OCA 2018 Summer interns

IM017117 (709x800) (567x640).jpg

Chelsey Gao

Chelsey is a rising senior at Georgia Tech majoring in Public Policy with a minor in Global Development. She was born and raised in Alpharetta, Georgia and is interested in AAPI identity in the South, the intersections of LGBTQ+ and AAPI communities, and inclusive and sustainable city planning, especially regarding housing and transportation.

On campus, she previously served as President of the Chinese Student Association and is currently involved with the Asian American Student Association. She is also a Diversity Ambassador, LGBTQIA Safe Space Facilitator, and works as an assistant in the Office of Student Diversity, trying to help facilitate more discussions about diversity and inclusion on campus. She is on the National Board of the East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) and Sparks Magazine, a non-profit organization that supports student-run publication in the Asian Pacific Islander American community.

This summer she hopes to learn more about AAPI nonprofit work in DC, community development and housing policy, and organizing methods in order to better serve communities in Georgia and on her campus.

In her free time, Chelsey likes to weightlift, read, practice tai chi with her grandma, and reminisce about Hong Kong’s metro system.

Chelsey is an intern at the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD).

Kaur Jaslin_Headshot.jpg

Jaslin Kaur

Jaslin Kaur is a rising senior at the City University of New York, Hunter College studying Women & Gender Studies, Globalization, and Human Rights. She proudly holds an A.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies from Nassau Community College. As she was personally affected by domestic violence, Jaslin works to unite women against gender-based violence. She has presented her research on politically-charged sexual violence in Kenya and Syria at the United Nations 62nd Commission on the Status of Women. She has also spoken on child marriage at the United Nations DPI NGO Chat Series. Jaslin has advocated on Capitol Hill to senators on gender-based violence affecting undocumented and AAPI women as well.

In the past, Jaslin served as Dean at Sadie Nash Leadership Project where she taught social justice activism to young women of color. She continues to serve as the Programs & Outreach Director at One Girl Inc. where she co-founded the Women in Charge leadership conference. She is also a volunteer organizer at AF3IRM NYC where she teaches self-defense workshops at the Summer School of Women’s Activism. Jaslin is now Co-Founder of RefuGirl in New York City, an effort to offer mentorship and leadership training to young refugee and migrant women. Jaslin has been featured in make/shift Magazine, Glimpse Magazine, WBAI 99.5 FM Pacifica Radio, WHPC 90.3 FM Radio, and on ITV Gold network.

In her free time, Jaslin enjoys practicing and teaching Shotokan karate, cooking, and running.

Jaslin is an intern at National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).

OCA Intern Headshot - Muyi.jpg

Muyi Zhang

Muyi is a rising senior at Duke University majoring in International Comparative Studies and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies with a minor in Classical Studies. She grew up in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington and immigrated to the United States from China at the age of 4. Due to the influence of immigrants around her all her life, Muyi became interested in her own identity as both an immigrant and as an American. In exploring her identity, she discovered her passion for advocating for the AAPI community and giving a voice to the causes she cares about. Muyi hopes to further her engagement and advocacy with the AAPI community as she prepares for a career in law. She has worked with the ACLU of Washington, taught English to immigrants and North Korean refugees, and worked with school organizations to promote AAPI visibility in campus settings.

In her free time, Muyi enjoys watching food-related videos, pretending she knows how to make music, sleeping, playing badminton, and spending too much time on her phone (according to her mom).

Muyi is a Communications Department Intern at the OCA National Center. 

Olivia Zalecki

IMG_7466 (1).jpg

Olivia is a rising senior at North Carolina State University double majoring in Political Science and Foreign Languages and Literatures with a concentration in Mandarin. Olivia identifies as a Chinese-American adoptee and was raised in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At NC State, Olivia is a member of the University Scholars Program, Caldwell Fellows Program, Adopted Student Union and tutors student athletes for the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes. As one of the founding members of ASU, Olivia has helped oversee the start of its mentor/mentee program with young Chinese adoptees in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, and panels about the local foster care network. Olivia has also served on the Triangle-Area Asian American Student Conference (TAASCON) for two years in a row, first as a Hospitality and Registration Chair and then a Director for North Carolina State University. TAASCON brings together AAPI students and allies, from across the state together for an annual day of workshops, speakers, and activities to help individuals explore their identities and learn the next steps to bring about social change.

