2019 Leadership Academy Interns


Our internship is highly selective and each intern is selected based on their demonstrated academic and personal excellence, demonstrated leadership capabilities, and a commitment to serving their community.

Amanda Yuen

Amanda Yuen

Intern at Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley
Rising Sophomore at Johns Hopkins University

Amanda Yuen is a rising sophomore at Johns Hopkins University double majoring in International Studies and Anthropology. At Johns Hopkins, Amanda sits on the Education Board of IDEAL, a non-partisan organization which works to create productive conversations about current events and relevant public policy issues. She most recently organized an event bringing in panelists from The Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Magazine about the role of local media in politics. Amanda additionally writes for JHU Politik, the school’s online political opinion magazine.

Amanda has always enjoyed being actively involved with her local community. She has found that she has grown the most by listening and learning from those with different life experiences. This was the main reason why she wanted to double major in Anthropology and International Studies. As a “Head of Family” with the non-profit organization Thread, she is intimately involved with the mentoring and growth of a 9th grade student at a local Baltimore City public high school. Through her role as a peer mentor, she acts as the leader in the Thread community. Amanda also tutors 4th and 5th grade students a local Baltimore elementary school.

Amanda is a graduated member of the Los Angeles Mayor’s Youth Council. As a youth council member, she organized several community outreach events including a community clean-up in Koreatown and a young voter registration drive. In the past, Amanda has worked with a variety of other non-profit organizations including St. Anne’s (who provides support to parenting and pregnant foster teens), 9 Dots (a STEM education program), CoachArt (group that provides learning opportunities to kids with chronic illnesses), and GirlUp (a UN campaign advocating for women’s rights internationally).  

Amanda has always been interested in Asian Pacific American (APA) issues. From 2016-2018 she researched the effects of hegemonic masculinity and ethnic identity in Asian American fraternities. Through this work, she was able to interview and connect with local APA community members to understand their perspectives on this topic. From this work, she realized her passion for anthropology and the necessity of further research into the APA experience.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Amanda is excited to return to California to participate in the 2019 CAUSE Leadership Academy. In the future Amanda hopes to travel abroad and potentially pursue a career in public service or law. This summer she is excited to meet both peers and mentors that share her passion for community service and APA issues.

Amber Chong

Amber Chong

Intern at the Office of Assemblymember Ed Chau
Rising Sophomore at Scripps College

Amber Chong is currently undeclared and exploring her interests in Politics & Public Policy, Sociology, Psychology, and Media Studies. Amber attended Arcadia High School, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of The Apache Pow Wow, Publicity Commissioner for Gender Equity Movement, and Vice President of Peer Tutoring. She is very passionate about equity for people of all intersecting identities and hopes that by provoking thoughtful and constructive discourse, she can make the world a better place.

At Scripps she has maintained her interest in journalism by joining The Student Life newspaper: first as Copy Chief, editing articles that facilitate discussion within the Claremont Colleges, and currently as a TV columnist. Her work primarily focuses on critical media literacy, analyzing how television can transform perspectives on diversity, consent, masculinity, femininity, and more.

She also works part-time as a barista for the Motley Coffeehouse, a non-profit, student-run business that prides itself on social responsibility. As an active member of the team, Amber has participated in workplace inclusivity training and learned how to best perpetuate sustainable, ethical supply chains.

In the future, Amber hopes to combine her love of media (and its rapidly changing connection to local and global communities) with her wish to serve those underrepresented in government. She is curious to discover how infographics and captioned videos can be used to cross language barriers, even the dispersal of information, and make politics accessible to everyone.

Amber looks forward to interning at CAUSE Leadership Academy. She is very excited to learn about immigration policy, education reform, voter engagement, and other issues affecting the San Gabriel Valley. Most of all, she is grateful to share a space alongside future and current AAPI leaders, knowing inspiration will follow.

Amy Ho

Amy HO

Intern at the Office of Congressman Lou Correa
Rising Junior at the University of California, Los Angeles

Amy (Mỹ) Ho is a rising junior at the University of California, Los Angeles majoring in Political Science with a double minor in Global Studies and Public Affairs. She was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the USA at a young age with her family. She attended Garden Grove High School where she was the president of the Vietnamese Student Association and founded a book club that raised money to buy and donate books to local libraries.

