2016 SUMMER INTERNS
OCA welcomes 19 interns to Washington D.C. this summer - read more about them below!
Victoria is a rising senior at Washington University in St. Louis, with a concentration in Marketing and Design. She was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, but now lives in Mississippi. As a student at WashU, she is heavily involved in the Asian American community on campus. Since joining the Taiwanese Student Organization (TSO) her freshman year, she has gained a greater appreciation for her parents' roots and become an advocate for Taiwanese culture on campus (and can often be seen proudly donning a Taiwanese flag as a cape at events). Under her presidency, TSO held its first-ever philanthropy event, raising funds for victims of the recent earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, and collaborated with other cultural clubs to facilitate discussions about important socio-political topics affecting Taiwan, Mainland China, and Hong Kong.
As a Summer Intern at OCA, she hopes to make an impact and learn more about the issues faced by the national Asian American community. Whether it be at a corporate or family level, she's also interested in helping the Asian American LGBTQ community.
During her free time, Victoria enjoys embarking on Yelp food adventures, working out, and designing cool stuff.
Victoria is an intern at OPM's Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Hanna is rising senior at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine double majoring in Sociology and Women & Gender Studies. She is committed to fighting for issues including reproductive justice, AAPI and all minority rights, equality for all genders and sexes, and giving representation and voice to all intersections of identities.
As a co-president last semester for the Bates Asian American Students in Action (AASIA) Club and through a semester-long research project on the intersectional identity of Asian American adoptees, Hanna has been able to explore her personal identity as a Chinese adoptee as well as increase her knowledge and passion for furthering the social, political, and economic rights for the AAPI community. Her summer 2015 internship at the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF) allowed her to better understand the issues surrounding the AAPI community in New York City, including Translation & Interpretation, foster care, and bullying in public schools. She hopes to continue pursuing her dedication to AAPI rights throughout her final year at Bates, as well as after graduation in areas of policy, advocacy, and leadership.
In her free time Hanna enjoys watching the TV shows, Game of Thrones and Friends, wandering through the streets of New York City, visiting art galleries, and indulging in street food markets.
Hanna is a Regional Network intern at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI).
Los Angeles native Mariane Gantino is a senior at the University of Michigan majoring in American Culture. She is dedicated to a life helping those for whom the system (and history) is largely set against. As an Indonesian-American whose own parents struggled with the U.S. immigration system before successfully assimilating, Mariane aims to serve other immigrant families as an immigration lawyer. Her favorite extracurricular activity in college so far has been volunteering with groups of teens in a local youth detention center, where she facilitates creative arts workshops.
In her free time, Mariane enjoys Game of Thrones, audiobooks, and fishing. One of her life goals is to backpack the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.
Mariane is a Development Intern at OCA National Center.
Kim is a graduating fourth year from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Religious Studies. She hopes to pursue a career in Civil Rights Advocacy, inspired by both her coursework in African American Studies and her many experiences outside the classroom. As a student at UVA, she was President of the Organization of Young Filipino Americans and served as the Asian/Asian Pacific American Representative for the Honor Committee. Through her experiences and academic career, Kim has further gained an interest in analyzing race, class, ethnicity, and other facets of human identity to better understand policies that can be implemented to help lessen the injustices minorities face.
One day she hopes to attend graduate school for Public Policy, but in the immediate future, Kim is excited to gain experience working with AAPI issues. She hopes that her internship with OCA will help guide her towards her goals for the future.
In the rare moments of free time, Kim likes to explore new coffee shops, play with cats, and catching up on the Real Housewives series.
Kim is an intern at the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA).
Joy Dohee Han is in her third year of communications studies at Irvine Valley College. She is pursuing an AA with the hopes of transferring into a Bachelor's program for the University of California. During her time at IVC, she has participated in competitions with the school's nationally acclaimed Speech & Forensics team. As a novice debater, she was honored with the 4th place Speaker Award at the Mt. San Antonio College regional competition, and ranked silver in her category. In high school, Joy participated in competitive theatre. While performing, she noticed the lack of roles available for Asian Americans. Her time spent onstage and off with her teammates inspired her to pursue her current major, in hopes of one day correcting the misrepresentation of APA individuals in the arts.
Through her internship with OCA, Joy hopes to learn more about using her skills for Asian Pacific American advocacy. As a lifelong performer, she knows the importance of teamwork within communities. She is honored to participate in the organization's cohort program for 2016.
On her days off, Joy enjoys watching Game of Thrones, traveling, and eating Indian food.
Joy is a Communications Intern at OCA National Center.
