CAPAL Public Service Scholars & Interns

2024 Summer 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-Wisconsin, USDA ARS, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, International Trade Administration, Asian American LEAD, MOAPIA, 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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Akiko Jindo

Akiko Jindo is a rising senior at Williams College majoring in Philosophy and Chinese. Growing up as the oldest of five in a Japanese immigrant family in New York City, she has always had a passion for issues affecting BIPOC communities. She is a QuestBridge Match Scholar and an APIA Foundation Scholar and on campus, she is involved in AASiA (Asian American Students in Action) and Asian Dance Troupe, serves as Co-Chair of NASU (the Japanese Student Association), plays for the Club Tennis team, among many other involvements.

She has previously interned at a Japanese foreign relations think tank as well as at JUSFC and CULCON, federal government agencies designed to promote U.S.-Japan relations. She has an overarching interest in international relations, influenced by a longstanding love of languages and a desire to travel the world. She is very excited for this opportunity to intern through CAPAL at USDA APHIS in the Legislative and Public Affairs department! In her free time, she can be found reading, listening to music, or discovering new restaurants and cafes, and she is ecstatic to meet her fellow cohort members.

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Alan Jian

Alan Jian is a rising sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, triple majoring in the Canfield Business Honors Program, Finance, and Sustainability Studies. Growing up in China before moving to the United States at the age of ten, Alan is interested in promoting collaboration and understanding between people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. As an impact-driven individual, Alan also cares deeply about the transition toward a more circular and sustainable economy. On campus, Alan chairs the People, Culture, and Community committee of the Undergraduate Business Council, where he strives to foster a safe space for everyone in the business school. As a Philanthropy Investment Team Analyst, Alan researches various environmental charities to determine their social return on investment, evaluating various climate solutions from food waste reduction to coastline restoration. Alan is also an avid beekeeper, poet (in the making), public transportation lover, and beginner-level Cantonese soup connoisseur. In the future, Alan hopes to work in either the private or public sector to advance environmental justice, sustainable infrastructure/design, and social equity. Alan is very excited to join CAPAL, looking forward to the peers and mentors who will inspire him to become a better leader and public servant.

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Ally Huang

Ally Huang (she/her) is a rising senior at Pomona College studying Public Policy Analysis with a concentration in Economics. Born in the Bay Area, she identifies as Chinese American but has also lived in Switzerland and China. Her experience abroad has made her passionate about global issues such as climate change, immigration, and public health. She hopes to analyze problems through a quantitative, interdisciplinary lens to identify how policies can better reflect the needs of historically marginalized groups. 

At Pomona, Ally builds community as a head mentor for the Asian American Mentor Program and an intern for the Asian American Resource Center. She also connects with others through dance and self-expression as the incoming president of the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company and a head partner at the Writing Center.

Ally is incredibly excited to join the CAPAL cohort and contribute to a USDA ARS policy project this summer. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in policy research, public service, or some other pathway that will allow her to make an impact.

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Angel Yuan

Angel Yuan (she/her) is a rising senior at Pomona College majoring in International Relations and French, although she also spent her junior fall studying abroad at Sciences Po Paris. She was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada and is a second-generation Chinese-Canadian. Angel is particularly passionate about AAPI empowerment, language accessibility, and advocacy for all marginalized communities.

At Pomona, Angel competes on the national circuit with the Pomona College Model United Nations team and will be its Co-President this upcoming school year. She is also a student liaison for the International Relations department. Next year, she will also be a Head Tour Guide at the Pomona Admissions Office, following a strike and open letter that she organized in response to the school’s arrest and suspension of twenty students calling for divestment from companies and academic institutions complicit in Israeli apartheid.

She officially began her AAPI advocacy journey as an intern with the Chinese American Citizens Alliance – Los Angeles Lodge, before going on to join the 2023 Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE) Leadership Academy, where she had the opportunity to intern at Congressman Jimmy Gomez’s (CA-34) district office. She has also interned with various non-profit organizations, such as the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Special Service for Groups, and InReach. Angel is a passionate language learner—she recently embarked on a journey to learn her fifth language, Arabic—and hopes to use her language skills for good.

