2014 15 Jul APAICS Welcomes Fellows for 2014-2015
APAICS is pleased to announce the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Fellows who will be working on Capitol Hill starting in September, and congratulates them on their achievement. The APAICS Fellowship program offers full-time legislative and public policy fellowships in Washington, D.C. providing exceptional graduates and young professionals with an opportunity to work on policy issues as staff members of a congressional office. The program aims to build leadership skills, encourage political civic engagement, and foster a strong interest in public service careers. The Congressional Fellowship Program is for the purpose of connecting talented Asian American students throughout the country to professional opportunities in Washington, D.C. It boasts a diverse but highly talented group of individuals that aim to enlighten congressional officials on Asian American policy and position in the United States. APAICS is thankful for the following sponsors of this year fellowships: British Petroleum (BP), Coca-Cola, Herbalife, Walmart, and Wells Fargo.
Representative Michael Honda
K.J. received his B.S. in Biopsychology with a minor in Political Science from University of California at Davis, and his J.D. from the Seattle University School of Law. For the past couple of years, K.J. worked as Legislative Counsel to D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham, focusing on transportation, public safety, judiciary and renewable energy issues. During his time at Seattle University School of Law, he was a Board Member for the South Asian Law Student Association. He also served as the Diversity Representative on the Student Bar Association.
As an undergraduate student, K.J. was Executive Director of the Study for South Asian American Political Presence, a study that focused on determining the root cause of the lack of political activism within the South Asian American community. K.J. has interned with the Office of Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, the Washington State Senate Committee Services, the Washington Defender Association, and worked at a legal clinic where he assisted clients by working with banks and filing Home Assistance Modification loans to prevent foreclosure. He has also served as Northern Field Director for Burnside & Associates in Los Angeles, as well as Staff Consultant for Sjoberg Evashenk Consulting in Sacramento, working on youth gang prevention issues. K.J. is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, the South Asian Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and is involved with the Asian American Action Fund and the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with friends and checking out D.C.’s city life with his wife Sapna.
Katherine Suzuki recently graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in History and minored in both Public Policy and Ethnic Studies. She is excited to serve as the 2014-2015 Wells Fargo Fellow with the Office of Congressman Al Green (TX-09) through the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS), and is looking forward to returning to the House of Representatives after previously interning with the Office of Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) in her DC and District offices. Katherine is passionate about serving the AAPI community, specifically on civil rights, education, and housing policy issues. Her background serving the AAPI community includes interning with the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA) organization in San Francisco, California. As an intern, she worked to develop a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding recent immigrant students navigate the college application process.
Additionally, Katherine also served the 2013-2014 Chancellor’s Public Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley; in this role, she developed partnerships with local AAPI community organizations and worked as a teaching assistant for an Ethnic Studies course entitled “Racism and U.S. Law.” While at the University of California, Berkeley, she also served as an Undergraduate Fellow with the Asian American Law Journal and as a Research Assistant at the Berkeley School of Law. In her spare time, Katherine enjoys traveling, cheering for the San Francisco Giants, and trying new cuisines and restaurants.
Representative Ami Bera
Sam Cho is a Seattle native and one of just five recipients of the 2014-2015 Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies Fellowship. He will be serving in the Office of Representative Ami Bera and looks forward to contributing to US foreign and economic policy initiatives on Capitol Hill.
Prior to becoming an APAICS Fellow, he worked at the US Department of State as a Program Analystwhere he analyzed and reviewed requests to declassify information in the Central Foreign Policy Record in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act. While working for the State Department, he was placed on the team investigating the 2012 attack on the US Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi. Sam has also worked for the Economic Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea during the implementation phase of the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement. He is the founder of the non-profit Pangea Initiative and served as its Executive Director from 2008 to 2011. His passion for issues concerning the Asian American and Pacific Islander community stems from being raised by two hard working South Korean immigrant parents and from working for The White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders.
Sam received a B.A. in International Studies from The American University where he served as the President of the Korean Student Association and holds a MSc International Political Economy from The London School of Economics and Political Science.
Senator Mazie Hirono
Alyssa Wang is a Florida native who received her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Florida in May 2014, concentrating in policy and management. She is extremely honored to serve as a 2014-2015 Herbalife Fellow through the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) and to serve in the Office of U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. Alyssa looks forward to working on health policy through the Office and learning more about life on Capitol Hill. Alyssa’s health background includes serving as the 2013-2014 Vice Chair for Tobacco Free Alachua, a community partnership that seeks to develop and promote policies to reduce the effects of tobacco in Alachua County, FL. Her role included advocating for ordinances to regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to minors within municipalities of Alachua County. She also served as a research assistant for the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where she assisted in the data analysis and evaluation of a telephone skills-building program for caregivers of veterans with stroke. She recently founded and directed the inaugural Global Health Case Competition at the University of Florida (UF) and coordinated for two years a UF College of Dentistry pre-dental program for undergraduate students of minority or disadvantaged backgrounds to reduce oral health disparities and issues of access. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys outdoor activities, spending time with friends, and learning about new things
Representative Judy Chu
Rachit is a graduate of Rutgers College (’06) and Rutgers School of Law – Newark (’10). He is currently a General Litigation Associate at Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader (FPSF) where he defends and advises private and public entities in various disputes in jurisdictions throughout the country. Prior to joining FPSF, he clerked in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey as well as the Superior Court of New Jersey. Between the clerkships, he spent a short time at the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office prosecuting individuals accused of defrauding securities investors. While in law school, he interned for the Hon. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner on the Supreme Court of New Jersey, at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and at the Manhattan D.A.’s Office. Rachit was also an Editor on the Rutgers Law Review, and Chair of the Public Interest Law Foundation. He was also Research Assistant to the Hon. John J. Farmer, Jr., former Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission, for whom he conducted extensive research for Farmer’s book The Ground Truth.
Outside of legal practice, Rachit serves as Chair of the Judicial Prosecutorial Appointments Committee (JPAC) of the Asian Pacific American Lawyer’s Association of New Jersey, through which he directs a committee that vets, endorses, and advocates for candidates for executively appointed positions within New Jersey. Rachit is actively involved in progressive politics and has served as counsel, fundraiser, or volunteer attorney for various local, statewide and national elections.