2015 SUMMER INTERNS
OCA welcomes 22 interns to Washington D.C. this summer - read more about them below!
Chloe is a rising sophomore at Pomona College. Though currently undeclared, she will most likely major in economics or environmental analysis with a minor in computer science or math. On campus, she has served on the Pomona student government as the Class of 2018 president and the co-chair of the Sexual Violence Task Force. She has also worked on the school newspaper as senior graphics editor, translating stories and information into attention-grabbing visuals.
Though Chloe moved around frequently as a child, she considers St. Louis, Missouri her hometown. She is interested in exploring how to appreciate her Chinese heritage through food as a vegetarian, especially since many cultural dishes in Chinese cuisine center around meat. She also hopes to better understand and combat xenophobia as well as examine the intersection between APA advocacy efforts and feminism.
Chloe is a big fan of good baseball (especially Cardinals baseball), good company, and good food (bonus if she can get all three together at once). In her free time, she loves to run, bake, and attempt to teach herself how to play the piano and ukulele. Always searching for the next adventure, Chloe is excited to spend the summer in D.C. exploring the city and learning more about APA issues.
Chloe is an intern at the OCA National Center.
Nitisha may be both an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley and a Bay Area native, but that hasn’t stopped her from falling in love with Washington, D.C. Ever since she was flown to the nation’s capital last year to receive the American Foreign Service Scholarship Award from Secretary of State John Kerry, Nitisha has dreamed of living in the city. She obsesses over all things Ruth Bader Ginsburg and yet is also addicted to Marketplace on NPR — which is not a surprise, because she is interested in business, government, and the symbiotic relationship between the two.
In Washington, D.C., Nitisha's passion for applying business sector resources to tackle social issues such as racial and income inequality has led her to an internship with the United States Department of Commerce. Working with the Department’s Minority Business Development Agency, her responsibilities include conducting economic and market research in order to provide access to capital to minority owned businesses. By providing access to global markets, venture capital funding, and angel investors for these growing businesses, she provides strategic support to a minority owned business sector that annually contributes over $1 trillion to the U.S. economy.
Nitisha has always advocated for minority communities — particularly the Asian American diaspora — as a writer for India West Newspaper and now a special contributor to the Berkeley Political Review. Nitisha also works in the Grievance division of the Student Advocate’s Office at UC Berkeley to advocate for and support student clients that have grievances against or within the university, many of whom face discrimination as minorities. As a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar at UC Berkeley, Nitisha intends to complete a double major in Political Science and Business Administration or Economics. But on any given weekend, she can also be found bakery-hopping or relaxing with friends, family, and music.
Nitisha is an intern at the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).
Allen is an undergraduate student at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, pursuing a degree in Policy Analysis and Management and minoring in Inequality Studies and Education. Allen was born in Los Angeles, California and has been involved in the Asian Pacific American issues his entire life. His motivation for pursuing a policy oriented major comes from his belief that every person should have the right to equal opportunity. Having grown up in a diverse socioeconomic environment, Allen has witnessed firsthand the injustices dealt to minorities. As an intern at the Arum Group, Allen has learned how to engage both young voters and the community. Allen believes everyone has the right to a quality education and affordable high quality healthcare and is excited to engage community members and government officials in these issues during his stay in Washington DC.
During his free time, Allen enjoys rock climbing, spending time with his friends and family, and sitting on the porch listening to music.
Allen is an intern at the Arum Group, LLC.
Sijin is a rising junior at Boston College majoring in Government. He is interested in spending his life rectifying the social and political injustices that are realities of today and devoting his life to his university’s motto of "Men and Women for others.” In his free time, Sijin enjoys engaging in profound, philosophical talks with his entourage, indulging in new cuisines, and traveling the world.
Sijin is an intern at the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI).
Marcus is an incoming graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he is pursuing a Masters in Asian American Studies. He previously graduated from the University of Florida with a B.A. in English and minors in Asian Studies and Asian American Studies. During his time at UF, he remained active in his Asian American community. Some of his involvement included being both a print and online writer for UF’s only Asian American interest magazine, Sparks. He also served as an Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) Ambassador for his school’s Multicultural Department, where his primary duty was being chief editor of the organization’s third APIA Anthology. On top of his campus-centered involvement, his short stories have been published in numerous literary outlets throughout the Gainesville area. He enjoys a variety of activities because of how quickly he gets bored, including reading, writing fiction, videogames, and jogging to his heart’s content.