In her free time, Angel enjoys cafe-hopping for the best matcha lattes, rewatching her comfort show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and playing the New York Times puzzles. She cannot wait to spend her summer learning with the CAPAL cohort as well as
interning with AALEAD (Asian American Youth Leadership Empowerment and
Development).

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Angela Yang

Angela Yang is currently a sophomore at UC Davis studying Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology. Angela has been a lover of art and music all her life, and is currently in two student ensembles – Video Game Orchestra and Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan. Recently Angela has gotten into baking, mostly born out of procrastination, and she really likes fish puns, no squidding.

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Caleb Kuo

Caleb Kuo is a third-year student at the University of Virginia double majoring in Economics and Political Philosophy, Policy & Law. As a young Taiwanese American passionate about political discourse and informed policy implementation, he is particularly intrigued by the adverse incentive structures that perpetuate housing inequity, bias taxation policy, and impede healthcare reform. Some of his academic research expertise includes the impact of short-term rentals on eviction rates and homelessness, the continued abuse of taxation loopholes by corporations, and the inefficiencies of the private insurance model.

Outside of his policy research, Caleb ins heavily involved with both the University and the greater-Charlottesville community. He serves as a student representative to the College Foundation Board of Trustees and as a member of the Student Council Community Engagement Committee. He volunteers at the local Day Shelter and regularly engages with homeless individuals in the downtown area with his Christian fellowship. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and a career in policy analysis with a think tank or an executive agency. In his spare time, Caleb can be found watching baseball, using his camera to take portraits of his friends, and exploring the outdoors on his mountain bike.

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Christine Baek

Christine Baek is a third year student at Brown University double concentrating in International & Public Affairs and Environmental Studies. She is deeply interested in climate change policy and diplomacy, with a focus on sustainable development and energy security. Christine is also passionate about nature storytelling and writes for several publications on campus, including Brown Alumni Magazine and the Forager Zine. At Brown, she’s been involved in the Climate & Development Lab, the Swearer Center’s Social Innovation Fellowship and Community-Based Learning & Research Fellowship as well as Brown-RISD’s Branch Christian Fellowship. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, rock climbing and gleaning fruits and vegetables at local farms with her friends. She is incredibly excited and honored to join CAPAL’s Spring 2024 cohort and looks forward to her semester here in DC!

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Cooper Salomon

Kumusta sa tanan. Ang akong ngalan si Cooper Salomon. Ako gikan sa dapit sa East
Fork sa suba nga San Gabriel, kini nga suba nag-agos sa ubos sa mga bukid sa San Gabriel. Hello! My name is Cooper Salomon. My waters are the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, and my mountains are the San Gabriel Mountains of the Transverse Range, and I call the County of Los Angeles in California my home. Amidst many challenges, including the pandemic, I transferred to Citrus College for an Associate’s Degree in Wildland Resources and Forestry and am currently continuing my studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Natural Resources and Environmental Management where I am currently working toward my Bachelor’s Degree.

From 2017 to 2023, I served the County of Los Angeles Natural Areas Division, at times taking up roles such as a Disaster Service Worker lead and Field Supervisor for the Careers in Conservation Program. During my time in LA County, I was recognized as Employee of the Month for our Division, Regional facilities, and Employee of the Year in 2019. From 2021 to 2022, I also worked as a Discover and Advanced Robotics Instructor at STEM Center USA teaching students Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, earning the recognition as the “Rookie Instructor of the Year”. Starting in 2022 to 2023, I took on another job working for the nonprofit TreePeople in the Mountain Forestry department, helping facilitate restoration projects across diverse ecosystems and contributing to the development of emergency response procedures.

