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Meet the 2013 Interns
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Ariana Yang is a senior at the University of Minnesota majoring in Global Studies with a minor degree in Asian American Studies. She will be graduating in the Fall of 2013. She is a founding member of Viivncaus-Hmong Women’s Group, a student-led organization that supports the Hmong women on campus, and served as Treasurer for two years. She volunteers as a mentor to a high school student at Hmong College Preparatory Academy through the Asian American Partners for Tomorrow Mentoring Program. This past spring, she interned with the Human Rights Education Institute at The Advocates for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization that works to promote human rights around the world. In the past she has worked extensively as a tutor to K-12 students from low-income neighborhoods in the Minneapolis school district. In January of 2012, she was selected to travel to Ehime University in Japan to educate on issues concerning minority communities, immigration and multiculturalism in the United States. In the future, she plans to go to graduate school for public policy with a focus on eliminating educational disparities in the Twin Cities community. She enjoys traveling, reading, and watching videos on Youtube.

Ariana will be interning at the OCA National Center.

Dohyun Ahn is a 3rd year student at Emory University, studying Women's, Gender, and Sexualities Studies & Classics. He has served as the Co-President of Emory Pride, the undergraduate LGBTQ and ally organization. Previously, he has served as the Executive Secretary for the President's Commission on Sexuality, Gender Diversity, and Queer Equality. He is also a long-time member of the Advisory Committee for the Office of LGBT Life at Emory. From Emory, he has received multiple awards for his work on campus, including most recently the Humanitarian Award from the Division of Campus Life. Nationally, he has been recognized by the White House as an emerging LGBT Leader. He has published an essay titled "Queer Neuroethics: What Neuroscience Can Learn From Queer and Feminist Theory” in the Feminism, Sexuality and Neuroethics: Emerging Undergraduate Scholarship by the Emory University Center for Ethics, Neuroethics Program.

Dohyun will be interning with Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote).


Steven Hanyun Cong is a student at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies and minoring in Education. He is currently the Theme Program Assistant for the Asian Pacific American Theme House (APATH) and a founding member of the student committee for the newly revived Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies 20C course. He had also been involved with the East in Beats DeCal, the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association, and hardboiled Newsmagazine (intentionally lower-case and bold). Through these experiences, he was able to gain expertise in program planning by coordinating a fifteenth anniversary celebration for hardboiled and coordinating a talent show attended by 70 students. He also had experience in networking by staffing Assemblymember Paul Fong at dinner events and planning panels with local artists for his student-led course, the East in Beats. He is also proficient in time management, as shown in having to simultaneously facilitate the creation of a yearbook, an open house, and an anniversary dinner for APATH.

Steven will be interning with the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

Kenneth Chen is a student at Skyline College majoring in Political Science. He emigrated from Hong Kong to the United States on 2005 when he was 13 year old. After moving, he learned more about democracy from school and became fascinated by the system here and how it helps people in need. Therefore, he has decided to major in Political Science. Currently, he is an intern at San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors Malia Cohen’s office. Since he is the only staff member in the office who knows how to read and write in Chinese, he has become the "bridge” to connect Supervisor Cohen’s office to her district’s Chinese community. Besides Interning at Supervisor Cohen’s office, he is also an Economics tutor at Skyline College. Through tutoring, he has realized the hardships that many community college students face. Their struggle to balance family, full-time work, and school is alleviated by policies that create academic and financial support crucial to students’ success which motivated him to advocate for lowering the cost of public higher education.

In his free time, Kenneth enjoys playing soccer, reading and participating in various community events. As a student, he wants to gain more experiences and knowledge by reading more and through internships. Furthermore, he wants to use his knowledge in the future to interpret government policies that respond to the needs of our citizens. He is glad to be one the interns selected by OCA, and looking forward to this precious experience.

Kenneth will be interning with the DC Mayor's Office.

Nhia Lee is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities with a B.A. in Communication Studies and a double minor in Asian American Studies and Political Science. His area of studies centers on the media and influences our society’s understanding of race, culture, and identity. On his campus, Lee has proven to work towards creating dialogue regarding issues affecting the APIA community and has held several workshops regarding these issues allowing for students on his campus to openly discuss and engage with one another. He just recently brought over 200+ college students within the Twin Cities area to a conference that he planned, facilitated, and implemented – The Hmong Minnesota Leadership Conference—to create dialogue and actions in combating issues affecting the APIA community.

When he is not planning conferences, facilitating workshops, reading books written by some of the world leading scholars in Asian American studies, he enjoys playing volleyball, watching movies, and producing music and songs.

Nhia will be interning with the office of Congresswoman Grace Meng.