Marcus sees OCA as an opportunity to bridge the separation he finds between Asian American academic coursework and social activism. He hopes to engage himself more directly with the issues he plans to study for his Masters Program. In the future, Marcus wants to either pursue a PhD in English specializing in Asian American literature or attend law school. Either way, he’s prepared himself to be in school for the rest of his 20’s.
Marcus is an intern at the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).
PAULENE DE MESA
Paulene is a graduate from University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Sociology. As a student at UCSD, she was involved with UCSD's Kaibigang Pilipin@ (KP) and Youth Success and Outreach Program (YSOP). During her time with KP, she became more attached to her Filipino-American roots and in helping promote higher education to high school students during her participation in the High School Conference. As a daughter of immigrants from the Philippines, she understands the challenges in the pursuit of higher education in an underserved community. Paulene's motivation in a career toward public policy and social justice issues is knowing the importance of the impact a community can make within their area. Her work experience with San Diego organizations such as Center on Policy Initiatives, American Federation of Teachers, and United Domestic Workers of America showed the exact organizing skills needed to make that impact with social justice issues. Her exposure to community organizing gave her an insight to the functions of the non-profit sector and their ties with the local policies.
As an OCA intern, she hopes to further develop her knowledge about Asian American and Pacific Islander affairs within the Washington D.C. area, to understand the differences and similarities between issues in the East and West coast. She hopes to bring back what she has learned from this internship into her local community in San Diego in pushing for changes with the current social and political policies. Ultimately, Paulene plans to become San Diego's future city councilwoman after graduate school. During her free time, Paulene enjoys outdoor hiking in National Parks, traveling, and dominating in Uno.
Paulene is an intern at the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs.
Ken is a senior at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities studying English. African American & African Studies, and Asian American Studies. He is of the 1.5 generation hailing from the capital of the Philippines - Manila. His interests lie in understanding the intersections of race, politics, and art as it pertains to identity, history, and activism. His interests in race relations stemmed primarily from primarily at the intersections of African American history and activism in the advancements and cultivation of Asian American activism. While in college he has built an undergraduate career around the importance of multiculturalism, diversity, and cross-racial collaboration, dialogue, and understanding.
He has been the President of the Philippine Student Association, the Lead Coordinator of an orientation program targeted for first-year students of color, the Vice President of the Multicultural Greek Council, and a coordinator of a Greek New Member Leadership Development Program. This incoming year he will be serving as an Executive Coordinating Committee of the Midwest Asian American Student's Union (MAASU), a coordinator of the annual MAASU Spring Conference, and the Chapter President of the Alpha Beta Chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc.
His professional interests lie in event management, higher education, and education policy. Beyond that, Ken is a writer, a stepper, a public speaker, and a performer. The greatest lessons he's learned in life: Trust yourself. Be unapologetic of choices that truly make you happy. Eliminate the negativity. And speak unimagined realities into existence. Only you know what's best for you.
Kenneth is an intern at the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).
Grace is an upcoming senior at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is currently pursuing a B.A in Political Science with a minor in Chinese. Her past experiences have all been learning opportunities and range from working at the Office of New Student Programs in her university, volunteering in both Cambodia and Korea, and a summer internship at the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding under the auspices of UNESCO (APCEIU) for the application of international cultural-awareness lessons in elementary schools syllabi throughout Asia and the Pacific. As a second-generation Korean-American, her deep ties to her cultural heritage that have grown over the years into passionate desire to find ways to address the issues that both immigrants, such as her parents, and second-generations, like herself, experience daily.
While the future seems vast and uncharted, she is specifically interested in the promotion of equal opportunities for quality education both domestically and abroad. She believes that a balanced and multicultural education is the key to fostering insightful and caring individuals for a brighter future. She hopes that her involvement with OCA will not only be a learning experience but also further help carve out her personal goals and interests for the future
In her free time, Grace enjoys traveling to new places, listening to music, watching movies, and laughing.
Grace is an intern at the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).