 At UCLA she currently serves as a Legislative Advocate for the Undergraduate Students Association External Vice-President’s office, lobbying at the state and national level for higher education funding and other student-related issues. She is also the Campus Financial Advocacy Director under the Undergraduate Students Association Financial Supports Commission where she advocates for campus financial policies that are inclusive and supportive of low-income students. She is also involved in spaces that celebrate her Vietnamese identity, having participated in UCLA’s annual Vietnamese Culture Night, Black April Commemoration, as well as working as a staff member for UCLA’s Asian Pacific Coalition.

Outside of UCLA, Amy serves as a Young Professional Intern for the LA chapter of the United States National Committee for UN Women. Through her work with the UN Women, she advocates for gender equality and the end to violence against women. In the summer of 2018, Amy also worked as a law clerk at an immigration law firm, helping sexual assault survivors, undocumented immigrants, and asylum seekers fight for a home in America. 

Amy is passionate about public service and hopes to pursue a career in which she can serve underrepresented, minority, and low-income communities. She is passionate about equality and equity in education, gender equality, immigrant rights, and healthcare access.

Amy is excited to be serving as an intern for the CAUSE Leadership Academy. She is eager to learn and fight for policy issues that affect the Asian American, especially the Southeast Asian, community.

Angela Wang

Angela Wang 王安琪

Intern at IW Group
Rising Senior at the University of Southern California

Angela Wang is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and the Global Economy, with a minor in Web Technologies and Applications, and a master’s degree in Law Studies. She is a Presidential Scholar and Dean’s List member at USC. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she also lived for five years in Beijing, China and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

At school, Angela is a research associate in the USC Security and Political Economy Lab and participates in multiple research projects, such as analyzing online identity constructions for Facebook and compiling data on international diasporas. She is also the Managing Editor of US-China Today, a student-driven publication featuring topics on Sino-American trends, relations, and culture. Outside of her academic involvements, she is also a member of Chaotic 3, USC’s only competitive hip-hop dance team.

For the past semester, Angela has worked as a business development intern for Uma, a start-up company that aids women in transitioning back into the workforce after taking family-related career breaks. She helped increase the company’s social media presence and establish Uma’s branch in Los Angeles. The previous summer, Angela also interned in governmental communications in Taipei, Taiwan as a USC Global Fellow, where she gained valuable exposure to politics and public affairs in Eastern cultures.

In the future, Angela hopes to work in global education policy and communications. As someone who believes education is the most influential factor that can change a person’s life, she wants to increase opportunities and access to schooling across multiple levels. She is also passionate about and hopes to contribute to Asian American representation in media through her career endeavors.

Angela is incredibly excited to be participating in the CAUSE Leadership Academy this summer, and looks forward to gaining hands-on knowledge and experience about important issues facing the APA community.

Brandon Tabata

Brandon Tabata

Intern at Transparent Arts
Incoming Freshman at the University of California, Riverside

Brandon Tabata is an incoming freshman at University of California, Riverside and a graduate of Troy High School in Fullerton, California. He will be majoring in Mechanical Engineering at the Bourns College of Engineering.

Brandon is the first of his siblings to attend college and has been honored academic, community, and musical awards including Principal Honor Roll, OC Spirit of Volunteerism, and the John Sousa Philip Award.

In addition to being a full-time student, Brandon currently serves as the Youth Advisor for Youth Leadership America, YLA, mentoring the youth board directors on professional development and the process of running leadership programs for high school students across Southern California. He previously served as one of the executive board directors and an associate of the YLA Program.

Outside of his work, Brandon enjoys passing time performing on the Trombone in music groups both in and out of school. He is most involved in Troy’s music program having founded the Troy Trombone Ensemble and served as the Trombone and Baritone Section Leader. 

In the future, Brandon plans on using his education in engineering to help innovate and invent solutions for worldwide issues. In addition, Brandon aspires to provide and inspire the youth in his own leadership program focused on community service.