Today, I look to continue making a difference as the Program Outreach Specialist at
Mālama ʻĀina Foundation and as the Native Hawaiian Plants Horticulture Assistant at Honolulu Community College. In addition to my professional endeavors, I have remained engaged in a variety of volunteer opportunities including the Blue Water Exchange program (2020, 2022-Present), a local Volunteer Trail Crew (2020, 2022-2023), Generation Green (2017-2023), facilitating Brush Removal and Fuels Reduction in the Angeles National Forest (2021-2022), and am now currently training on a local volunteer Search and Rescue Team (2024-Present).

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Ellie Hung

Ellie Hung is an outgoing freshman at Pasadena City College majoring in Political Science on track to transfer her sophomore year through the University of Southern California Trojan Transfer Program to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies & Planning/Real Estate Development. Because she grew up in a small, unincorporated, and underrepresented city, Ellie is inspired to work directly in the Public Sector and dedicate her career to finding solutions to the homelessness crisis in California. She is passionate about sustainability, social innovation, and real estate. Alongside being a full-time PCC honors student, Ellie is also pursuing her real estate license and hopes to contribute that knowledge and experience to her future involvement in the Public Sector. 

As a recent high school graduate, Ellie’s work during her senior year was dedicated to the establishment of more eco-friendly habits in her school, which included the establishment of a recycling collection program on her campus. Within the first 9 months, the program successfully collected over 300 pounds of recyclable products, which turned into donations to her school’s own Special Needs program. 

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Francisco Ciraulo

Francisco is a rising junior at Stanford University where he has enjoyed coursework in political science, mixed-race politics and culture, and using data to solve social
problems. Outside of classes, he has participated in the Stanford Ignite public service program, Stanford ACLU, Asian American Activities Center, and Formosan Association for Public Affairs. As a Youth Ambassador for the California Hepatitis Elimination Coalition, Francisco worked to mitigate the disproportionate impact of hepatitis on communities of color; he advocated for hepatitis screening legislation (AB 789), which became California law in 2021. Francisco spent the last two summers working in D.C. for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino and was an invited panelist at last year’s Smithsonian National Education Summit. With immigrant grandparents from four different countries, Francisco proudly celebrates his mixed-race heritage, loves to cook spicy dishes, and cannot live without avocados. He is excited to join the CAPAL cohort this summer and meet other students interested in public service.

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Hannah Jon

Hannah Jon is a rising senior at Washington University in St. Louis studying race, public policy, and education with a focus on Asian American Studies. Last summer, she conducted community-centered fieldwork and interdisciplinary research with WashU’s School of Continuing & Professional Studies. Her work helped establish EMPOWER, a free educational program designed to provide St. Louis refugees with English language and professional development. On campus, she also leads Asian/American social justice organization Asians Demanding Justice, interns for the American Culture Studies/Asian American Studies Department, and co-founded WashU’s first Asian-identity magazine, (RE)ORIENT. Hannah spent the past semester abroad in Denmark, studying the Scandinavian pedagogical approach as an alternative to U.S. educational systems. She is excited to return to the U.S. with fresh perspectives on educational policy! This summer, Hannah is interning with the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs. She is looking forward to joining the CAPAL cohort in building a community of AAPI in public service!

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Henry Zheng

Hello, my name is Henry Zheng! I had recently graduated from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland with a bachelor’s degree of Liberal Arts. With my background in education, politics, law, and government, I hope to utilize these experiences and skills to help and support many different communities in Washington D.C. while seeking great opportunities to continue building my education and political knowledge. With my additional UX/UI experience, I also aim to work on designing and building different digital user-focused products to inspire others to brainstorm and establish their own ideas and turn them into their products. My interests and hobbies are baking, reading and writing, rowing/crew, and learning different languages!

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Kainoa Martinez

My name is Kainoa Martinez. I am a senior at the University of Southern California majoring in Health & Human Sciences and double minoring in Healthcare Studies and Theatre. I am passionate about advocating for Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander health and addressing the health disparities marginalized communities encounter. At USC, I am involved in the Pacific Islander Student Association, the Asian Pacific Cinema Association, and Troy Philippines.