Suzanne Hirasuna is a rising Junior at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and has a minor in Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies minor. On campus Suzanne holds a chair on the executive board for a pre-professional law and public policy fraternity, volunteers weekly with the Detroit Partnership, acts as a peer mentor in a community service based learning community, and worked as a student caller with Michigan Telefund to raise money for scholarships and program support at U of M. Past positions with the Tompkins County District Attorney as well as the Building Department in Ithaca City Hall have confirmed her commitment to a career in public service.

Suzanne will be interning with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Sophia Ng is a rising third-year at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science and American Studies. At Cal, Sophia is the Publicity Director for hardboiled: Berkeley's APA Newsmagazine and a member of the Cal Berkeley Democrats. In the fall, she also served as Vote Coalition Director of Student Groups in the ASUC where she helped lead her peers to register 8,000 voters for the 2012 elections. Next semester, Sophia will be studying abroad at the University of Hong Kong.

Sophia was born and raised in Queens, New York. After witnessing a lack of Asian American representation in local politics, Sophia was inspired to mobilize her community to vote. Since then, she has served on various local, state, and national elections. Last summer, she was a Finance Intern for a political consulting firm, Hudson TG, and volunteered on Grace Meng's historic campaign for Congress. Sophia is particularly interested in advocating for AAPI's and other minorities on the national level. In her spare time, Sophia enjoys "Yelping” places to eat and attending concerts. She is excited to be working with OCA and experiencing the summer in DC.

Sophia will be interning at the OCA National Center.

Linda Ren is a rising senior at The College of Saint Rose, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Business Administration. In the Fall of 2013, she will be studying abroad in Shanghai, China. Her passion is to help immigrant families reunite, who are separated due to legal barriers. Upon graduation in 2014, she will continue her studies at law school and practice immigration law. She is involved with the Asian community by teaching English to immigrants and refugees and helps translate for them. She has previously interned at various offices, Department of Veterans Affairs, Peace Corps and the Law Office of Joseph J Long. On her free time she enjoys running, traveling and eating Korean food.

Linda will be interning at the office of Congresswoman Judy Chu.

Kalia Vang, a native Milwaukeean, is a recent graduate of Georgetown University where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Government with a concentration in American Government. As a first-generation college student and daughter of Hmong refugees, Kalia seeks to empower underrepresented, vulnerable communities through advocacy and promoting civic engagement. Through community and campus involvement, Kalia demonstrates a passion for public service and coalition-building. She educated the Georgetown community about the DREAM Act through guest lectures and a "Letters-to-Congress” campaign, tutored an immigrant child in English through Georgetown's DC Schools program, and recently established a Georgetown youth mentoring branch for an Arlington, VA-based non-profit, Educacion Para Nuestro Futuro (Education for Our Future). She served as the Internal Public Relations Chair for the Vietnamese Students Association, representing the Vietnamese American student body in the Students of Color Alliance. Most recently, Kalia interned with the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center in Washington, DC where she researched the unique educational challenges and needs of Southeast Asian American students. In addition to her advocacy work, Kalia has contributed to diversifying Georgetown through her multicultural performances, choreographing and performing Hmong, Bollywood/Indian, Asian-Latino, Vietnamese, and Filipino dances.   

Kalia will be interning at the National
Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).

Divya Raj is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and is a rising junior at The Ohio State University majoring in Public Affairs and minoring in Public Health and Asian American Studies. At Ohio State she serves as Co-President for the Asian American Association as well as the Deputy Director of Outreach and Collaborations for Undergraduate Student Government. She is also one of the Co-Chairs for MAASU Spring Conference 2014 which will be held at Ohio State. In the past she has served as Vice President for the South Asian Student Association as well as Head of University Relations for Buckeye Mela VI, Ohio State's premier South Asian intercollegiate dance competition. In her spare time Divya enjoys traveling, yoga, and desserts. Divya is thrilled to be to be representing OSU and the South Asian community and is excited to learn how to be a better advocate for the Asian American community at her OCA internship. Go Bucks!

Divya will be interning at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Steven Marsiglia is a rising senior at the University of California, Berkeley, studying Ethnic Studies and Anthropology. As a community organizer for the queer, Asian Pacific Islander, and multicultural communities at Berkeley, Steven is interested in the intersectionalities of identity, equity, and education, in addition to human rights, ethnography, and diversity. In the future, he hopes to serve as an administrative resource for progressive students that are interested in social justice, activism, and multiculturalism. Steven is looking for professional work experience and other opportunities that will augment his capacity to adequately assist underserved and marginalized communities, and is currently involved with the bridges Multicultural Resource Center (bridges), the Asian Pacific American Student Development (APASD), Pacific Islanders at Cal (PAC), and the Gender Equity Resource Center (GenEq). Steven misses his big family in SoCal, but enjoys running, hiking, camping, volleyball, and most especially, chocolate.