KE TING ANNIE LIU
Ke Ting "Annie" Liu is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in Biology and minor in Political Science. She will be attending the University Of Texas College Of Pharmacy in the upcoming fall. During college, she was a proactive student leader, participating, leading and starting many student organizations, including Student Government, HOSA, TEDxUTD among many. She was also a member of UTD Women’s Cross Country team. Outside of school, Annie has worked in the healthcare field in a variety of capacity, as a pharmacy technician and as a health policy intern. She also had the privilege of interning in DC at the U.S. Food Administration and the Alliance for Health Reform in the past.
Annie was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the United States in middle school. She is seeking to learn more about the issues that AAPI community face and contribute her skills to improving the overall health of AAPIs. Through this program, she is excited to gain new perspectives and skill sets that will enable her to serve and to further the AAPI community. During her free time, Annie loves to explore, cook and eat.
Annie is an intern at the Dewey Square Group, LLC.
Alvin is an undergraduate at the University of Washington, Seattle, with majors in International Studies and Political Science, and minors in Environmental Science and Human Rights. He is the Secretary-General of Washington State Model United Nations, co-founded the Asian Pacific Islander Student Association (APISA) at his alma mater, Bellevue College, and was a former virtual intern with the U.S. Department of State.
A first-generation American, and the son of a Malaysian father, a Cambodian mother, and Chinese grandparents, his diverse upbringings enabled him to be a part of multiple Asian communities. His backgrounds were pivotal in forming his worldview and career aspirations, particularly in diplomacy and the US Foreign Service. He seeks to replicate his multicultural experiences at a global scale, promoting cross-cultural understanding and transnational cooperation. In his free time, Alvin helps coordinate ecological restoration events throughout the Pacific Northwest, tries to improve his Japanese and Korean skills, and plans future trips around the world.
Alvin is an intern at the U.S. Office of Personal Management’s Office of Diversity (OPM).
Elizabeth is a rising senior at the Ohio State University. She is majoring in International Studies with a specialization in World Economy and Business as well as minoring in Chinese and Design. She was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia. As the daughter of two Chinese immigrants, she grew up surrounded by the culture and witnessed firsthand the prejudice towards those of asian descent. Through her internship at OCA she hopes to spread the beauty of her culture as well as further delve into the multicultural issues that we face today.
In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys traveling, trying out new foods, spending time with friends and family, and reading.
Elizabeth is the development intern at the OCA National Center.
Raymond is a junior at Vassar College in New York, majoring in Sociology and minoring in English, Race & Ethnicity, and Hispanic Studies with intentions of one day attending law school. He is passionate about art as healing and revolutionary mechanisms, critical theory, coalition-building, and intersectional justice. At Vassar, Raymond is a leader and organizer of the Student-Labor Dialogue, a community of workers and students in solidarity that strives to cultivate an empowering and dignified working environment. He has worked most recently with the dining staff to fight understaffing and victoriously pushed the college to post job openings.
As a first-generation immigrant student, Raymond is involved with Vassar’s multicultural center, ensuring that students of color and other marginalized students are treated equitably. In various capacities, he also serves as as a mentor and peer counselor to multiple students to ease the academic, social, and emotional burden of transitioning to college. Coming from a low-income background as well, he has assisted in building the inaugural Working Class Studies course at Vassar.
Raymond is originally from the Philippines but has come to know the San Francisco Bay Area as home. Locally, he has worked on issues of education and immigration, and in his free time, he enjoys eating, eating, and eating, on top of spending time with family and friends. He is excited to work for the Diverse Elders Coalition this summer, looking forward to learning lessons that will help him contribute in creating a more just society.
Raymond is an intern at the Diverse Elders Coalition.
Andrea is currently a rising junior at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She is currently on the pre-med track with a focus in psychology and an interest in pursuing public policy. Currently at Rutgers, she is a co-founder and e-board member of the Rutgers chapter of SASE (Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers) as well as the sponsorship committee chair of a planning team for the 2016 ECAASU conference. In two years, she has actively become a part of the APA community at Rutgers and continues to find more ways and organizations to be more a part of it both on and off campus. Her overall goal in life is to be one of the main pioneers for mental health reform in the United States, especially within the APA and API community. Through this summer internship with OCA and APIA-Vote and any future internships, she aims obtain more skills that will help her build a better foundation that will help her succeed in her goal. Her other hopes in being a summer intern for an APA organization is that she will learn more about what it means to identify as an APA and become immersed in the community.