I am currently working as a Research Assistant with CSU San Marcos Public Health and Pacific Islander Community Health (PIC) to improve the health and well-being of Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders through community-driven and culturally tailored programs aimed at reducing health disparities. This summer I will be interning with USDA ARS as a member of the Microbiome and Metabolism Research Unit to advance our understanding of how parental-child diet, nutrition, and physical activity optimize development.

In my free time, I love to act in theatre and film, work out, relax at the beach, and my favorite genre of music to listen to is R&B. I look forward to joining this summer’s CAPAL cohort and meeting all my fellow interns and scholars!

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Keanu Yamanaka Shui

Keanu Yamanaka is a rising third year at Grinnell College majoring in Political Science considering an Anthropology double major with a concentration in Statistics. He is passionate about positive outcomes and opportunities for youth from underresourced communities and access to higher education. Keanu has done significant advocacy, collaborative research, and awareness of resources for youth experiencing homelessness and the transformational healing effects of outdoor equity.

He hopes to honor family members by signing the Ireichō and continue fighting for remembrance, equitable pathways for youth involved in various “systems” and the experiences of multiracial AANHPIs. He hopes to pursue a career in public service, government, or a fulfilling career bridging the gap between a dream and an option for disadvantaged communities. When exploring new places, he enjoys climbing, water activities, and nature walks.

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Lily Feng

Lily Feng is a current junior at Tufts University. She is majoring in International Relations and minoring in Economics and is interested in public policy, international development and law. Spending her first semester off-campus with the Tufts Civic Semester, Lily worked with different community-based organizations working to address immigration, border justice, and environmental health issues in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. This experience shaped Lily’s interest in public service and serving marginalized communities and has led her to be involved with the Tisch Scholars program at Tufts, which allows her to intern with a community organization in Boston during the school-year while engaging in conversations with fellow Tisch Scholars on social justice and civic engagement issues.

She is also a Laidlaw Scholar and currently working on research with the Asian Outreach Center at the Greater Boston Legal Services addressing immigration issues in undocumented and Southeast Asian communities in Greater Boston. Lily was also nominated as a Newmen Civic Fellow in the upcoming year to further develop her public leadership skills and skills engaging with community organizations. In her free time, Lily enjoys reading, listening to music and podcasts, running, and exploring cities.

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Marlena Ngim

Marlena Ngim is a rising senior at San Diego State University, majoring in Health Communication with a minor in Public Health. She is passionate about public health advocacy, health policy, and reproductive rights, particularly within underserved communities. This passion led her to intern at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she collaborated with the Community-based Organization Monitoring and Evaluation Team to understand HIV testing data and generate essential reports. She also authored guidelines for program funding for grant-seeking nonprofits. On campus, Marlena is actively involved in the Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA) and serves as the Vice President of the Transfer Student Outreach Alliance (TSOA). She is also set to become a Peer Health Educator next year. Her leadership roles have involved planning events, promoting student engagement, and advocating for student needs. Outside of academics, Marlena loves to play Animal Crossing, drink copious amounts of coffee, and make people laugh.

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Natalie Chen

Natalie is a sophomore at the University of Southern California studying Business Administration and Legal Studies. After establishing a nonprofit to teach public speaking to students within her community, she championed work within the nonprofit sector, facilitating the operations for Youth Advisory Boards and aiding in research at Boston University’s CERES Institute for Children & Youth. Natalie is mainly interested in applied issues related to international economics, business, and law, particularly focusing on international trade. Her hobbies include tennis, pickleball, baking, and gardening.

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Nazeeya Chowdhury

My name is Nazeeya Chowdhury, I am a recent graduate of Virginia Tech, where I majored in Animal and Poultry Sciences and minored in Public Health. This fall, I will be attending Tufts University to pursue a Master’s in Conservation Medicine. I am from Northern Virginia but my parents made sure to raise me with knowledge and respect for our Bengali culture. My passion lies in animal welfare and environmental conservation. I am dedicated to fostering positive relationships between animals and people using the knowledge I’ll gain while interning at the National Resource and Conservation Services this summer.