Jennifer is a rising junior at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. She is a Social-Cultural Anthropology/ Asian American Studies Double Major. She is heavily involved in AAPI community organizing on her campus. She is a program coordinator at the Center for Asian Pacific American Students and mentors first year AAPI students through the Asian Pacific American Coalition. This past year she began participating in student of color institutional support advocacy, and consortium-wide AAPI community building. She is passionate about supporting underrepresented AAPI youth through knowledge exchange and empowerment.
Jennifer grew up in Arlington, VA and lived in Tokyo, Japan for two years. Through her various moves across the ocean and across the country Jennifer exhibits her love of change and movement. During her off hours, she enjoys weightlifting, eating food, hanging out with her community -- especially all three combined.
Jennifer is an intern at Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).
Dianne currently pursues her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Rutgers University, New Brunswick in NJ. She also serves on eBoard as Event Chair for the Rutgers chapter of SASE (Society of the Asian Scientists and Engineers) and is co-founder of B³, a youth empowerment and breakin' (break dance) group.
A first generation Vietnamese American born in Los Angeles, Dianne moved to New Jersey with her mother and brother at the age of 12. At 14, she embarked on her journey learning about social justice and challenging the status quo when she and her friend established B³, under Boat People SOS. She
embraces her identity as a cultural and intergenerational bridge, and aims to plant the seeds for positive community
change. She is excited to grow and continue to bring beauty and unity to
our communities, for future generations to flourish. Through this internship, she hopes to exchange, collaborate, and transpire ideas with like-minded and
driven individuals at OCA.
In her free time, Dianne enjoys photography, hip-hop dancing, poetry, books, and playing the ukulele. She believes art to be a therapeutic language which anyone can understand, and ultimately allows us to be more vulnerable with one other.
Dianne is most inspired by her mother.
Dianne is a Program and Membership Intern at OCA National Center.
Samantha is rising sophomore at Binghamton University, with majors in Human Development and Asian and Asian-American Studies. At her university, she is
the Events Coordinator for the Asian Student Union and an active member
in the university-wide Student Congress.
Raised in New York City by two Chinese immigrant parents, Samantha’s involvement in the Asian-American community started early in her childhood. She began by accepting volunteer opportunities with Chinatown-based YMCAs, as well as volunteering with local non-profit organizations serving the Chinese community of the five boroughs. She was a youth advocate with the Coalition for Asian-American Children and Families in high school.
Samantha later found her calling for civil rights and youth activism taking courses at Hunter College regarding Asian Americans in the United States. Her decision to pursue a career in non-profit organization and public policy stems from her desire to be a catalyst for change and equality in Asian Pacific American communities.
In her free time, Samantha enjoys watching Wes Anderson films, reading, and exploring her school’s Nature Preserve.
Samantha is an intern at Arum Group, LLC.
Chloe Pan is a rising junior at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she is double majoring in International Development and Asian American Studies with an academic concentration in East Asian development. Currently, she is the undergraduate student representative to the University of California Committee on Affirmative Action and Diversity, which develops policies to advance equity for women, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ members of the UC system. She is also a Diversity Peer Leader with the UCLA Intergroup Relations Program, a Resident Assistant with UCLA Residential Life, a former competitor on UCLA’s nationally ranked Mock Trial team, and the incoming Co-Director of the UCLA Student Wellness Commission's Bruin Consent Coalition. She is an active member in both student government and Asian American student spaces on campus.
As a 1.5-generation immigrant, Chloe was born in Yongchun, China but grew up in the suburbs of Flint and, later, Detroit, Michigan. Her life experiences made her deeply aware of how categories like geography, race, and gender significantly impact access to public resources. She is highly passionate about the intersectionality of data-driven policy reform and social justice and intends on one day pursuing law school and entering public service.
As a junior in high school, Chloe was selected to represent the state of Michigan as a United States Senate Youth Program Scholar and had the honor of traveling to meet President Barack Obama. From there on, she fell in love with the city of Washington, D.C.Her passion for producing equitable policy reform—particularly in the fields of education, immigration, and healthcare—led her back to D.C. last summer, where she served under the Obama Administration as the youngest intern at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Chloe is highly looking forward to expanding her understanding of minority issues in a transnational context and incorporating a critical transpacific analysis to AAPI social justice movements. But mostly, she’s looking forward to trying out new coffee places in D.C. and adding to her backlog of food photos.
Chloe is an Undergraduate Research Assistant and intern at the Joint Center for Political & Economic Studies.
Teofanny Saragi is a rising junior at Pomona College in Claremont, CA double majoring in Public Policy Analysis/Sociology and Asian American Studies. She is passionate about social justice and increasing educational access and equity for underrepresented minorities, particularly Southeast Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. On campus, Teofanny is a Student Coordinator at the Draper Center for Community Partnerships, an intern at the Asian American Resource Center, and the President of the Quest Scholars, the community of low-income, first-generation students on campus.
