Interns Testimonies

Interns Testimonies

INTERNSHIP 2019

Edward Yu, Intern 2019
NY State Lt. Governor Hochul’s Office

Hi! My name is Edward Yu and I am a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying PPE or
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. I found the APAPA internship because I had a friend in it last year and several adults in the community have recommended it to me.  I want to thank APAPA for helping me secure my internship with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. Without them, I definitely would not have this internship. From submitting my application to the right people, to providing professional tips, to checking up on us during the internship, APAPA has been there every step of the way. Special thanks to Dr. Lili Kuo, who has been very understanding and a huge help to me. 

Although I’ve only recently started this internship, I’ve learned and done a lot already. From helping to schedule events to writing briefs directly used by the Lieutenant Governor, I’ve gotten an inside glance of the life of a politician and how everyone comes together to support one another in our common mission to serve the people of the state.

Although my future is not 100% clear, I have a passion for the field of education. When working in a poverty-stricken neighborhood elementary school in Philadelphia last summer, I realized the academic struggles many of the students faced were not problems with the individual, but rather deeper, systemic issues that have plagued the community for many years. The most effective and perhaps only way to fight systemic issues is through policy, and even this summer learning about how policies such as New York’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative which has created real, lasting change in communities, has been powerful to see. So yes, I would recommend others who are interested to give the APAPA internship a shot, for it’s a great chance to help and directly support our elected leaders in creating real change.

Zara Shah, Intern 2019
U.S Senator Gillibrand’s Office at Albany, NY

I am an incoming Business Administration junior at the University at Buffalo. I am concentrating in marketing with a minor in Chinese. I found the APAPA public service internship while searching through various internship programs during the school year, and was highly encouraged to apply through family friends The APAPA internship committee was very helpful in finding me an internship through in-depth discussions about my area of study, past work experience, career interests, and future goals. They treated my information with much thought and were able to match me with a great internship that met my criteria.
  
This Summer, I interned at the Albany office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. At this internship I was able to assist in legislative policy, prepare for DC staff events and grant workshops and interact with constituent affairs. I learned a lot about the importance of being politically active and voter registration. Many of the constituent calls I would receive would be from elders and middle-aged citizens; very few callers from people of my age. With that being said, it has made me realize that my generation has no excuse to not be politically aware with the amount of resources given to us and has encouraged me to recruit my peers in engaging in public service.

My career aspiration is to go into international marketing or business operations. Contrary to the common belief, this internship has in fact helped me define my future career by providing me with experience in administrative work, research, event preparation, and networking. All of these gained experiences are aspects of business that I hope to incorporate in future entry level positions that I am applying for. This internship has also encouraged me to volunteer in public service. 

I would definitely encourage my friends to join this program because APAPA has given me the opportunity to become civically engaged and more insightful in politics. I would especially encourage this program to people who are not that interested in politics because after my internship, I found myself actively reading the news and
becoming more politically aware. I would tell them that APAPA is the perfect opportunity for Asian-Americans to be civically engaged and delve into politics as this program has given me firsthand experience of these opportunities simultaneously.

Elan Shiang,  Intern 2019
U.S Senator Gillibrand’s Office at Albany, NY

Participating in this internship allowed me to learn on several different levels. I was able to learn more about the nature of public service on the federal level, explore how legislation at the national level creates real impact at the local level, engage with the communities that the Senator serves, as well as practice professional writing, speaking, teamwork and other administrative skills.

One thing that I was not expecting to learn, was a lesson in respect. A vast majority of people who contact their federal representatives do so in order to voice their opinions and concerns that are incongruent with those that the Senator holds herself. Often, I was put in a situation where constituents felt as if their beliefs where being personally attacked by the Senator, and I, as an intern, was tasked with the job of responding to their concerns. Almost immediately I learned the value that respect plays in constructively listening to unhappy callers, in order to make them feel as if their voices are being heard, and so that they feel as if their elected officials are working for them. Without the crucial element of respect, it would be incredibly difficult to effectively understand points of view that do not align with my own or the Senators, and make sure that the person behind the phone feels like their concern is being taken seriously.