Throughout my academic career, I interned with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, worked as a veterinary assistant, and volunteered at animal shelters both at Virginia Tech and in my hometown. In my free time, I enjoy activities such as dancing and mixing music. I also value quality time with friends and family. I am eager to continue learning and collaborating with others in CAPAL.

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Nichole Espineli

My name is Nichole Espineli, but my friends call me Nicky. My pronouns are she/her. I was born and raised in Chicago, and I am a first-generation Filipino American. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Public Health from Beloit College and am currently pursuing my Master of Science in Public Health with a focus on Health Policy at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Driven by a passion for creating healthier communities, I aim to utilize policy and community engagement tools to help develop a sustainable, equitable, and resilient food system. My career goals are rooted in the belief that everyone deserves access to nutritious food and the benefits of a fair health system.

I enjoy learning new recipes, biking, and reading romantic and quirky books. Additionally, I’ve recently developed an interest in word searches and arts and crafts. My hobbies help me balance my academic and professional pursuits, providing a creative outlet and a way to relax.

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Rina Xu

Rina is a rising junior at Vanderbilt University studying Public Policy Studies and Economics with two minors in Data Science and Asian American Studies! Following her undergraduate education, Rina hopes to pursue legal studies with a focus on international and economic law. Outside of academics, she is extremely involved and passionate about Asian American advocacy, currently leading a student-run advocacy project on campus that fights for structural changes to benefit the Asian American community at Vanderbilt. Finally, Rina also enjoys reading romance novels, drinking coffee, trying new restaurants, and meeting new people!

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Sam Muir

Sam Muir is a master’s student at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), studying Environmental Data Science. Additionally, he is the student representative on the Bren School’s Master’s Curriculum Committee and sits on the Dean’s Advisory Council. His current research areas and interests include spatio-temporal land cover shifts in climate change, machine learning spatial modeling to inform species conservation efforts, and accessible science communication for environmental justice.

In all of his work, Sam aims to elevate and incorporate the experiences of underrepresented populations and ultimately hopes to develop environmental data tools to aid these groups. Following graduation from UCSB, Sam is excited to further environmental equity in public schools as a School Campus Tree Study Intern for the U.S. Forest Service. Sam holds a B.S. in Biology, a B.A. in Environmental Studies, and a minor in French Language and Culture from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

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Tamanna Chowdhury

Tamanna Chowdhury is a driven rising senior at Hunter College, where she is enrolled in the prestigious Deadouls Honors program and majoring in Computer Science. She actively contributes to the campus community as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for Intro to Computer Science and as a Committee member for the Deadouls Honors program.

Born and raised in America to parents from Bangladesh, Tamanna embodies a rich cultural background. Her experiences growing up in a multicultural environment likely contribute to her diverse perspectives and broad understanding of the world. Tamanna is deeply passionate about making a positive impact in the tech industry and advocating for greater inclusion of women in STEM fields. Her commitment to these causes reflects her desire to create a more equitable and diverse future in technology.

In addition to her academic pursuits and extracurricular involvement, Tamanna has a keen interest in photography. This creative outlet allows her to express herself artistically and capture the beauty of the world around her. She also enjoys spending time in nature, going on walks with her family and friends. Overall, Tamanna Chowdhury is a motivated and multifaceted individual who is dedicated to her studies, passionate about social issues, and finds joy in both creative expression and outdoor adventures.

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Tehani Chandrasena Perera

Tehani is a rising senior at Mount Holyoke College majoring in International Relations with a minor in Psychology and a Nexus in Law, Public Policy and Human Rights. Her International Relations major focuses on Global Commons which consists of areas related to migration, refugees, diasporas and ethnic politics. Tehani hopes to learn more about feminist health politics in the South Asian subcontinent as well as gender, sexuality and minority health in rural communities. She is passionate about advocating for gender equality and fixing educational inequity. She has been a part of social service organizations for most of her high school life going into college and has initiated many projects related to empowering women and girls.

