As America’s population becomes increasingly diverse, it is important to have this diversity reflected in the federal workforce. Although Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) comprise 6 percent of the U.S. population, they make up only 3 percent of the Senior Executive Service (SES), the highest ranks of federal government.
As part of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ work to strengthen federal workforce diversity, we want to highlight federal internship opportunities. We hope to usher more students into public service to ensure diverse voices are represented in the federal government, and the needs of the AAPI community are reflected in its’ programs and policies.
At the Initiative, we are currently seeking full-time summer student interns in Washington, D.C., and Seattle, WA. The Initiative is responsible for the implementation of the President's Executive Order 13515, which includes coordinating executive branch efforts to improve the quality of life of underserved AAPIs through increased participation in federal programs.
Interns at the Initiative are responsible for assisting the staff on a wide range of AAPI issues and priorities, including capacity-building, civil rights, data disaggregation, economic development, education, health, immigration, language access, and workforce diversity. In addition, interns help write policy memos and proposals, draft blogs, assist with communications and social media, coordinate and staff events, and conduct outreach to national and local AAPI organizations and leaders. WHIAAPI Seattle interns focus primarily on expanding AAPI regional engagement efforts through effective outreach and event planning.
Below are some highlights of the tremendous work of our interns:
Belinda Lei, Georgetown University
Belinda Lei, a second year undergraduate at Georgetown University, helped coordinate the launch of the Data.gov/AAPI, the government’s hub of AAPI data. Belinda helped draft communications materials, coordinated with community members, and executed all launch related logistics. Additionally, Belinda helped to promote the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Program, a grant focused on improving the graduation and retention rates of AAPIs, by supporting the AANAPISI web page, newsletter, and webinar series.
At the Initiative, Belinda has discovered and pursued her growing passion for civil rights by working on the launch of the AAPI Bullying Prevention Task Force, an interagency effort to address bullying prevention in the AAPI community. Today, she continues to assist the project while expanding professionally and dedicating her time to improving the quality of life for AAPIs.
Raven Faavae, University of California, Los Angeles
Raven Faavae, a fourth year undergraduate at the University of California Los Angeles, dedicated her focus as an intern to health and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) community engagement. Raven helped educate communities on the Affordable Care Act by coordinating a webinar series providing NHPIs a better understanding of the Affordable Care Act. In addition, Raven coordinated with community leaders in the Pacific Islands to help to support the Pacific Island Task Force, which the Initiative launched to increase opportunity and access to federal programs for community-based organizations in the region.
At the Initiative, Raven has gained a deeper appreciation for the NHPI community and realized her desire to pursue policy work. Today, she continues to contribute to the efforts of the Pacific Island Task Force and to bridge the gap between NHPI communities and federal agencies.
Eesha Bhave, American University
Eesha Bhave, a third year undergraduate at American University, supported the Initiative’s community engagement and strategic communications work. Eesha drafted and designed a wide variety of communications materials, assisted in the Initiative’s social media campaigns, and helped launch the E3! Ambassador Program, a program that discovers, develops and defines a new generation of leaders committed to advocating for AAPIs. In addition, Eesha has helped spearhead community engagement events, including the upcoming National AAPI Community Google+ Hangout.
Eesha’s passion for AAPI affairs has steadily grown in her time at the Initiative, where her communications work has greatly contributed to promoting AAPI issues and events nationwide. Today, Eesha can be found continuing to engage with community leaders, completing assignments with zeal and efficiency, and furthering the Initiative’s valuable work in the AAPI community.
Internship positions are open to eligible undergraduate and graduate students, and applications are due on March 8, 2015. For more information, visit here.
Kiran Ahuja is Executive Director at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.