Nonetheless, the process of listening to constituents’ concerns was also the most gratifying part of the internship. It allowed me to serve as the mouthpiece for people who were displeased with their officials, aide New Yorkers with issues they have with federal agencies and enabled to interact and uplift the voices of people from all different backgrounds. For many, the phone call or interaction that they had with me might be the only interaction that they have with an elected official, and it was an incredibly rewarding process being able to improve the outcomes in the lives of the people that I worked with through my small but impactful role as an intern.

Ruchika Bhardwaj,  Intern 2019
City of Albany Mayor Sheehan’s Budget Office

I am graduating from the University of Albany with a master’s degree in Accounting and possess a strong background in Corporate Accounting & Finance. I learned about APAPA through Tricia and through Doctor Lili during my first interview.

My summer internship with the City of Albany started on 4thof Jun. I have been involved in key projects to support the Budget Team and was privileged to connect & engage with other team members. It has been a great learning & enriching experience. The major takeaway from this internship is that the approach to Government Accounting is very different from Corporate Accounting as government budgets are prepared following a set of rules & guidelines to get accurate & precise information for legislative purposes.

My career interest is public accounting and this internship helped me gain relevant experience. I am aiming to qualify as a CPA in future and will keep working hard to become the most efficient public accountant. I strongly recommend this program to bright and diverse candidates who are passionate about public service. I am grateful to Doctor Lili Kuo, Mayor of Albany, my manager Nicholas Blais and APAPA’s team for this great opportunity.

Grace Sun,  Intern 2019
Rockefeller College Center for Women in Government

This summer, thanks to APAPA and specifically Dr. Lili Kuo, I’ve been working as a research assistant at the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society at UAlbany. I first heard about the APAPA internship program around this time last year through the Capital Region Chinese Community Center. At the time, I was getting ready to begin my first year of college at Brandeis University. I went in with the plans of being a Business and Psychology double-major but, come second semester, I started becoming more interested in studying politics as well because I had done a lot of public service work in high school and also, Brandeis really fosters a politically aware and engaged mindset. So, when I started looking for summer internship opportunities, I wanted to explore politics more, which was why I applied to the APAPA internship program. So, I submitted my application in late February and received a congratulatory response in early March. From there, immediately, I was offered the chance to apply to a couple different local and state offices. In the end, I realized that I wasn’t so much interested in working in an office, but rather doing research. Which was why, when the internship team offered me a research assistant spot at the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, I thought it would be a great fit for me.
The Center for Women in Government and Civil Society focuses on four main research topics. Women and leadership, health and gender-based disparities, safety and wellbeing, and economic security, which was actually what I had worked on for most all of my time there. As a research assistant, I didn’t spend a single day doing stereotypical intern work, such as getting coffee, making copies, etc. I became fully engaged in the research they were conducting, and I really felt that my ideas and thoughts at meetings were taken into consideration, which I really appreciated. I was given the opportunity to delve into research, read numerous articles and make summaries of them to present to the team. So I was definitely able to work on those skills and also practice delivering information verbally in a concise manner. This internship has helped me realize my goals for the future, which is engaging in and promoting ethical and humane business practices, which unfortunately the world is at a lack of. Thank you.

Sana Syed,  Intern 2019
Clifton Park Town Supervisor Barrett’s Office

This past summer I worked at the Clifton Park towns Supervisor office with Phil Barrett. My duties at the office consisted of answering phone calls, attending town board meetings, writing out media advisories, and having the opportunity to network and meet other local politicians. Not only was I doing work in the office, but Mr. Barrett gave me the opportunity to work on projects like researching state championships to put on an electric sign displaying the hard-working youth from Clifton Park and giving me the opportunity to take on a press conference hands on and plan it out. Overall APAPA simplified the internship process for me by offering training, which helped tremendously. Lili was easy to get ahold of and offered quality advice and guidance.