On campus, she currently serves as the Social Chair for the 2025 Class Board, Co-Chair of AWAZ the South Asian Students Association, Captain of the JHUMKA dance team and Vice President of the MHC Pre-Law Association. She has worked on several teams at non-profit organizations and has held internships in Sri Lanka, The U.S. and remote positions in China and the Seychelles. She is a recipient of the Young Women in Public Affairs award through Zonta International and was the only winner from the Asian subcontinent among 9 other young women from across the globe. After graduation, Tehani plans to read for a master’s in Public Policy. This summer, Tehani is thrilled to join the CAPAL cohort and to further her interests in public service through hands-on experience!

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Vidhatrie Keetha

Vidhatrie Keetha is a rising sophomore and transfer student at Cornell University. As a first-year student at Emory University, she held leadership roles in Emory’s Asian Pacific-Islander Desi American Activists club (APIDAA), South Asian Women’s Collective (SAWC), Student Government Association’s First Year Council, and Center for Women’s Praxis cohort. As a part of these organizations, she engaged with Asian American advocacy by moderating panels and leading discussion-based events on topics ranging from interracial dialogue to Asian Americans in literature/publishing. She was appointed a 2022 National Student Poet by Dr. Jill Biden, and has performed or has been honored for her poetry at venues including the White House, Carnegie Hall, Planet Word Museum, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and more. As a National Student Poet, she collaborated with local nonprofits and libraries to lead workshops in New York focused on the intersections between poetry and activism, and founded Wanderer Poetry Collective to increase access to literary programming and publishing opportunities for marginalized youth. She is passionate about finding ways to combine her interests in literature and community organizing, having recently written original poetry for an Atlanta exhibit on Asian American History organized by the nonprofit Asian American Voices for Education (AAVED). She is so excited for the opportunity to join the CAPAL cohort and looks forward to learning more about public service this summer!

CAPAL Public Service Scholars

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Ayaan Siddiqui

Ayaan Siddiqui is a Cornelius Scholar at Vanderbilt University from Phoenix, Arizona. Ayaan has been involved as a representative and state engagement liaison to ZeroHour, The Borgen Project, and ImproveTheDream where he has lobbied government offices to advocate for climate justice, increased USAID to severely impoverished communities, and immigration reform respectively. He has worked to help introduce two bills in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate supporting immigration reform for children of long-term visa holders. Through his appointment as a UNICEF National Youth Council Member, he has given opening remarks at the State of the World’s Children Report on mental health and the Concordia Summit alongside the United Nations General Assembly on youth participation in local communities.

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Jenny Lee

Jenny Lee (she/her) is a rising senior at Yale University double majoring in Economics and Ethnicity, Race & Migration, with a concentration in Asian American feminist ethics of care. She is a 1.5-generation Korean American immigrant raised in Seattle, Washington, where the crux of her identity development took root. Her interests focus on learning from Afro-Asian feminist solidarities and disability justice activists to embody networks of healing from violence within AANHPI communities. On campus, she has served as Co-Moderator of the Asian American Students Alliance and worked as a Political Action and Education Coordinator at the Asian American Cultural Center. Additionally, she is a Communication and Consent Educator at the Office of Gender and Campus Culture at Yale, fostering a more positive sexual and social climate by deconstructing social scripts and creating effective interventions. Last summer, Jenny worked at Reproductive Freedom for All (NARAL) as a Research Intern, as well as at OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates. She is excited to return to Washington, D.C. this summer to intern at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI). In her free time, you can find her perusing new books on her Goodreads feed, listening to Korean pop music, and walking in the Pacific Northwest nature.