Steven will be interning at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Jin Kim is a rising sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania who is currently very undecided on his major. On campus, he is involved with the Promoting Enriching Experiences and Relationships (PEER) Asian American Mentoring Program, the Collective for Asian Pacific Events (CAPE), and the Asian American Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board. A 1.5 generation Korean American, he grew up in the sleepy town of Bloomington, Indiana, but he currently lives in Houston, Texas. For most of the summer, he will be living with his twin brother at George Washington University. In his spare time, he enjoys discovering new music, watching movies, and bonding with friends over good food.

Jin will be interning at MOSAICA.

Melody Lam is a recent graduate of Temple University with a B.S. in Biology, double minors in Art and French, and a certificate in Chinese. Melody first became politically engaged while growing up in Glassboro, NJ, but did not become politically active until she began attending Temple University in Philadelphia. While there, she joined Temple University Asian Students Association (TUASA) which she has led as Co-President. Beyond Temple, she has worked as the Program Coordinator of Boat People S.O.S. (BPSOS) Summer Youth Bike and Environmental Program (SYBEP) to educate high school youth about social and environmental justice as well as food politics. In collaboration with BPSOS, Melody has developed a mentoring program between Asian high school and college students, especially for South Philadelphia High School in response to the racial harassment that Asian immigrant students faced in school. Recently, Melody has begun work with Asian student leaders from colleges and universities in the Greater Philadelphia area to build a Philadelphia AAPI intercollegiate network.  

Melody will be interning at the US
Environmental Protection Agency.

Vanessa Teck is a Cambodian American and a recent graduate from the University of Denver, with a double major in Intercultural Communications and Digital Media Studies, in addition to a minor in Leadership. Following her time in D.C., she will be pursuing a Masters in Higher Education at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education. Vanessa is passionate about community engagement, addressing issues of social justice, and furthering inclusive excellence. However, much of her time is dedicated towards helping in the progressive movements of the APA movement, both locally and nationally. She has been fortunate enough to be involved in a multitude of organizations, including the External President of the Asian Student Alliance, Senior Senator on Undergraduate Student Government, serving on the Student Advisory Council for Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, in addition to coordinating the Excelling Leaders Institute, a leadership program for students of color. At the present time, through her experience as the past Public Relations Chair for the Midwest Asian American Students Union, she is dedicated towards building a coalition of APA college students in Colorado. Vanessa is still waiting for her acceptance letter from Hogwarts, but in the meantime, is an avid reader and social networker.

Vanessa will be interning at the National Education Association.

Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Linh Tran is a rising junior at Georgetown University majoring in Government with a concentration in International Relations. She is an active and dedicated member of the Vietnamese Student Association on her campus and involved in the Political Awareness Committee of the Asian American Student Association addressing API issues such as interracial dating, affirmative action, and immigration policy and reform. She is a part of the Georgetown Asian Graduation planning committee to host a ceremony held to celebrate and recognize senior students’ Asian heritage. Her true passion is being a DC Schools tutor in D.C. working with Chinatown’s low income immigrant community to improve literacy skills and academic performances of children of immigrant families. During her free time, Linh enjoys cooking various scrumptious dishes and inviting friends over to indulge. Her other activities include reading, writing, and watching movies and TV shows.

Linh will be interning at the OCA National Center.

Juliet Shen (@Juliet_Shen) is currently a Political Science and Sociology student at SUNY Albany in New York. She started Fascinasians in July, 2011 as a resource on Asian American issues, gender and racial justice, and intersectionality. Juliet has served on the East Coast Asian American Student Union's National Board as Director of Communications and continues to collaborate with organizations like ECAASU, MAASU, and 18 Million Rising. After growing up in Arizona and coming into social consciousness once leaving Arizona, Juliet’s passion for racial and social justice has only grown. She is part of SUNY Albany’s Asian American Alliance. Juliet has worked for a public relations firm, the New York State Assembly, and several statewide campaigns. You can read more on her and her opinions at her website,

Juliet will be interning at the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).

Rebecca Ozaki was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in Human Development Family Studies. As a Filipino-Japanese American, she grew up exploring both her cultural identities, which has contributed to her passion of civil rights and social justice issues in the Asian American community and beyond. Rebecca is heavily involved in the Asian American campus community as well as the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations and the Disability Resources Educational Services Department of the University. Beyond the college community, she has interned for Korean American Community Services in Chicago, is an active member of the Asian American Institute, Japanese American Citizens League, and looks forward to furthering her participation with the OCA. In the future, Rebecca hopes to take an active role in civil rights issues and social justice education through participation in the non-profit sector, student affairs higher education, public policy or wherever her passions take her. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys working out, thrift-store shopping, eating, and spending time with friends and family.

Rebecca will be interning at the OCA National Center as a Senior Intern.

