Scholarship & Internship Program

Scholarship & Internship Program

Public Service Internships

CAPAL’s Public Service Internship Program places undergraduate and graduate students within the public sector in the Washington, DC area and throughout the United States. Intern duties may include policy or scientific research, project coordination and management, business, law, communications, and more. Placements may be in rural or urban areas, such as Alaska, Delaware, and California.  Applicants are asked to specify their placement preferences on the application, and those selected will be placed based on their interests and skills. These internships are open to ALL MAJORS. All interns are awarded a minimum $3000 stipend.

Applicants can apply for internships for Spring 2024, Summer 2024, and Fall 2024. Internships during Spring and Fall will be part-time or full-time; internships during the Summer will be full-time only.

**Note: Specific stipend amount may vary depending on the internship organization and length of internship.

U.S. Forest Service Public Land Corps & USDA ARS Program 

In addition, CAPAL is recruiting students and recent graduates with an interest or background in: natural resources, STEM, biology, forestry, etc. for an internship with the U.S. Forest Service and USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS). Students have the opportunity to be considered for the U.S. Forest Service Public Land Corps Program and USDA ARS Internship Program. The U.S. Forest Service Public Land Corps Program consists of a 640-hour internship with the U.S. Forest Service that provides students with hands-on field experience at one of U.S. Forest Service’s national sites as well as professional development opportunities. The USDA Agricultural Research Service Program consists of a 320-hour, STEM-based research internship in a USDA ARS field office. 

Apply below.

**Note: The same Deadlines & Timelines apply for the U.S. Forest Service Public Land Corps and USDA ARS Internship Program.

Public Service Scholarships

CAPAL’s Public Service Scholarship Program awards $3000 scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students who will be serving in unpaid, full-time public service internships in the Washington, DC area or throughout the U.S. during the summer. These scholarships are intended to enable outstanding students with leadership potential to work full-time and learn ways to influence their local communities and the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community. Recipients of the scholarships are responsible for securing their own internship opportunity. Applicants can apply for scholarships for Summer 2024 only. 

The CAPAL-MAASU Public Service Scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate student enrolled at a school that is a member of the Midwest Asian American Students Union (MAASU) All eligible scholarship applicants will be considered for the CAPAL-MAASU scholarship. Check if your school is a member here.

**All CAPAL Scholars & Interns during the summer, in addition to their full-time internship, are required to participate in CAPAL’s additional programming. An example of a previous summer schedule can be found here.** 

**For scholarship applicants: Upon acceptance, you must print and submit the CAPAL Scholarship Program Participation Agreement if you have an internship secured already. If you are still in the process of securing an internship, please note this in your application in the appropriate short answer section. Once you have secured your internship you will be required to submit the Agreement.**

Priority deadline for CAPAL’s Fall 2024 Public Service Scholarship & Internship Program is Friday, July 26, 11:59 pm ET

Please see specific deadlines under “Deadlines & Timeline” for the spring, summer, and fall 2024 term.

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Hear from former students

Learn about applying

Applications for the 2024 Public Service Scholarship & Internship Program will open Monday, November 6. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with soft deadlines for each term (see Deadlines & Timelines). The online application must include all of the following components.

  • Application form
  • Personal statement (750 works max)
  • One-page resume
  • Current official or unofficial transcript
  • Letter of recommendation

If you have any other questions, please email

Application Review

  • The application review process will begin on a rolling basis in November, and applicants will be invited to interview with CAPAL
  • For the Public Service Internship Program, after the CAPAL interview, finalists will receive an email from CAPAL to interview with a potential internship agency
  • *NOTE: Final acceptance into CAPAL’s Public Service Internship Program will be dependent on final selection and review by the internship agency 

For this opportunity, we strongly encourage and seek applications from people of color especially Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders; people with disabilities; and people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

Deadlines and Timelines

  • Spring 2024 (Public Service Internship)
    • Friday, December 15, 2023 | 11:59 pm ET- Priority deadline **Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis after December 15. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible**
    • Mid-January- All interns matched
    • February-May- Interns will complete their internship


  • Summer 2024 (Public Service Scholarship & Internship)
    • Monday, February 12, 2024 | 11:59 pm ET- Applications close
    • May- All interns matched
    • June-July- Scholars and Interns will complete their internship


  • Fall 2024 (Public Service Internship)
    • Friday, July 26, 2024 | 11:59 pm ET- Priority deadline for applications. Any applications submitted afterwards will be reviewed on a rolling basis
    • August- All interns matched
    • September-December- Interns will complete their internship


CAPAL Scholars & Interns are required to participate in CAPAL’s additional programming alongside their internship. CAPAL’s programming will vary upon each term. **All CAPAL Scholars and Interns are invited to participate in any programming that is not offered during their term**



• Only currently enrolled students are eligible for an internship or scholarship through CAPAL.
• U.S. citizenship is not required for CAPAL’s Public Service internships. Permanent residents, and in some instances, interns with appropriate work visas, are eligible to apply. Specific citizenship and residency requirements may vary by federal agency. CAPAL’s scholarships, however, are open to all students, regardless of residency or citizenship status.