Olivia has had the privilege of studying abroad in Nanjing, China to study Mandarin and most recently, Manchester U.K. to study international politics. All of these experiences have culminated into her aspirations for a career either involving international relations between the United States and East Asia, or international advocacy work for marginalized groups. Through the OCA Internship Program, Olivia hopes to learn how to become a better listener and advocate for the AAPI community.

Olivia is an intern at the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service.


Paulina Lee

Paulina is an upcoming junior at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She is pursuing a degree in Human Resource Development and Business Marketing Education with a minor in Leadership. At the U of M, Paulina works in the College of Education and Human Development Student Services office as a student staff worker with the front desk and also Admissions. Within her college career, Paulina has grown interested in working closely to better her community. Following a public affairs course she took, she is now going to be a Public Achievement coach for a local elementary school that helps young youth voice and direct issues within their own community.

Paulina comes from a Hmong family and is also a first generation student. Growing up and witnessing the daily challenges her family faced as immigrants helped grow her own interest in helping her community but also intrigued her to gain more knowledge about issues AAPIs face.

Paulina is passionate about improving the lives of Hmong people who are faced with issues within their own community. She wants to improve the norms in Hmong society and bring more awareness to problems internally. With her majors, she plans to take what she has learned and implement it into the work she hopes to do in the future to help people of color primarily within the business field. Her goal in the business field is to bring more opportunities like careers to people of color and advocate for those who do not have voices.

In Paulina’s free time, she loves to travel, weight lift, listen to music, shop, and also try new restaurants. She hopes to gain more knowledge on policy work and issues AAPIs face during her time with OCA. She is also excited to explore D.C. since this will be her first time here!

Paulina is a Chapter & Membership intern at the OCA National Center.

Pele Văn


Pele Văn Lê (pay-lay van lay) is a University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, first-generation college graduate with a Bachelors of Applied Science in health services management with a minor in Asian languages and literature, leadership, psychology, and public health. He self-identifies as a second-generation Việt American male.

Born and raised in Minnesota, home taught him that there is no greater power than community(s) that knows what they want. His parents are refugees of the American War in Vietnam who taught him how to love and persevere. Through his parents' story and personal experiences, he has become passionate about evolving and working towards a more just and liberated society for us and future generations.

Rooted in radical love, social justice, and community development, Pele progressed with community(s) being a campus organizer, tennis instructor, conference director, student program coordinator, and a friend. He hopes to continue promoting more representation of Southeast Asians and Vietnamese Americans in politics and holding space for other marginalized communities, as we have unique challenges and considerations that are often silenced by dominant cultures.

Pele loves being curious, exploring different cultures and foods, and having intellectually stimulating conversations. This summer, he is beyond grateful and excited for the opportunity to be a part of OCA National and APIAVote, advocating on behalf of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Pele is an intern at Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), a non-profit organization that promotes electoral and civic engagement.


Zeba Raisa Shah

Raisa is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania, studying Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. She is also pursuing minors in Spanish, and Law and Society. On campus, she is the president of UPenn's premiere all-female South Asian acapella group (Penn Atma) and the Political Director for the Penn Association for Gender Equity (PAGE). Additionally, Raisa serves on the board of several university administration initiatives including one for first-generation low-income students and another for women of color. 

Born in Dinajpur, Bangladesh, Raisa immigrated to the United States with her family in 2009, when she was nine years old. After staying in California for a few months with extended family, her family relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico and settled there. As part of an immigrant family struggling to establish itself in the land of opportunity, Raisa grew up watching her parents work tireless hours at multiple jobs, just to make ends meet. Inspired by her parents, she too started working a full-time job at the age of fifteen at a regional pizza restaurant.

While Raisa has always been passionate about diversity around the world, it wasn't until she came to Penn that she truly started to embrace her Asian American identity and become involved in social justice and civic engagement spaces. This summer, she hopes to learn more about policy and advocacy work in DC as it relates to supporting marginalized communities and progressive causes.

Raisa is an intern at Futures Without Violence, a non-profit organization that combats gender-based violence.