Her other interests include: filmmaking and graphic design, fluffy dogs, and music.
Teofanny is an Intergovernmental Affairs intern at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI).
Maham is a senior at the University of Michigan majoring in Sociology. She is currently also writing an honors thesis on South Asian cultural attitudes in order to help bridge a huge gap in literature. In her free time, she takes photos of mostly nature, but also loves taking pictures of people and architecture. She loves writing and is now active in performing her spoken word in shows such as the Asian/Pacific Islander American Monologues at the University of Michigan. Outside of school she is very involved the A/PIA community on her campus and also aims to be an advocate for all People of Color. She has spent all her life living in Michigan and this summer for the first time she will be living outside the state in Washington D.C. She never dreamed that she would be able to leave Michigan and is very excited to be coming to DC this summer for the OCA internship!
Maham is an intern at the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA).
Emily is a senior at Vassar College, majoring in International Studies with a focus in History and French and Francophone Studies. She has always had a great interest in studying other cultures. Growing up Vietnamese-Caucasian in a predominately white community in Indiana, she has faced racial prejudice firsthand. This natural proclivity towards understanding different cultures led her to study in great depth Francophone cultures. She has studied the French language for ten years and has been able to study in France multiple times. Last year, she was able to intern at the U.S. Embassy in Paris and study at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle for a semester.
A key part of studying any culture is understanding its history and its foreign relations. She is curious as to how countries interact with each other and the role which history plays in these current interactions. Another one of her interests is the intersectionality of race, nationality, and gender.
She is passionate about combating racial and gender inequality and is excited to become more engaged in the Asian Pacific American advocacy community this summer. At Vassar, she has been an executive board member of their Amnesty International chapter and is involved in the Multiracial/Biracial Student Alliance.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling and cooking good food for her friends and family.
Emily is a Policy and Civic Engagement intern at OCA National Center.
Carlo, a Filipino-Chinese American, is a rising fourth-year at the University of Cincinnati, where he is pursuing a bachelor's degree in music performance and international relations. He currently serves as the Internal Vice President to the University of Cincinnati Vietnamese Student Association and maintains membership on the Student Diversity and Inclusion Council. He also has experience with the Vietnamese Interacting as One Conference (VIA-1) and the Accelerating Racial Justice Program. Through these experiences, Carlo hopes to create more spaces where dialogue about race and identity are not only allowed, but encouraged. His passion for AAPI advocacy and activism stems from being raised in a community that lacked diversity, and the consequent disassociation from his own culture. As a developing student leader and adult, he now sees the importance of acknowledging, embracing, and celebrating culture and how strongly it shapes one's identity.
Carlo hopes to ultimately become either a performing musician, work in cultural programming, or AAPI community organization. He heavily advocates not only for cultural awareness and arts education, but also how they can be leveraged together. His musical talents include violin, piano, guitar, and singing. He has also participated in a number of music festivals that have brought him all over the country, as well as Japan. In his free time, Carlo enjoys photography, spoken word poetry, cooking, and studying Japanese.
Carlo is an intern at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.
Vaimalu Rosita Vaiau is a sophomore at American Samoa Community College majoring in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Political Science. She is President of the Student Government Association and Vice President of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. As President of Student Government, her focus is on providing educational
opportunities, student centeredness, and respect for diversity and
She is very passionate about issues that affect the Asian American Pacific Islander community and a strong advocate for access to affordable healthcare, education, and social equity. She believes that Asian Pacific Americans are one of the most marginalized and misrepresented groups of people not only in the United States, but also on a global scale. Upon graduation at ASCC, Vaimalu hopes to attend a four-year university in the mainland, majoring in English. Her dream is to eventually attend law school. She hopes to obtain the necessary information and strategies to give back to her little community in American Samoa, to the very same community that helped raise her.
Vaimalu has always been in love with D.C. She was one of the last Congressional Pages before the program was discontinued. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, eating pizza, and binge watching shows on Netflix.
Vaimalu would also like to thank her parents, Kitara and Etevise Vaiau, for standing behind her and encouraging her to strive forward when she dropped out of college. It is because of their support that she is who she is today.
Vaimalu is an intern at the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD).
ChueHue is a senior attending the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire studying Sociology with a topical minor in Hmong Studies. He is a Hmong-American born in Saint Paul, Minnesota and raised in the West Side Saint Paul projects in a family of 11. His parents landed in Saint Paul in the late 1980’s with many other Hmong refugees, trying to find a new home due to the secret war, the Vietnam War. His passion to understand his history and identity is an ongoing process in which he one day hopes to pass down to future generations to preserve and use as tools of empowerment.