Other than her extracurriculars, she also enjoys writing on her blog, outdoor activities, and looking for new and exciting music. She dreams of traveling more both in the states and overseas.
Andrea is an intern at the Asian and Pacific Islander Vote (APIA Vote).
Marie Nguyen is a recent graduate of the University of California, San Diego where she pursued a degree in Political Science – Public Law. On campus, she was greatly involved within the Multicultural Greek Community where she has served as a delegate and an executive member for her Asian-American Interest Sorority.
Rooted in Southern California, Marie is the youngest of nine siblings in her big and boisterous family. Her experience of growing up in a Vietnamese immigrant family has inspired her to build and gain more understanding of advocacy to help future APA generations. Through her internship at OCA, she hopes to explore and discover more about the APA climate beyond Southern California. She seeks to learn more about justice and the incredible amount of work it takes to advocate on behalf of the APA community, whose political issues remain invisible to the nation. Marie hopes to use her new found knowledge to promote greater awareness and advocacy on these issues in her community back home.
Marie’s interests are cooking, ice-cream, tennis, walking her corgi, and binge watching Netflix.
Marie is an intern at the OCA National Center
Jack is a Korean Adoptee raised in Maryland who recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a major in East Asian Studies. During his time at UW-Madison, he was very involved in the Asian American organizations on campus whose purpose it was to spread awareness about issues involving the APIA community. Most recently, Jack was actively involved in the planning of the spring conference for the Midwest Asian American Student Union. Through his work with OCA, he hopes to inspire others to learn more about the issues that all Asian Americans face and become advocates in the community. When he has free time, Jack enjoys dancing, longboarding, and drawing.
Jack is an intern at Legacies of War.
I am a 2015 graduate of University Washington, Seattle, completing with a Degree in Asian American Studies with Honors and Labor Studies Minor. Born in WA, DC but raised in Seattle, WA, my hope is to repeat my father's footsteps, writing legislation on the Hill in order to further serve my APIA and LGBTQIA community. Before arriving in DC, I served in the financial department for Seattle Mayor Edward Murray as well as intern for the national labor union UNITE HERE! Local 8 Chapter. Currently, I volunteer with OCA Greater Seattle, being able to be apart of local events that display the integrity and social advocacy of our community members, as well recently writing for the International Examiner, Seattle's longest running Pan Asian American newspaper. Furthermore, as a fifth generation Japanese American and third generation Filipina American, my hope is to continue social justice work and education, by being the last out of all four family members to attend law school. After receiving my Juris Doctor, I plan to further my education in Asian American Studies by attending a PhD program within the Bay Area. I take great pride in my community and have the upmost respect for my mentors, teachers and activists that have shown me the value in intersectionality and solidarity. I hope to continue their efforts and represent my APIA's to the best of my ability in whichever path I ultimately reside in.
Alexa-Rio is an intern at Representative Diana DeGette’s office.
Jes is originally from Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia. She finished her high school in Chuuk and migrated to the United States in pursuing of higher education. She is residing in Portland, Oregon and studying Business and Community Development at Portland State University. She said, "If God’s permit for the next school year, 2015- 16, I’ll be the first in my family to graduate from a four year university.”
Her passion in Business focuses in Marketing Management and Human Resources. However, working and supporting communities has been a part of her life since she moved to Oregon. One particular issue that encourages her to study Community Development and pushes her to become a community organizer and student leader is being the "unknown Micronesian student” in almost every school she has been to. Her goal is to make sure she advocates for her Micronesian community and addresses the issues of Micronesian (Chuukese) being invisible in the state of Oregon as well as other areas.
In Portland, Jes is a new member of COFA Alliance National Network (CANN) and recently a C2C member of APANO. On her spare time, Jes enjoys traveling to new places, hiking in the Pacific Northwest, experiencing different cultures, and spending time with her friends and family.
Jes is an intern at the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD).
Angie is a Vietnamese American, first-generation college student from south Oklahoma City and a rising junior at the University of Oklahoma. She dedicates her time with high school students and her community to ensure they receive the necessary resources and a strong support system for pursuing higher education. Her passion lies within racial justice, education equity for students of color, Asian Pacific Islander (API) issues, youth empowerment, and higher education. She has been an ally to her community in south Oklahoma City, predominately Latin@, since high school because she recognizes the dipartites in the education, justice, and immigration system. Last year, she traveled to Vietnam where she was able to reconnect with her Vietnamese culture and roots allowing her to become more active in the API community; more specifically, her passions center around exploring Southeast Asian issues.