Jieyu “Jerry” Chen,  Intern 2019
City of Schenectady Mayor McCarthy’s Office

My name is Jerry Chen and I’m an incoming graduate student at Columbia University. My interest in public service has been grown since I was an undergraduate student. I have involved in many volunteer- works and I accidently know APAPA through one of my friend Bingling Wang. APAPA has provided me a unique chance to work at the public service area and has greatly improved my interest that I will consider working in this field in the future. I was assigned to the Engineering Department at Schenectady City Hall where I worked on several city construction projects. Later I showed my interest in data analysis that I exchanged to the Police Department to analyze the use of force data. While participating in these projects, I can feel the responsibilities and the pleasure at the same time since I have done can benefits the residents here and I truly enjoyed it. Therefore, I would like to introduce APAPA to all my friends who have interest in public service. I want to thank all the APAPA members who provided me this great opportunity, I also especially want to thank Dr. Lili Kuo who provided me a lot of suggestions on my interview and academic.

Shaaf Syed,  Intern 2019
City of Albany Mayor Sheehan’s Budget Office

I appreciate the opportunity you and the budget department have given me. I really appreciate the projects that they had assigned to me. I feel that I have learned a lot about how government works and what the budget office does. It is astonishing how the department operates. I believe that the budget department is the most vital department for the city. They allocate money to departments and figure out how much a department respectfully deserves. This department holds authority over other department in that they must go through the budget department first to figure out if they can obtain more money. I find it really remarkable that this department fact checks every department’s finances and make sure everything is perfect. 

I really enjoyed making new connection with different departments in the city. I would have never had that opportunity to work with Lean and the police department without working in the budget office.

I really appreciate how APAPA helped me through the process. They made everything simple for me. We even went through an interview, checked my resume and cover letter. Finding an internship can be intimidating, but APAPA made it easy. 

INTERNSHIP 2018

Michael Zhou, Intern 2018

I worked this summer at Governor’s Office in downtown Albany. Through this experience, I was able to gain an understanding of what it takes to run an office behind every political figure, I also learned the extensive preparation and precision in every single thing a politician does, which really amazed me. At my internship, I felt like I was valued and contributed meaningful work to help run the office of Governor.

Nayanika Bhargava, Intern 2018

I joined Center for Women in Government and Civil Society, University At Albany as a *Web Developer Intern* through APAPA. My supervisors were Dina Refki, Director of CWGCS  and Bilge Avci, Research Associate. It was such a wonderful experience to work with these two for updating their department’s website. They have always been so supportive and responsive and I am fortunate to work with them again on another one of their research projects Immigration Integration Index.

Lyana Geng, Intern 2018

This internship experience helped me realize the diversity of opportunities available especially within public service. The most valuable aspect of my summer opportunity was people – I learned in depth and breadth because of how closely I was able to work in the office with 2 other people. I have thoroughly enjoyed my internship as well as the relationships and insights I have gained interacting with different directors, elected officials, and interns. 

INTERNSHIP 2017

Joy Keat(Intern at Governor Cuomo’s Office)Berkeley Summary:
From August 4th to August 6th I attended the 4th annual VNA International Leadership Conference in Berkeley California. The Conference was comprised of lectures by various guest speakers, workshops where we interacted with the other participants in group projects, and mentor sessions. The experience was extremely rewarding because we not only had the opportunity to connect with other APAPA chapters but also international students from China and Taiwan. I found the speed mentor sessions the most beneficial, during this session we had a few minutes to talk to a work professional of Asian descent for a few minutes before repeating the same procedure with another mentor. Each mentor had valuable insight into their respective fields and how they could be successful in their occupations as an Asian individual. The Conference was concluded with the group presentations that we had worked on throughout the duration of the conference. The groups focused on various topics such as increasing civic participation in international Asian students and improving Asian diversity in films and mass media. Overall I not only gained new skills from the Conference such as public speaking and collaboration in a group setting but I also made some friends along the way.

