APAICS | Meet the APAICS 2016 Summer Interns
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2016 16 Jun Meet the APAICS 2016 Summer Interns

APAICS welcomes 12 summer interns from Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, and New York! Learn more about them below.


Cheung, Daniel RussellDaniel Russell Cheung
Hometown: Mountain House, CA
University: University of California, Berkeley
Major: History
Internship Placement: Office of Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17)

Daniel Russell Cheung will be entering his third year at the University of California, Berkeley. He is studying History and minoring in Asian American and Asian Diaspora studies. The proud son of immigrants, he is particularly interested on the formation of diasporic Chinese American communities across the United States and the impact of exclusionary immigration laws on these communities. As a multiracial Chinese American, he is also interested in critical Mixed Race Studies and the narratives of multiracial Asian Americans in higher education. Outside of his studies, he works closely with Asian American and Pacific Islander students on campus by promoting the retention of these students and providing opportunities for broader community engagement. Daniel is looking forward to interning in the Office of Congressman Mike Honda and gaining firsthand experience from leaders in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Hannah DabbsHannah Dabbs
Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ
Major: Global Politics, Public Policy
Placement: APAICS

Hannah Dabbs is an undergraduate at Arizona State University. She is double majoring in Global Politics and Public Policy through W. P. Carey’s School of Business. Hannah is interested in researching Global political issues such as Nuclear Proliferation and Global Poverty. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies, shopping, and traveling.

Defngin, AxelAxel Defngin
Hometown: Hilo, Hawai’i
University: University of Hawai’i at Hilo
Major: Liberal Studies
Internship Placement: APAICS

Axel J. Defngin is a rising senior at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo majoring in Liberal Studies with a specialization in Pacific Islander Studies and Media. Axel hopes to sustain a living for himself and his family as well as give back to the Pacific Islander community. He also plans on attending graduate school in hopes to earn a Masters in Pacific Islands Studies. Currently, Axel is a team leader and project manager at Pacific Students Media and a research assistant for the UH Hilo AANAPISI Grant Program. Previously, Axel has worked for the Pacific Islander Summer Bridge Program in 2014 and 2015.

Axel was born and raised in Hilo, Hawai’i but moved back to his family’s home island, Yap, where he finished his high school education. Having lived in both Hawai’i and Yap, Axel was able to gain an intercultural understanding of both his home and adopted island.

Dinakar, AditiAditi Dinakar
Hometown: Johnston, IA
University: Creighton University
Major: Marketing and Health Administration and Policy
Internship Placement: Office of Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07)

Aditi Dinakar is a student at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. She is a second generation Indian American, and grew up in Johnston, IA. She is studying Marketing and Health Administration and Policy, and hopes to work in the government affairs, advocacy, and public policy arena. She has served as the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for Creighton’s Student Government, and spearheaded a campaign to hire a Diversity Officer for the University. She has also served as a Fellow at Young People 4, part of the People for the American Way. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants and is very passionate about ice cream.

Larsen, MaiyaMaiya Larsen
Hometown: Temecula, CA
University: Fordham University
Major: Business Administration
Internship Placement: Office of Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA-15)

Maiya Larsen is from Temecula, California where she graduated from Great Oak High School in 2015 where she participated in the International Baccalaureate program and was a captain for her school’s cross country team. She is now an undergraduate student at Fordham University in New York where she is studying Business Administration. Maiya is on Fordham’s cross country and track team and enjoys reading and exploring the city when she is not running. Maiya loves musicals, plays the cello, and is a member of the Fordham orchestra. She hopes to make the world a better place by volunteering and being involved in her community.

Lim, WooyoungWooyoung Lim
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
University: Occidental College
Major: Urban and Environmental Policy
Internship Placement: House Democratic Caucus

Wooyoung Lim is graduating from Occidental College in 2016 with a B.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy. In Spring 2015, Wooyoung studied abroad at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology under the Division of Environment. She aspires to pursue a career related to her interests: law, public policy, and/or urban planning. Wooyoung’s work and on-campus experiences have influenced her passion for social equity and justice. She hopes to create real change and inspire others with her passions and activism. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting art museums, traveling, and photography.

Micoleta, JulianneJulianne Micoleta
Hometown: Des Plaines, IL
University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Major: Political Science and Global Studies
Internship Placement: Office of Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41)

Julianne Micoleta is a rising senior studying Political Science and Global Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her past work and government experience includes serving as a legislative intern for two Illinois State Senators. Additionally, as a student intern for the Asian American Cultural Center at UIUC, Julianne has spent a significant portion of her college career exploring her Asian American identity, which has fomented her desire to empower the AAPI community through her work. After she graduates, she is dedicated to pursuing a career in government and public service.