Brandon is looking forward to the next nine weeks at the CAUSE Leadership Academy. He is most excited to meet his cohort and learn how his colleagues are tackling Asian Pacific American issues in their own communities.

Lena Nguyen

Lena Nguyen

Intern at Southern California Gas Company
Rising Junior at the University of California, Los Angeles

Lena Nguyen is studying at the University of California, Los Angeles as a double major in Communications and Political Science. Lena is a first- generation student born in Saigon, Vietnam, and raised in Redlands, California.

In high school, she was the Captain of the Speech and Debate and Mock Trial programs. Through her passion for debate and world politics, she joined the Model United Nations team at UCLA, which is highly ranked on the national circuit. Lena was the Under-Secretary General for BruinMUN, UCLA’s annual high school conference with over a thousand students competing from all over the world.

At UCLA, Lena is also an Opinion Columnist for the Daily Bruin and a News Contributor for Campus Politics coverage. Lena is the Director of Networking Night for the Undergraduate Communications Association, where she plans career development panels and workshops for students in the department. She works as a Media Assistant for the Anderson School of Business in addition to being an intern for UCLA Federal Relations. Lena has also interned with the Gavin Newsom for Governor campaign in the past. Through learning about government at the local, state, and national level, she is interested in the dynamic between public policy and media. She plans on attending law school after her undergraduate degree to pursue Constitutional or media law.  Lena hopes to work towards further safeguarding our democracy through the protection of civil rights, liberties, and free speech in the United States.

Lena is thrilled to participate in the CAUSE Leadership Academy and is looking forward to learning about representation and political engagement in the Asian American community.

Maamaloa Loumaile Finau

Maamaloa Finau

Intern at Los Angeles Walks
Rising Junior at Pierce College

Maamaloa Loumaile Finau is a junior at Pierce College and plans on majoring in Political Science. She is a first-generation college student. Her parents came from a small island in the South Pacific called Tonga. Maamaloa graduated with Honors from Monroe High school in the Law and Government Magnet Program. However, before high school, she struck interest in law from seeing her older sister compete in Mock trial and Speech and Debate. Once it was Maamaloa’s turn to enter high school, she joined both as well. Being in the Law and Government program gave her the basic information of law and how the government works, but being in Mock trial allowed her to put the information into practice and gave the opportunity to do a simulation of what actually happens in a real court of law for civil and criminal cases.  

At Pierce College, she participated as the Chairman of the Young Democrats Club and the Club Representative of the Communications Club. Along with being a student, she has volunteered with CAUSE in several events and continues to go back to her former high school to help coach students in both the Mock trial and Speech and Debate team. Maamaloa sees the importance of being active in local government and plans to continue to do so no matter what career change that may occur in her future.

Maamaloa is excited to join CAUSE for their internship this year. As a member of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community, but never growing up around many with the exception of her family, she is happy to be a part of a cohort that recognizes her. In being a part in this program she hopes to be an example for others, especially the Pacific Islander community, and learn how to reach out to those that do not believe that their voice matters or has any effect.         

Matthew Lee

Matthew Lee

Intern at the Office of Congresswoman Judy Chu
Rising Senior at the University of Southern California

Matthew is a rising senior at the University of Southern California with plans to get a B.A. in Communication at Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, and a minor in Communication Design at Roski School of Art and Design. He also is a progressive degree student getting a Masters of Studies in Law at Gould School of Law. Matthew began his passion for service in high school as an active member in student government and as a Boy Scout where he eventually became an Eagle Scout.

At USC, Matthew acts as the Director of Media for Trojan Shelter – a nonprofit organization with a mission to house housing insecure college students – and as the Director of Media and Communication for Trojan Advocates for Political Progress. In both roles he is in charge of its social media, newsletters, blogs, graphics, videos, and any other media projects. Matthew is experienced in social and political graphic design. He intersects his knowledge of social issues with skills such as typography and hierarchy to create powerful messages.

Matthew has oriented his education around communicating complex social issues. As a communication scholar, he studies issues such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and whiteness in order to create effective multi-media messages to his target audience. He has written for publications like Inheritance Media and Annenberg Media – South Los Angeles.

