’s peak for the housing moratorium bill and provided resources for those dealing with housing instability. Last summer, she interned with Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC to co-organize the first Asian-American-led march on the National Mall in Washington, DC. At McGill, she has interned with the McGill Office of Sustainability to manage the “Sustainability Projects Fund” to issue grassroots funding for student-led sustainability projects on campus, and to lead the Events Certification Program, which offers students and staff the opportunity to make their events more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. Outside of school and work, she loves singing acapella and in bands, acting in plays, and hiking up the mountain near McGill. She is extremely grateful for this opportunity to join the CAPAL cohort and looks forward to the upcoming summer!

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Mia Roque

Mia Roque is a rising sophomore at Barnard College of Columbia University pursuing a dual degree in Political Science and Human Rights with a minor in Spanish. On campus, she serves as the Cultural Chair for Liga Filipina, Historian for the Columbia Barbell Club, and is a member of the Columbia Policy Institute, a student-run think tank that aims to promote policy-based solutions to extant global issues. Joining these clubs has greatly improved Mia’s leadership and communication skills, which she plans to leverage in her advocacy work for low-income and marginalized communities. This summer, Mia is thrilled to be joining the CAPAL cohort and working with the U.S. Forest Service as a Legislative Affairs Intern. She is thankful for the opportunity to explore her interests in public service and connect with other passionate change makers across the country.

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Nary Park

Nary Park is a rising sophomore at Claremont McKenna College pursuing a major in Public Policy and considering a minor in legal studies. Growing up in a low-income community, she is passionate about issues such as wealth inequality, homelessness, and education rights. In the past, she has interned at a district office for a congressional district, addressing constituents’ needs and answering their questions. At Claremont McKenna, she is a part of the CARE Center, a diversity and inclusion space on campus, as well as APASA, the Asian Pacific American Students Association. In her free time, she loves to read, especially poetry, listen to music, and journal.

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Peter Tam

Peter Tam (he/him) is a rising fourth year at the University of Michigan studying Political Science. As a child of immigrants, he is deeply committed to giving back to the communities he is a part of through public service, especially in elevating marginalized voices. He has spent much of his undergraduate education working in public service, serving in the Department of Transportation and in his university’s student government. Outside of work, he enjoys reading the news, improving his drawing skills, and hiking. He is excited to be joining this year’s CAPAL cohort and hopes that it will be an opportunity to not only advance his skills and goals, but to meet a diverse and passionate group of people.

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Taryn Nakamura

Taryn Nakamura is a first-year graduate student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, studying Food Science with a concentration in Food Chemistry. She actively participates in the University of Hawaii community and serves as a representative for the food science program in the Graduate Student Organization (GSO). Through this organization, she provides input on policies affecting graduate students. Additionally, she is a teaching assistant for food chemistry and microbiology laboratory courses. Originally from Haleiwa, Hawaii, she is passionate about food sustainability and accessibility, particularly in relation to their impact on Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian communities. She enjoys going to the beach, playing tennis, and exploring different restaurants and cafes in her free time. She will intern with the United States Department of Agriculture’s ARS sector this summer.

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Van Pham

Van Pham (she/they) is a rising senior at Virginia Commonwealth University double majoring in Psychology and Sociology with a minor in Education. She is passionate about advocating for mental health in the AAPI community, specifically the generational trauma that exists in many AAPI families. To promote social equity, Van created a website that provided helpful resources that help people educate themselves on societal issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement, Stop Asian Hate, women’s rights, and more. As a future educator, she hopes to inspire and uplift minoritized voices by providing them with a safe space in schools. She is currently an Audio Visual Assistant for VCU School of Business where she works closely with faculty members and students from higher education departments. This job has allowed her to help VCU professors adjust to the use of technology in the classroom, something that many educators struggle with since COVID-19 has changed the amount of technology used to educate our youth. At VCU, Van is an active member of the Vietnamese Student Association where she promotes and celebrates Vietnamese culture with her peers. In her free time, she enjoys listening to and analyzing a variety of music, ranging from 90’s R&B to Alternative Indie. She also loves to travel and enjoy the natural beauty of the world. This summer, Van is thrilled to join the CAPAL cohort and to further expand her mind on various issues while learning from her CAPAL peers.

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Zeta Atoigue

Zeta Atoigue (she/her) is a recent graduate of William & Mary and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies with a concentration in Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies. During her time at W&M, Zeta worked closely with the APIA department on their annual magazine, Arts & Hatsuye, which highlights distinct issues the APIA community faces on and off campus. Additionally, she was heavily involved with the Filipino American Student Association, serving as Culture Chair & Committee Member, D7 Representative of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue, and recently as the president of the student organization. Her experiences with the APIA department and FASA inspired her to pursue an Honors Thesis on CHamoru oral history during and post-World War II. The research examines the use of storytelling as a means of preserving indigenous culture and history. Her Thesis gave her experience working with the CHamoru community and she hopes to continue working with PI affairs in the future. Outside of school, she worked as the Chapter & Membership Development intern at OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates and completed research on Hawai’i annexation. Zeta enjoys singing, learning more about her CHamoru culture and its language, and making coffee. She looks forward to her time with CAPAL this summer and is excited to broaden her knowledge about the APIA community!