Public Service Internship Requirements

• Fulfill responsibilities of a full-time internship within assigned public service organization.
• Attend all sessions of CAPAL’s Washington Leadership Program (WLP) as well as other summer events designated as required.
• Collaborate with assigned Community Action Project (CAP) team to create a finished project to be presented at CAPAL’s annual Closing Ceremony.
• Attend regular cohort sessions.
• Meet regularly with a paired mentor who matches the intern’s areas of interest, and complete a mentorship plan.

**Note: These requirements are specific for the Summer 2024 Scholars & Interns. Spring and Fall 2024 Interns will have their own set of programming that they will be required to complete.

Public Service Scholarship Requirements

• All applicants must either have secured or applied to an unpaid public service internship in order to be eligible to receive a scholarship from CAPAL. The internship must be full-time for a minimum of 8 weeks, or the equivalent of 320 hours, during the summer

• Same requirements as listed for “Public Service Internship Requirements.”

2023 Placement Partners: 

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service • USDA Agricultural Research Service • Brookings Institution • Asian American Scholars Forum • White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders • U.S. Forest Service • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service-Wisconsin

Previous Placement Partners:

Google • United States Environmental Protection Agency • Truman Research Institute • USDA Foreign Agricultural Service • U.S. Department of Interior

“To be eligible for the scholarship, what qualifies as an unpaid public service internship?”

    • Internships with federal, state, local or tribal government organizations, public child or family service agencies, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, or tribal colleges or universities are public service internships.
    • To be eligible for the scholarship, the internship must be unpaid and in the Washington, DC area. In the case that the internship is virtual, the placement site can be based in the metro Washington DC area or throughout the U.S. 

“If I graduate in the spring, can I still apply for the summer program?”

    • Yes, you can certainly apply as a recent graduate. However, if you have been out of school for over a semester, you must be planning to attend grad school in the fall to be eligible.

“Can I apply to multiple programs?”

    • Yes, you can apply for the  Public Service Internship as well as the Scholarship program all in the same application.
    • You do not need to submit multiple applications to apply for each program. 

“What if I am chosen as a Spring or Fall 2024 Intern, but I still want to participate in CAPAL’s programming during the summer?”

    • CAPAL will open all programming that is not offered during the spring or fall terms to its spring and fall interns during the summer. This includes: Community Action Projects, professional development workshops, cohort sessions, etc.

“Does CAPAL cover housing expenses?”

    • Unfortunately, we are unable to cover housing costs for our Scholars and Interns, but we do provide a housing resource guide with helpful tips and links to make your housing search easier. 

“My school operates on a trimester or quarterly system so I don’t finish finals until after the start date. Can I still apply?”

    • We advise that you indicate clearly in your application that you may need to start your internship at a later date. This start date can be negotiated with supervisors if you are awarded a CAPAL Scholarship or Internship.

“What does the work environment typically look like?”

    • For our DC-based internships, it is highly likely that you will work in an office setting. 
    • Internships throughout the U.S. can be a mix of office and sitework. 
    • As for our scholarship, the work environment will depend on the organization. 
    • **Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, CAPAL programming will be hybrid with a mix of virtual and in-person events in Washington, DC** 

“Does CAPAL give any other financial support aside from the $3,000 stipend?” 

    • CAPAL reimburses scholars and interns roundtrip travel to and from DC for in-person programming and a domestic destination. If you are selected for our program, an in-depth reimbursement policy will be sent to you along with other welcome materials. 

“Can I apply if I am part of a program where I will receive funding for an unpaid internship?”

    • CAPAL provides a $3000 stipend for all students, however in the case that the student is receiving funding for their internship from another source, CAPAL can match the student at a partner organization, supported by the student’s external source of funding in lieu of the CAPAL-issued stipend. The student can mark this indication in the online application form.

“I do not identify as Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (AANHPI), can I still apply?”

    • CAPAL internships and scholarships are open to students of all identities. However, an individual’s interest and commitment to Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander issues will be considered.

“Who can I reach out to if I have more questions?”

    • Hannah Park, CAPAL’s Programs Manager, will be the point of contact for the 2024 Scholarship and Internship program. Feel free to contact her at

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