Internship Final Report:  This past summer I worked in Governor Cuomo’s office under The Director of Women’s Affairs, Kelli Owens. Initially I expected that I would be primarily be assisting her in emails and communications but my internship experience included much more. Besides aiding her in her emails and overall communications with her fellow constituencies colleagues I also took part in traveling to events as well as conducting research on certain policy issues. I was fortunate enough to travel to New York City to attend the announcement of New York’s Council on Women and girls as well as attend talks were concerned women could voice their opinions on various issues that directly affect them such as work place inequality, pay equity, and affordable childcare. One of the main policy issues that I researched during my time was creating childcare that is affordable for lower income families. My internship experience was more than I could have asked for, it not only opened my eyes to the workings of New York’s government but also the wide array of women’s issues that still need to be addressed.

 

Chris Du(Intern)
I am very thankful that the APAPA allowed me to have an opportunity to be an intern. I was able to gain so many valuable experiences from it, and without it I wouldn’t be able to have met so many different people. They connected me with the Clifton Park Town Hall and introduced me to the town supervisor, Phil Barrett, and all his co-workers. They were gracious in accepting me, and for that I am very thankful. I also have to give a final thanks to Li Zhang and HP Wang for helping when I had problems and without them I wouldn’t have been able to succeed as I did.

Maida Khan(Intern)
My internship with the Albany County Executive has been an experience I will not forget. My job was a combination of doing desk work and going out and experiencing events myself. Every morning when I came in, I would go to my desk and my boss, Mary, would send me my assignments. The assignments ranged from writing proclamations, media advisories, award letters, talking points and press releases. In writing these pieces I learned how to write in a more conversational manner, as opposed to the style of writing one would use while writing a paper. Sometimes in the middle of writing Mary would come in and say we needed to go somewhere, like a ribbon cutting ceremony or a press conference. Although I did enjoy writing proclamations and award letters, it was nice to get a break from that and go somewhere. During events like ribbon cuttings I would follow Mary around and get photos of the County Executive interacting with people. Sometimes the County Executive would use the talking points I wrote for speeches at the events. The most interesting thing I got to witness was Dan McCoy doing an interview at the YNN station. While he was on air, I stayed in the control room. It felt surreal to see all the cameras and watch everything happen live. Seeing press conferences live was also very interesting because of all the cameras and reporters. My least favorite part of my internship was doing media clippings. I would have to read articles written about the County Executive, determine if they were positive or negative and put everything into an excel sheet. I didn’t necessarily hate doing media clippings, but at times it would get very tedious. Overall, my internship experience was great. Instead of being on the side of the people interacting with the government, I was able to get the perspective of the government reaching out to the people. This internship helped reassure that I want my career to be in government.

Aaron Zhang(Intern)
Working with APAPA has lead me to experiences I would never have dreamt of and friends I would never have met. While this community is very close knit, it is also very expansive having “family” all over the country. Everyone here helps set a constructive mood and no one lets their individual differences fracture this harmonious relationship. APAPA has been a wonderful experience for me.

Christopher Du(Intern)
My internship was very fufilling, not only in the tasks I did there, but also the skills I learned. The working enviorment at the townhall helped me understand how busy even a town’s government can be. Every department I visited was always worked hard on their computers or taking calls trying to set up plans to start a project or help the residents of Clifton Park. During my internship I would have to organize files in order to let the other workers be more efficient. I also helped scan maps into the town’s digital database so they wouldn’t have to rely on physical copies anymore. In the same vein, I helped the highway department and planning department organize their files into spreadsheets so it was easier to access and would also compile all their documents into one master document. I am glad I was able to help my town be more efficient.

Dawn Gao(Parent of Intern)
I am grateful to the APAPA-ALC for being so generous as to accept my son into their internship program. The way they were able to connect him to a local government office made it easy to access for him. In addition, he was able to contribute to our local community. I believe that the opportunity presented to him will have unimaginable benefits for his future. I hope many other kids from our community will take advantage of the opportunity that the APAPA has presented.