CAPAL Public Service Scholars

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Malaya Siy

Malaya Siy is a rising 3L at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, CA. She is pursuing a certificate in capital lawyering and enjoys the energy of living in the capital. She has a wide range of interests in the legal field including environment and water, property, contracts, prisoner civil rights, and criminal defense. This summer, she is a law clerk at the California Department of Human Resources where she hopes to get a bigger picture of what public civil service means. Malaya plans to build a career around community service and live out the values she learned working as an AmeriCorps VISTA before law school. Outside of the library, Malaya enjoys running, going to concerts, and writing spoken word poetry. This summer, Malaya hopes to find community with her fellow CAPAL interns and scholars and learn how they and others in the CAPAL space take on public service in their own careers.

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Pashmina Khan

Pashmina Khan is a rising junior at New York University double majoring in Journalism and Psychology and minoring in Documentary Studies. Pashmina worked as a Video Editing and Producing Intern for the Ernest and Young Design Studio in New York City and as a Policy and Communications Intern for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. At NYU she holds positions with NYU’s independent student-run newspaper and Muslim Students’ Association. As a Journalism and Documentary Studies student she has produced a multitude of videos and photos, centered around capturing the narrative and stories of underrepresented groups; these include a Black Lives Matter Protest Montage, the beauty of Jammu-Kashmir, and an International Women’s Day segment. In the future, Pashmina plans to work as a Global Investigative Journalist specializing in humanitarian crises and conflict zones.

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Sarah Goldman

Sarah Goldman (she/her) is a rising junior at Wellesley College double majoring in English and Computer Science. On campus, she works at the college art library and is involved in Mock Trial and El Table, a student-run cooperative café. She is the proud daughter of Korean and Iranian immigrants. Having experienced the U.S. immigration system firsthand, she is deeply passionate about immigration law and hopes to play a role in making legal services more accessible to all. This summer, she is interning at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRCP) at Harvard Law School. In her free time, you can find her sketching, reading comic books, and lifting weights— not all at the same time, although that would be pretty impressive. She is excited and honored to join the CAPAL cohort this summer! 

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Wendy Gao

Wendy Gao is a rising fourth year at the University of Virginia studying Economics and Political & Social Thought. She hails from northern Virginia but was born and raised in Manhattan, Kansas. In her studies, Wendy is interested in the intersection of memory and trauma studies with migration and displacement, specifically relating to the Asian diaspora – subjects she is currently exploring while writing her undergraduate thesis. Wendy has wide-ranging and significant political campaign experience in Virginia, from school board races to campaigns for U.S. Congress. She is excited to be on the other side of the table and work for U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth this summer to learn the ins and outs of policy legislation in the U.S. Senate while working on issues she is passionate about, including AANHPI advocacy, immigration, racial justice, and reproductive rights. In her free time, Wendy enjoys playing with her dog, drinking cappuccinos, exploring used bookstores, and writing and reading poetry. At the University of Virginia, Wendy founded and is the co-editor-in-chief of the first Asian Pacific Islander South Asian/American literary magazine, in{Visible} Magazine. She is excited to join the CAPAL cohort this summer to be part of a network of other AANHPI individuals interested in government and public service!

CAPAL Office Interns

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Kevin Dagvadorj

Kevin Dagvadorj (He/Him) is a second-year student at DePauw University majoring in Earth Science with a minor in Global French Studies, History, and Studio Art. Growing up in Indiana, he spent most of his time working at his family’s restaurant, where he devotes his time during the summer. On campus, he is the Vice President of Member Outreach for the DePauw Marketing Group, a member of the Sustainability Leadership Program, and the philanthropy chair of the Xi chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Kevin has a passion for service and has participated in the DePauw dance marathon, an event to raise money for Riley Children’s Hospital, he volunteers at the non-food pantry, and has raised over $800 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and over $10,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. With interest in environmentalism, he has worked to make the Greek houses on campus more sustainable by implementing donation bins for the campus thrift store in multiple sorority and fraternity houses. During his free time, you can find him hanging out with friends and family, cooking new dishes, or traveling to new places. Kevin is excited to see what this summer brings and proud to be a part of CAPAL.

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Rachel Ninjbadrakh

Rachel Ninjbadrakh got her bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley with a semester at King’s College London. She has spent most of her time outside of university working in education. These include becoming a biology student instructor at UC Berkeley, working to bring science education to elementary and middle school students through organizations like the Berkeley Engineers and Mentors program (BEAM) and non-profit organizations like Berkeley Youth Alternatives (BYA). For the time being, Rachel is working as a journalist at the UBPost in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

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Sukhmani Kakar

Sukhmani Kakar is a rising sophomore at UCLA pursuing a major in Human Biology and Society, and considering majors in Public Affairs and International Relations. She is also pursuing a minor in Mandarin Chinese and is working toward a translator’s certification by the time she graduates. From Washington, D.C., she is passionate about issues surrounding health inequity, racial justice, and the AANHPI community. At UCLA, she is part of a women’s health advocacy organization where she works to educate college women on health and safety, as well as providing them with accessible women’s health services. Sukhmani first developed interest in the public service sector during her time interning with the Coalition for Racial and Ethnic Equity in Development, and she hopes to go into advocacy and non-profit work in the future. In her free
time, Sukhmani enjoys reading, trying various LA restaurants with her friends, and dancing Punjabi folk dance, or bhangra. She is excited to work with CAPAL this summer and is greatly looking forward to expanding her knowledge of the public service field.