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Fellowship offered to young Asian Pacific Americans to learn inner workings of government

Fellows get to meet some pretty important people in government, sometimes even Vice Presidents.

By Ed Diokno

If I had a chance to do high school or college over, I’d do some internships or Fellowships. These programs are a relatively new thing for young people wishing to check out an occupation to see if it is something they could invest in for a career.
The government office where I work has a summer internship that introduces young people to the world of  public service. Many of the youth who have gone through the internship have gone on to work in public agencies or nonprofits so that they can “give back” to their communities.
Here’s a Fellowship that I wish was available when I was younger.

The International Leadership Foundation (ILF), a Combined Federal Campaign-approved non-profit, is pleased to announce that the application process for the 2016 Civic Fellowship Program is open and ongoing until February 1. Every year, ILF’s selection committee identifies approximately 30 outstanding Asian Pacific American (APA) college students to spend eight to ten weeks interning at a federal agency in Washington D.C. during the summer.

Students accepted into the program are known as Civic Fellows and will receive a stipend of $2,000. In addition, they will attend weekly leadership seminars on Capitol Hill, learn networking skills and gain valuable, firsthand working knowledge of the American system of government. Fellows are responsible for their own travel, housing and living expenses.

“ILF has a stellar record of advocating for increased civic engagement and public service from the APA community,” said Chiling Tong, ILF’s Chief Executive Officer. “We need a greater representation of our community in government, and ILF’s goal is to train a new generation of successful leaders in their chosen fields and raise our community’s profile as engaged, American citizens who deserve to have our voices heard.”

Based on the interests and majors of selected Civic Fellowship candidates, ILF will work to place them with over a dozen federal agencies, as well as limited placements in congressional offices and the White House. “The ILF works hard to foster bright young APA youth who wish to experience the inner workings behind this great country’s national government, and provides effective training classes. The Honorable Elaine Chao serves as honorary chairwoman.

Former Fellow Letitia Wu describes her experience:

I officially worked in the Office of Correspondence in the office of Vice President Biden. We did everything from reading every single piece of mail that came in to him to drafting and editing responses to the general public, governors and other important officials. The correspondence office was basically the medium between the general public and the vice president.

Occasionally, I also helped with the National Security Office, but because I don’t have top-secret clearance I could only work on non-classified projects, such as helping with diplomatic visits. For example, when a diplomatic head like the crown prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain came to talk to the vice president, we prepared the Roosevelt Room for their meeting. I also had the opportunity to help with trip calls when the Vice President traveled abroad.

Her favorite part of the Fellowship was meeting the people who develop and implement the policies of the country but receive none of the credit.

One of my biggest idols in life is Tina Tchen, the director of public engagement for the president, and I could just send her an e-mail. One day I sent her one saying, “I really admire all that you have done in your life. I would really like to meet, get to know and have the opportunity to talk to you.” And she quickly responded, “Just come on over,” and I just walked over to the West Wing and talked to her.

Undergraduate students of APA heritage who are United States citizens and possess a GPA of 3.0 and above are eligible for this fellowship. Applications must be submitted by February 1, 2016.

To learn more or submit an application, click here.


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