On campus, ChueHue has been involved in many Hmong organizations to support collective action for Hmong students and students of color. He is the current President of the Hmong Student Association, which strives to support and maintain a safe space for Hmong students at UW-Eau Claire. His passion is not only towards higher education but the community as well. He worked for the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association for 2 years as the Youth Coordinator for the Building Bridges youth program in which strives to offer tools of empowerment to Hmong youth in the community. He is excited to be interning for OCA and hopes the experience will open doors to better himself, so he in turn can help better the lives of marginalized and silenced communities in the US.
In his free time, ChueHue enjoys playing his Xbox, cooking, playing basketball and football, and spending time with family and friends.
ChueHue is an intern at Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote).
PENG XUE VANG
Peng Xue Vang is a first generation Hmong-American college student who recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a double major in International Studies and Languages of Cultures of Asia and a certificate in Asian-American Studies. During his time at UW-Madison, Peng Xue was involved in various organizations, most notably the Midwest Asian American Students Union (MAASU). He was a part of the 2015 MAASU Spring Planning Committee where he helped coordinate a conference focused on Asian-American issues and topics in our community. The 2015 conference brought over 1000+ students from across the nation to the UW-Madison campus. In addition, Peng Xue was the Communications Co-Chair of the 2015-2016 Executive Coordinating Committee (ECC) for MAASU. As part of the ECC, he and his peers were responsible for maintaining communication across its member schools, providing educational and political resources for those who seek it, and creating a sense of community among Asian-American students across the Midwest.
He is excited to learn from AAPI professionals in Washington D.C. this summer and establish lifelong relationships with his intern cohort and colleagues.
Some interesting facts about Peng Xue: he is an avid NBA fan, and loves his hometown team the Milwaukee Bucks. He is a professional UNO player and last year was the manager of a football team which took first place in his league.
Peng Xue is an Educational Policy intern at the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC).
Truc is a rising fourth year at the University of Virginia studying psychology. She was recently accepted into the Accelerated Master’s Program at UVA’s Frank Batten School of Public Policy and Leadership. Growing up in Northern Virginia with a diverse Asian American population, she had an equally diverse exposure to Asian American cultures. Truc's parents founded a Vietnamese American Girl Scout troop where she would attend meetings until she was old enough to become a scout. She remains active in that same troop as a Leader-in-Training (LIT) today. She also continues to stay in touch with her Vietnamese roots as an active
member and former officer for the Vietnamese Student Association.
Truc has attended a Japanese temple since childhood. In high school she became a Youth Minister’s Assistant there. She learned much about Japanese culture from the programs her temple offers and from learning the Japanese language for six years.
Truc is very interested in learning about other AAPI cultures and the struggles they face. Her experiences with different cultural organizations has made her realize that there is still a lot of progress that can be made in the AAPI community. She hopes that through her internship with OCA, she will be able to become a more effective advocate for the AAPI community and learn more about AAPI issues.
In her free time, Truc enjoys spending time with friends and family, bouldering and playing football, singing and dancing, shopping, traveling and eating yummy food.
Truc is a Communications and Development intern at the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).
Niles is a rising senior at Stanford University pursuing a degree in Psychology. Through his coursework in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, he has become interested in advocating and providing resources for immigrants and learning more about the challenges of non-English speakers. In his final year at Stanford, he hopes to take the lessons from the summer with OCA and to become more involved with the Asian and Pacific Islander community on campus.
Born and raised in Southern California, Niles enjoys outdoor activities, crocheting, food adventures, attending football games, and watching hip hop dance showcases.
Niles is a Program Intern at OCA National Center.
Nicholas is a rising junior at Princeton University majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, with certificates in East Asian Studies and American Studies. He hopes to pursue a career in public interest law, particularly focusing on immigration law. On campus, he serves as the co-president of the Princeton Asian American Student Association and helps coordinate Asian American political activism. He also competes on the Model United Nations team and writes as a senior columnist for the Daily Princetonian.
Nicholas grew up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. As a third-generation Chinese American, he is particularly interested in immigration issues and Asian American advocacy. He hopes that his involvement with OCA will give him a better understanding of the issues facing the Asian American community.
During his free time, Nicholas enjoys running, listening to music, and cooking.
Nicholas is a Communications intern at the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).
The 26th annual OCA Internship Program is generously sponsored by the Comcast Foundation, the Mary Ann & Paul C. Yu Internship Fund, the William & Rose Tan Kaung Internship Endowment Fund, Scott A. Myers, Stan Lou, Jean & Stanley Chang, and Albert Lin, as well as donations from OCA’s New York, Wisconsin, Colorado, Detroit, Phoenix, and Tucson chapters.