Chee Kue Lee is a recent graduate at St. Cloud State University (SCSU), Minnesota with a focus in Women Studies and minors in Asian Pacific Islander American Studies and, Human Relations. As an undergraduate Chee Kue has been able to give back to his campus through his involvement on Student Government as the Cultural Diversity Chair, Treasurer of the Hmong Student Organization, and Administrative Assistant at the department of Multicultural Student Services (MSS). As a student leader, Chee Kue had the privilege of: coordinating outreach programs to communities of color; battle against administration on the issue of institutional racism; and be awarded the MSS President’s Awards for his leadership and dedication to his peers. Chee Kue is a second generation Hmong American and first generation higher education student who enjoys ethnic Flee market food! He has aspirations to work in the non-profit sector as an advocate to marginalized communities, build global relationships with the diasporic Hmong community, and attain his Ph.D on this topic of Hmong American Feminism. Chee Kue hopes to gain skills in advocacy and be inspired by the atmosphere of DC.

Chee Kue will be interning at the OCA National Center.

Taylor Valmores is a student at Sacramento City College pursuing an Associates in Arts in Sociology before transferring to a University to major in Political Science. He has an enthusiasm to learn more about policymaking and movement-building. While at Sacramento City College, he has worked in a leadership capacity for various student groups.

During his first year at Sacramento City College, he served as President of the Clubs and Events Board, and was responsible for the coordination of campus wide activities such as food drives, holiday events, and club fairs. Seeing firsthand the issues that the 2.4 million students in community college face, he decided to get involved in student representation and advocacy. This last year, Taylor has served the students of his school as Student Senate President. He has advocated on behalf of college students to legislators, spoken on the importance of education at education committee hearings at the capital, organized voter registration drives, and rallies for Proposition 30. He believes that education is the gateway to opportunity and has joined The Campaign for College Opportunity to further his advocacy efforts as a student and supporter of Higher Education.

He has previously interned for Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA), CA Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s office, and Congresswomen Doris Matsui. While interning for these different groups, he learned much about policy and legislation, and gained skills to become more involved and politically active. After completing his education, Taylor hopes to make the world a better place in whatever small ways he can by working towards a world where education is affordable for all.

Taylor will be interning at the office of Congressman Mike Honda.

Lisa Lei is a proud Anteater as a 4th year at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) majoring in Political Science, Sociology and minoring in Asian American Studies. She is a grassroots organizer that involves herself in progressive and radical spaces that fosters critical thinking and horizontal leadership. At a young age, Lisa recognized issues in her immigrant community from the harsh realities of restaurants to un-unionized ethnic supermarket labor. When she arrived at UCI, she immediately fought in various campaigns from higher education to the current UC labor contract. Lisa is also involved with the Asian Pacific Student Association and University of California, United Students Against Sweatshops. On her free time, Lisa enjoys cooking and eating with her family and friends.

Lisa will be interning at the Office of Management and Budget.

Hari Adhikari, originally from Bhutan, is a rising senior majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology and minoring in Chemistry at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Hari serves on OCA Tucson’s executive board as secretary. Prior to serving in local executive board, he was an intern for OCA Tucson. He has exhibited incredible leadership skills as a local OCA intern and board member. He has initiated the APA-Y Advocate, a signature program of OCA, in Tucson twice and executed it with great success. He recruited the students, assisted with the logistics and the program. Most recently, he attended the OCA/JACL leadership summit in Washington D.C. Besides being an advocate and a full time student, he works full-time as Health Outreach Assistant with the Amphitheater School District. Hari is multilingual and speaks fluent Nepali and Hindi. In his free time, he loves to play soccer, hike, travel, read and spend time with his family.

Hari will be interning at the Asian Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund (APIASF). 

Alison Chang is a proud Taiwanese American and rising third-year Trojan at the University of Southern California. As a Business Administration major, with a minor in Law & Public Policy, she is passionate about serving the community and those around her in any capacity possible. For the past two years, Alison has been working with the educational non-profit organization, CollegeSpring, to assist low-income high school students in realizing their college potential. Through this experience, she has found her great love for teaching and mentoring younger generations and she hopes to continue doing so after graduating from USC.

On campus, Alison is also extensively involved as a board member for USC’s Taiwanese American Organization (TAO), as well as a member of the USC Helenes, the university’s official all-female service organization. Since freshman year, she has been involved with the Asian Pacific American Students Assembly (APASA) - first as a student intern, then as the elected Finance Director. She was recently elected as APASA’s 2013-2014 Assistant Director for the Undergraduate Student Government’s Program Board. Alison is the current Southern California District Governor and National Vice President-elect for the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association (ITASA). When she’s not on a conference call or in a meeting, Alison can be found dancing, eating, or sleeping.

Alison will be interning at the US Merit Systems Protection Board.

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