His goals as a communicator and content creator in his roles and his education is to challenge his audiences to think critically, especially with topics, such as: criminal justice, homelessness, hate speech, and the wealth gap.

His dreams are to run the campaign for the first Asian American female US president, make a documentary about our current welfare system, and eventually move to DC where he is interested in doing communications for progressive think tanks.

He loves watching TV and movies and is always looking for social commentary when watching. In his free time, he practices design and calligraphy and loves cooking with friends.

Matthew is looking forward to his summer with CAUSE. It excites him to not only have experience in an internship, but to develop leadership skills and connections that will help catalyze social change within his community.

Maya Wong

Maya Wong 楊小頌

Intern at East West Players
Rising Sophomore at the University of California, Merced

Born in Guilin, Guangxi, PRC, Maya Wong is a rising sophomore at the University of California, Merced currently majoring in Human Biology with a Natural Science Education Minor with Teaching Credentials (NSEC). She is the proud daughter of a single-mother, Chinese-American woman who has worked over four jobs simultaneously in her past simply to make ends meet. In the Fall of 2018, Maya founded the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) chapter at UCM; she hopes that within her term, she will be able to unify the Asian communities at UCM as well as support the Merced community through healthcare education events and advocacy efforts. In addition, she aims to initiate or establish an Asian Cultural Center within her college career.

Soon after starting her organization, Maya became very involved within her campus: as a Law Clerk for UCM’s Law Clinic as well as UC Relations and Marketing Committee member, Interclub Council (ICC) Delegate for ASUCM (Associated Student of UCM), ASUCM Campus Activity Board VIP, etc., she has participated in the many aspects of her university. Additionally, she is an intern for the Primary Care Institute at UCM, collecting information on local clinics and provider value props.

Outside of UCM, Maya is a proud member of the California Immigration Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA) Central Valley Coalition; moreover, she is a committee member for APAMSA’s Annual Hepatitis B/C Conference, and is a part of the advocacy team for APAMSA’s Public Health Branch. Furthermore, she serves as an editor for Overachiever Magazine -- a digital magazine that highlights the Asian community and break down the stereotypes formed around us. Additionally, the Campus Leader for the University of California Advocacy Network, and aims to redefine what it means to be an advocate during her term.

Maya has been selected to be a part of UCDC Fall 2019 Program, which is a select group of UC and other University students who are given the opportunity to intern in Washington, D.C. to an institution of their choice while completing units and living at the UCDC Center. She also plans on studying abroad at Hong Kong University from January to May, focusing on learning more about Eastern Medicine. She is looking forward to helping tackle the healthcare issues and emphasizing the importance of activism from the APIA community.

In the future, she hopes to stay socially engaged within the political system while being either a family physician or chiropractor, educating her community on Eastern Medicine and the healthcare system. She hopes that throughout her lifetime, she will continue to see Chinatown as a place of safe haven for the Chinese community and the beginning of their American Dream.

Nina Long

Nina Long

Intern at EV Connect
Rising Junior at the University of California, Los Angeles

Nina Long is a member of the Class of 2021 at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a major in Public Affairs in the Luskin School of Public Affairs and a minor in Asian American Studies. She is born and raised in Tustin, California, located in the heart of Orange County.

 At UCLA, Nina currently serves as the Internship Director of the Undergraduate Student Association Council’s Office of the External Vice President.

Previously, she served as a Fellow and Legislative Advocate in the Office of the External Vice President. In student government, Nina has gained experience in local, state, and federal organizing and advocacy for student interests.

Nina is a proud Vietnamese American and serves as an Outreach Coordinator for UCLA’s annual Southeast Asian Admit Weekend. As part of an community facing deep educational, health, and income disparities, she hopes to empower Southeast Asians and provide support and retention resources for incoming students. 

Outside of UCLA, Nina is a Planning and Field Intern for Los Angeles City Council District 11, representing the Westside. In this role, she has gained insight into the processes of city planning and the workings of local government. Nina has previously interned for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles in Outreach and Sex Education capacities.

