OCA intern alumni have become executive directors, legislative staffers, OCA National Executive Council members, and are leaders in the private and public sector. Read below to hear about previous OCA interns reflect on their summer in DC!
Melody Lam - OCA Summer Intern, Class of 2013
"Whenever you surround yourself with a group of college students and recent college grades, you're bound to find yourself in some interesting though memorable situations.When we weren't meeting up at the plethora of events catered toward prime intern season (with free food!), we organized several gatherings to bond within the limited 10 weeks we had in DC. At the center of that universe is the 'McMansion,' the official OCA 2013 intern house occupied by 8 OCA interns, including myself. While the McMansion was the main hub for our gatherings, we also had many spur-of-the-moment conversations about our world views ranging from social justice to critical theory to our personal experiences. As a STEM student, I cherished and valued these kinds of moments where I could explore myself in a safe space among my peers, because I could not do that while in the classroom. This was one of the reasons I applied for the OCA Summer Internship Program.
Another reason was I was looking for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be in DC, and away from the Greater Philadelphia area for once (I'd been there for nearly 20 years) During the months leading up to my college graduation, I was unsure of what to do professionally. By a stroke of luck, lots of random puzzle pieces magnetized together and fell into place. As an OCA intern, I was placed at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of my dream places to work at. Now, I work for Booz Allen Hamilton on their contract for the PEA while also staying in my beloved City of Brotherly Love."
Kendall Kosai - OCA Summer Intern, Class of 2011
“During my 10 week experience, I was given the chance to truly submerge myself in the delicate relationship between government and corporations." Kendall is currently the Development Manager at OCA National.
Jacqueline Wu - OCA Summer Intern, Class of 2011
"Interning through OCA's Summer Internship Program allowed me to meet so many passionate young individuals who wanted to make a difference in their communities. Having grown up in the San Gabriel Valley, my perception of Asian America was the many Chinese restaurants and boba shops along Valley Blvd. and Garvey Ave. I learned how diverse our community is, and how different our experiences are as Asian Americans in other parts of the country. Some where the only Asian family in their city or school, and some had never been around so many others who looked like them,. Given how small our community is, we must work harder to unify and progress forward together.
I encourage future interns to stay connected to each other, as you are tomorrow's leaders and colleagues. Avoid burning bridges -- you won't know the utility of a bridge until you need it. Lastly, but not least, NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK!"
Jon Ho - OCA Summer Intern, Class of 2011
“10 weeks in the nation's capital helped reshape the course of my life, and here's how. One of my most vivid memories of the internship experience was 'Sama Sama'. It was through these intensive dialogues of shared ideas and life experiences that began to mold my understanding of what it means to be an advocate. To be honest, I was a little overwhelmed when I first got there, actually, very overwhelmed. But it was through the support of my fellow interns and our collective struggles that I was able to build strong, lasting connections. My summer in D.C. was an unforgettable experience full of challenges, laughter, and memories that will last a lifetime. I went to D.C. feeling a little intimidated, nervous, and reserved. But I left feeling renewed, impassioned, and empowered to continue advocating for our marginalized communities." Jon is currently a Program Associate at OCA National.
Maruel Unrein - OCA Summer Intern, Class of 2010
"Being part of the OCA Internship Program in the summer of 2010 was the best thing that happened to me that year. I went to my first Pride Parade, celebrated my first World Cup with people from around the world and had a one-on-one conversation with one of the oldest senators in the U.S.: Daniel Inouye.
Today, I work for 'Ohana Heath Plan, a Medicaid and Medicare Program in the States of Hawaii.' Working with a wide array of APIA Members in the State of Hawaii with health issues, I have observed the health disparities such as Diabetes in Native Hawaiians and Cancer rates in Asian Americans. Learning about health disparities during my internship has allowed me to emphasize with members, work with my community to spread awareness and educate the older and younger generation of Hawaii about their healthcare options."
Andrew Chang - OCA Summer Intern, Class of 2009
"The summer of 2009 was my first summer in DC, and not only did I learn so much from my co-workers and mentors, I obtained valuable experience that would help me in graduate school and when landing my first job. I was also honored, privileged, and touched to have been surrounded with my fellow OCA interns who were dedicated to social justice, community building, public policy, and political issues, especially as it pertained to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Through the OCA internship program and with my fellow 2009 OCA interns, I gained a family for life."
Will Xu - OCA Summer Intern, Class of 2009
"My OCA internship was filled with unforgettable moments and awe-inspiring people. My relationship with them, both peers and mentors, have led me to India, to law school, and to my dream internship this summer with the United Nations. OCA has become a medium in which was speak a common language of initiative, and we all had a lot to say. My first such conversation was with a fellow intern who had worked with survivors of human trafficking in India. I was so inspired by her story that I decided that I too, should go and help. Three months later, we were in in India conducting a modified version of the OCA Youth Day workshop to a group of survivors. I also remember hearing APA leaders like Vincent Eng during our after work leadership gatherings on Capitol Hill. I was enthralled by the discussions and wanted to find context in the controversial social and political issues of our time. I chose to go to law school to find this context, to both understand and address issues that perpetuate human rights abuses. This is why I set my sights on International Criminal and law and obtained an internship with the United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague. I cherish my OCA experience because it empowers us, challenges us, and expects us to change the world. Its lessons will reverberate throughout our careers as a remind of our unspoiled potential."