Currently, Angie is a Ronald McNair scholar. Her research will focus on preserving the oral histories of Vietnamese communities because she believes that personal narratives are powerful tools for exploring identities. Through her summer internship, she hopes to connect with more individuals, broaden her critical thinking skills, and become more aware about the issues in the API community.
Angie is an intern at the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA).
MAI KA VANG
Mai Ka is a rising junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Stanford University. She was born and raised in South Sacramento, CA, but spent the last two years of high school in Tulsa, OK. Mai Ka’s three most passionate interests include quality education, economic mobility, and accessible and quality health care. As a member of an underrepresented community, she has seen the challenges of growing up in impoverished communities that lack equitable access to educational and healthcare resources. She aspires to one day be able to create and implement appropriate programs to provide high-need communities with resources so that members of these communities can thrive to their fullest potential.
Mai Ka is an intern at the Hmong National Development, Inc.
Xue is a rising junior at the University of Florida, where she is pursuing a dual degree in Business Finance and Chinese. She was born in Fuzhou China, and is a first generation Chinese American who lives in Jacksonville, Florida. Growing up in an pre-dominantly white community, she has learned to slowly become an advocate for the Asian American community. Xue is mainly passionate about first generation issues, as well as socio-economic issues for immigrant families. She plans on pursing a law degree in the future to help low-income immigrant business owning families thrive in our growing economy. She hopes that by joining OCA and being surrounded by other interns who are as equally passionate about advocating for social justice, she will be able to learn their personal stories and share them with her community back at home.
Besides being passionate about first generations, Xue is highly involved with the Chinese American Student Association back at UF, as well as the Asian American Student Union. Xue is also an Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs Ambassador under the Multicultural and Diversity department within the campus. Other than being involved with the Asian American community, Xue has also made an effort to participate within the college of Business. She was a recent participant for the University of Florida Heavener Leadership Program, as well as an incoming mentor for the program. Besides being super involved with her school and community, she still manages to find time for leisure activities such as watching Asian Dramas and Netflix. Xue hopes that by spending a summer in DC, she will be able to develop personally and professionally. She hopes to be able to someday be an active voice for immigrant families, as well as be a resource for First generation students.
Xue is an intern at the Asian / Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE).
Andy is a graduating senior at the University of Wisconsin majoring in Philosophy and Political Science with certificates in European and Classical Studies. He is currently interning at the OCA National Office for the summer, serving as their policy and communications intern. Andy absolutely loves to travel and has been to the many great cities of Europe including Rome, Berlin, Paris, and Budapest. Passionately, Andy strives to expand both his spiritual and professional character whilst trying to find his career path. He is also an avid wine enthusiast as well as a lover of unique cheeses. Ideally, Andy would like to run for president one day in hopes of meeting the challenges and aspirations of the many diverse Americans that make America unique.
Andy is the policy intern at the OCA National Center.
Emily is a rising senior at Cornell University, majoring in Biology and Society and pursuing minors in Nutrition and Science and Technology studies. She grew up in a suburb outside of Buffalo, NY that was predominantly white, but after arriving at Cornell and being introduced to a more diverse population, she wanted to learn more about AAPI and diversity issues in the U.S. She hopes that her involvement with OCA and NCAPIP will increase her awareness about advocacy in the context of medicine, public health, education and public policy. Emily is in the process of applying to medical school and hopes to attend after graduation. She hopes to specialize in primary care, as she is passionate about preventative medicine and service as a means of improving the overall health of citizens and addressing the health inequalities that exist.
During her free time, Emily enjoys traveling, hiking, watching TV and movies, knitting, and volunteering in the local Ithaca community.
Emily is an intern at the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians (NCAPIP).
The 26th annual OCA Internship Program is generously sponsored by the Walmart Foundation, the Coca-Cola Foundation, the Comcast Foundation, William & Sinforosa Tan Kaung Internship Endowment Fund, and Mary Ann & Paul C. Yu Internship Fund.