Following graduation from UCLA, Nina hopes to earn a dual master’s degree in Public Health and Urban Planning. She is passionate about the intersections of environmental justice, housing, transportation, and health in marginalized communities and seeks to engage with these issues in a public service role in the future.

Nina is thrilled to be a part of the CAUSE Leadership Academy in Summer 2019. As a Southern California native, she is looking forward to innovating progressive policy solutions to the unique challenges we face in Los Angeles.

Olivia Dulai2.jpg

Olivia Dulai

Intern at the Office of Senator Ben Allen
Rising Sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley

Olivia Dulai is a rising sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley who intends to major in Political Science with a minor in Conservation and Resource Studies. She has been awarded the National Charity League Yellow Rosebud Award as well as the gold and bronze President’s Volunteer Service Award. Olivia attended Chadwick School where she got her start in activism and organizing as the founder of Creative Corner, a non-profit that aims to bridge the gap in arts education for youth who need it most.

At Berkeley, Olivia is currently working to expand her own skills and empower her community through on-campus organizations. Olivia is involved with UCB OWN IT, a club dedicated to bridging the gap between millennial women and the leaders they admire, and is currently organizing a summit on women’s empowerment for Berkeley students. She is also currently serving in the office of ASUC Senator Zach Carter, whose platforms including SVSH education and resources as well as advocating for students with disabilities. In addition to her work with Senator Carter, Olivia is working on campaigning for Senate candidate Rocky Gerosa. Olivia has previously worked in the YWCA Advocacy Internship where she garnered necessary skills for grassroots organizing and lobbying.

In the future, Olivia hopes to attend law school in the hope of pursuing a career in law or public service. Her passions for social justice and equity, the arts, and environmental justice will certainly influence the career path she chooses.

Olivia is thrilled to be joining the CAUSE Leadership Academy, and she is looking to work firsthand to enact change regarding the issues that affect the Asian American community.

Shekinah Deocares

Shekinah Deocares

Intern at Pilipino Workers Center (PWC)
Graduating Senior of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Shekinah Deocares recently graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in March 2019 with a B.A. in Political Science, a concentration in Business Politics and Law, and a minor in Ethics, Public Policy, Science and Technology. Her studies at Cal Poly have developed and affirmed her interest in the intersection between law, technology, education, and social justice.

During her time at Cal Poly, Shekinah established herself as a leader in the pre-law community on campus. Shekinah is a founding member of the pre-law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta, at Cal Poly and served as the marketing and philanthropy chair for two years. During her third year, she joined Cal Poly’s Mock Trial team with no prior experience and within one year became the captain of their most competitive team, A-Team, and a member of the executive board. Off campus, Shekinah pursued her interest in law by interning at Van Nuys Superior Court’s free legal aid clinic. There she was able to serve her local community by guiding self-represented litigants through legal processes concerning family law and evictions.

Shekinah has also been able to pursue her interest in education and technology while at Cal Poly. She has taken part of several marketing projects including creating the campaign website for Cal Poly’s current ASI President. She has also had the opportunity to mentor low-income and first-generation students that are new to Cal Poly to help them navigate their academic and personal life in college. This experience has been especially meaningful to Shekinah as a first-generation college student herself. Shekinah’s passion for education and increased opportunity for students from diverse backgrounds prompted her to work with elementary and middle school students in San Luis Obispo county after school to encourage the pursuit of their own interests and make futures in STEM more accessible.

Now that she has graduated, Shekinah is exploring her different areas of interest before attending law school in fall of 2020. She is motivated by her goal to use the law to better equip her community with resources to empower themselves and to better understand and solve societal issues. Shekinah is excited to be a part of the CAUSE Leadership Academy and see how this experience can help her in achieving her goal and supporting the Asian American community in her own city. 

ShuMin He

Shumin He

Intern at the Office of State Treasurer Fiona Ma
Graduating Senior of Haverford College

ShuMin He is a recent graduate of Haverford College majoring in Anthropology. She is a first-generation college student who received the QuestBridge National College Match scholarship to attend college. Shu was born and raised in Fujian, China and immigrated to the United States at the age of 13. Her three younger siblings live with her parents in Queens, NY.