Ng, LisaLisa Ng
Hometown: New York, NY
University: Brooklyn College
Major: Urban Environmental Policy
Internship Placement: Environmental Protection Agency – Local Government Advisory Committee

Lisa is a native New Yorker with a passion for all things trash. As a Macaulay Honors College student at Brooklyn College, she studies Urban Environmental Policy – the intersection between waste management, politics, and environmental justice. Lisa has worked as a workshops coordinator for the NYC Asian American Student Conference, a data analyst at the CUNY Building Performance Lab, and digital content manager for TEDxCUNY. As an avid storyteller and long-time intern with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, she believes in the power of stories to educate, inspire, and create change towards a more sustainable future. Prior to interning with the EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee through APAICS this summer, Lisa will study postcolonial development in Dakar, Senegal. She hopes her academic and professional efforts will alleviate the disproportionate amount of environmental burdens placed on various communities of color on a local, national, and global scale. She will spend the rest of her life aspiring to be the ethereal coalescence of Olivia Pope, Leslie Knope, and Princess Mononoke.

Sham, KristieKristie Sham 
Hometown: Alhambra, CA
University: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Political Science
Internship Placement: Department of Education – Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs

Kristie Sham is a rising second-year studying Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. She works on campus as a student assistant to the Alumni Engagement Department at the Cal Alumni Association, where she helps coordinate with over 80 alumni chapters nationwide. Kristie is passionate about improving outreach and relations between governments and constituents to better provide services. She has a strong interest in civic engagement, and has worked to foster communications between local city government and youth groups. This past summer, Kristie interned for the California State Treasurer John Chiang to learn more about public service and state programs. She hopes to spend this summer in Washington DC expanding her knowledge about national policy, gaining hands on experience in legislative work, and creating a broader personal network within the Asian Pacific Islander community.

Syed, AnushaAnusha Syed
Hometown: East Meadow, NY
University: Hunter College
Major: Political Science
Internship Placement: House Energy and Commerce Committee

Anusha Syed is a freshman at Hunter College who’s known for her dynamic public speaking skills and community service. She has been elected as the District Treasurer of New York District Key Club and Immediate Past Elected Lieutenant Governor of Division 6 Key Club. Anusha is also the Chairman for the Kids Committee of American Community Empowerment and a volunteer of the South Asian Political Action Committee. Anusha is involved in many civic and charitable activities within her community. One of her passions is to help raise money to purchase school supplies for the underprivileged children, whose parents can’t afford to fully stock the school supplies throughout the year. In summer of 2010 Anusha raised $ 5000.00 dollars towards this project. Anusha hopes to one day become a public servant and run for office so she can serve her community.

Thao, MaikhouMaikhou Thao
Hometown: Oroville, CA
University: California State University, Chico
Major: Sociology
Internship Placement: White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Maikhou Thao is a second year at California State University, Chico pursuing an undergraduate degree in Sociology with an Ethics, Justice, and Policy pathway minor. During her first year in college, she was an Upward Bound tutor advisor assisting low-income, first generation high school students with their academic success towards college. Currently, Maikhou is the secretary of the Hmong Student Association on campus focusing on the promotion of higher education and cultural awareness of the Hmong people to the community. Additionally, she works as an intern in the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center (CCLC) on campus. As an intern, she is in charge of coordinating and facilitating programs that serve underrepresented students through promoting diversity and leadership. Furthermore, she assists in other culturally specific programs geared towards empowering Students of Color at Chico State. As a Horatio Alger scholarship recipient, and her involvement in the campus organization, Community Action Volunteers in Education (C.A.V.E.), Maikhou continues to strive towards academic success and building up a more diverse and inclusive community.

Yamamoto, MatthewMatthew Yamamoto
Hometown: Arcadia, CA
University: University of California, Riverside
Major: Political Science, Administrative Studies
Internship Placement: Office of Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27)

Matthew Yamamoto is a fourth-generation Japanese American from Arcadia, California. He is a graduating senior at the University of California, Riverside, and majors in Political Science/Administrative Studies. He interned at APAICS this past fall as a part of the UCDC program and is excited to return to D.C. this summer. He is particularly excited to work in the Office of Representative Judy Chu because he was born and raised in California’s 27th Congressional District. Matthew is strongly interested in community empowerment. He was the President of the Nikkei Student Union at UCR and worked on a Smithsonian digital exhibition, which highlights the contributions of Japanese American veterans from WWII.


Thank you to our 2016 Summer Internship sponsors!


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