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Rachel Tao

Rachel Tao (she/her) is a rising senior at Georgetown University majoring in Government and Sociology. She is also the daughter of Chinese immigrants, born in Iowa and raised in Auburn, Alabama, an upbringing that sparked her interest in public service. After watching her family experience isolation and marginalization within the Deep South, she became deeply committed to racial and economic justice. At Georgetown, she has been involved with several programs at the Center for Social Justice and also served as the Co-President of the Asian American Student Association (AASA). Off-campus, she enjoys exploring all corners of the political world; she has worked in Sen. Ed Markey’s office, the Department of Justice, and the DNC, along with completing nonprofit and campaign work. Last summer, she interned at the Department of Labor in Acting Secretary Julie Su’s office, where she assisted President Biden’s Invest in America agenda and other workforce initiatives. All of these experiences have shaped her passion for AANHPI community and worker justice, which she will continue to pursue as a CAPAL Scholar on the House Committee for Education and the Workforce’s Democratic staff this summer. In the meantime, you can find her visiting parks, going on long walks, or dancing!

CAPAL Office Interns

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Chingun Tsogt-Erdene

Tsetsenkhaan (Chingun) Tsogt-Erdene is a rising junior at Wesleyan University, where he is pursuing a B.A. in Economics. He is an APIA Scholar and a QuestBridge Scholar. At Wesleyan, Chingun works as a teaching assistant for the Economics Department, a Facility Assistant for the Usdan University Center,  and is an active member of the QuestBridge community, helping to plan events and support the student community. He is also active in the Wesleyan Investment Group, the International Buddy Program, and the Asian American Studies Working Group. In the future, Chingun hopes to have a career in international business or finance. Chingun was raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; and Starkville, Mississippi. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball and running, and is a life-long Tar Heel fan.

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Kenny Tsogtbaatar

Enkhtaivan (Kenny) Tsogtbaatar is a rising junior studying International Studies at the University of Colorado, Denver. There, he is in the University Honors and Leadership Program, serves as an executive board member for the Asian Student Association, and volunteers at the Denver Rescue Mission and Food Bank of the Rockies. Enkhtaivan has also worked as an intern at his university’s Asian Student Association, a tutor at the UNIVERSAL English Language Center, a translator for the MATHSHOP program, and a translator for the Mongolian Triathlon Union. Born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Enkhtaivan attended the Mongol Aspiration International Laboratory School where he founded the table tennis and badminton clubs, participated and earned awards in Model United Nations and English Language Olympiads, and was a finalist for the US State Department Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX). Following his participation in FLEX, Enkhtaivan also completed its sister program, the American Leaders Exchange Program (ALEX). Through experience and hard work, he hopes to one day work in an internationally recognized organization and continue to connect and facilitate exchanges between people of different cultures.

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Marissa Halagao

Marissa Halagao is a rising sophomore at Yale University studying Ethnicity, Race & Migration and Education Studies. In 2021, she founded the Filipino Curriculum Project in Hawai‘i, a student-driven initiative of Filipino students collaborating with educators to create a curriculum about Filipino history, culture and identity. Since then, the group has successfully advocated for their curriculum’s implementation in the Hawai‘i Department of Education. Their course, “Filipino History Culture,” will be offered in Hawai‘i high schools starting Fall 2024, marking history as the first Filipino history course adopted in a statewide education system. Marissa serves as a center staff member at the Yale Asian American Cultural Center and the Social Chair of Kasama: the Filipinx Club at Yale, where she plans and engages in community and cultural events and initiatives such as Kasama’s Tagalog at Yale campaign. She was a pioneer cohort member in the 2023 Filipino Young Global Leadership Program, and in 2023 was the first high school student recipient of the Philippine Studies Academic Subject Certificate from the University of Hawai‘i, Leeward Community College. Marissa’s experiences have propelled her to foster a passion of social transformation intertwined with educational advocacy. She is dedicated to the teachings of marginalized histories and their intersections in order to empower BIPOC identities that are not commonly celebrated or represented in education.