Shu’s academic interest centers around the marginalization of underrepresented communities, especially immigrants and low-income communities. Her senior thesis was inspired by the Chinese railroad workers who worked on the transcontinental railroad, that she felt did not get fair visibility in the United States’ history. Her thesis examines the spatial formation of the Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park by comparing it with other reconciliation parks and draws conclusions about the place of Chinese laborers in the United States’ history.

Her interest in the representation of the APA community started in high school when she was a mentee at the Apex for Youth’s mentoring program. Realizing the lack of space for APA students at Haverford’s campus, Shu joined a group of students in advocating for a space during freshman year in college. After successfully petitioning for the Pan Asian Resource Center at Haverford College, Shu was the co-president for the center for one year and as a senior, Shu served as a senior advisor.

Since last summer, Shu has been interning as a refugee resettlement intern at HIAS Pennsylvania, which provides legal, resettlement and supportive services to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers at free or low cost. Shu enjoys helping refugees access resources and getting them culturally oriented in the U.S. In the future she plans on advocating for policies that aim to uplift underserved communities.

Shu looks forward to learning about policies that affect the APA community and getting to know CAUSE interns and staff who are passionate about the political representation of the community.

Thanh Mai

Thanh Mai

Intern at the Office of Congressmember Grace Napolitano
Incoming Freshman at the University of California, Los Angeles

Thanh Mai will be studying at the University of California, Los Angeles as a Psychology major. Thanh has spent the majority of her high school years involved with the Student Advocates for Voter Empowerment Club on campus. She previously served as Treasurer, and currently serves as Vice President, determined to teach students how to register to vote and educate them on current political issues.

Her endeavors to be civically engaged continued outside of school as well. Thanh was on the Executive Board of the Arsalyn Youth Forums for all four years of her high school life. With a mission to promote youth civic engagement, Thanh joined this non-profit organization in hopes to be more educated and involved, serving as a Delegate, Secretary, Deputy Governor, and climbing to her current position as the Executive Board Governor.

In addition to these activities, Thanh has been involved in Key Club International, a non-profit organization for high school students to participate in community service. Thanh has volunteered her time to support awareness walks and work with soup kitchens or wheelchair washes. She is also a dedicated singer in both her church and school choir. As a part of the advanced Rosemead Chamber Choir, she spends hours after school to rehearse both choral and pop music.

Thanh’s future plans include studying psychology and legal studies to continue her passion for promoting civic engagement in our society. She is eager to participate in the CAUSE Leadership Academy, hoping to meet new people and develop skills she can use as she begins college and enters a new chapter of her life. 

Yanqing Lei

Yanqing Lei 雷艳卿

Intern at CAUSE
Incoming Freshman at Wellesley College 

Yanqing Lei will be studying at Wellesley College in the fall and intends to major in Political Science and Gender Studies. She is a first-generation college student.

Yanqing and her family came to the United States 5 years ago when she was 12 for better opportunities, yet it has been a struggle for her and her family. In order to support her family financially, Yanqing found a part-time job selling souvenirs and clothes to tourists in her neighborhood. At her part-time job, her employer looked down on her because of her limited English skills, but Yanqing did not let these obstacles strike her down, and was determined to find a better job after she has a good education.

Yanqing has witnessed and experienced new immigrants working insecure jobs and being underpaid. Her experiences drove her to study Public Policy and Political Science in college. She believed college will equip her with the power and knowledge needed to protect immigrants’ rights. She hopes to create laws and policies that protect immigrants’ working rights so that no immigrants will be paid under-waged and not have insurance.

Last summer, Yanqing worked as a summer intern at Munger Tolles and Olson. She met with lawyers who are changing people’s lives and she wants to be part of them. She believes becoming a lawyer will allow her to have a voice for the underrepresented people, like her mom.

Yanqing is extremely excited to be interning at the CAUSE Leadership Academy. She is looking forward to meeting with leaders, policymakers, and students who have the will of making a world a better place. She wants to learn how to create laws and policies to fight for better opportunities for underrepresented people.