Leadership Academy logo 2017

The CAUSE Leadership Academy (CLA), is a nine-week paid internship program for college undergraduates that prepares the next generation to lead and represent the Asian Pacific American (APA) community.


Classes of interns

Join a network of 25 years of intern classes. Graduates of this program have gone on to run for political office and become leaders in politics, business, and nonprofits.

Full-Time 9 Week Internship Program

Each intern commits to and receives a full-time internship experience (minimum 40 hours per week) from June 17, 2019 – August 16, 2019. Additional hours to work on a group project will also be required.


Each intern receives a $2,000 stipend upon satisfactory completion of the program. The stipend will serve as reimbursement for expenses accrued throughout the program’s duration. Limited additional support is made available on a case-by-case basis.


Founded in 1991 as the California Asian American Student Internship Coalition (CASIC), CLA’s goal is to develop a pipeline of civic leadership for the APA community. As the fastest growing community in the United States, it is key that representation and leadership in the public, private, and non-profit sectors keep pace with our country’s changing demographics.

Program components provide the knowledge and insight needed for interns to understand the roots of the APA community’s strengths and challenges. Thanks to CAUSE’s reputation for selecting the most promising future leaders, our community’s most respected leaders and institutions provide CLA students with access to a wide range of resources and opportunities. Students are also encouraged to connect with the leaders they meet each week to build their community and strengthen their networks.


Through CLA, students are exposed to thought leaders, policymakers, and the issues of the day. Interns gain a deeper awareness of the civic issues facing the APA community in California. By the program’s end, students will have an understanding of how to engage in the politics of the day to affect the change they want to see in the world. Graduates of this program have gone on to run for political office and become leaders in politics, business, and nonprofits.

Program Components

Monday: Civic Leadership Workshops

Tuesday – Thursday: Internship Placement

Friday: Networking Meetings

Internship Experience

Participants are placed in an office in one of three tracks of internship placements in the public, private, or non-profit sectors to work with community and civic leaders of Southern California. Students gain firsthand political experience and learn more about the civic process. CLA participants work closely with professionals in their office to build strong community relations, and they may be given other responsibilities and projects that help shape current day policies.

Civic Leadership Workshops

Interns will participate in civic leadership workshops to develop a greater understanding of the APA community’s historical experience and insight into current political issues. The civic leadership workshops also help students develop key professional and leadership skills needed for future community leadership. Workshops are hosted at local organizations so that students can better connect with the community. Speakers include elected officials, political consultants and lobbyists, and corporate and non-profit leaders.

Voter Engagement Project

Each CLA cohort works together to complete a project to civically empower the APA community. Students gain professional experience in achieving their project goals with guidance from CAUSE staff. Project results are presented to the CAUSE Board of Directors, community members, media, and the general public. Students learn the importance of community organizing as well as the work that goes into it.

Annual Capitol Summit

Students participate in an annual summit at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. During this two-day overnight trip, students meet with top legislators, staffers, and lobbyists within CAUSE’s network to better understand the political process and their role in it.

Important Dates & Deadlines

Event Date
Application Opens Tuesday, October 5, 2018
Application Closes Thursday, February 28, 2019
Candidate Interviews Skype: Tuesday, March 11, 2019 – Friday, March 15, 2019
In-Person: Saturday, March 16, 2019
Orientation Week Monday, June 17, 2019 – Thursday, June 20, 2019
Kickoff Press Conference Friday, June 21, 2019
Annual Capitol Summit Monday, July 8, 2019 – Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Graduation Friday, August 16, 2019

Meet the 2018 Interns

Andy Bui

Andy Bui

Graduating Senior from University of California, Los Angeles

Intern at the Office of County Supervisor Hilda Solis

Benjamin Tran

Benjamin Tran 陈嘉花

Graduating Senior from University of California, Irvine

Intern at the Office of State Treasurer John Chiang

Christine Tran

Christine Tran

Rising Junior at University of California, Los Angeles

Intern at API Forward Movement

Hesu Song

Hesu Song 송해수

Rising Sophomore at Johns Hopkins University

Intern at the Office of Congressmember Jimmy Gomez

Jae Jin Lee

Jae Jin Lee 이재진

Rising Freshman at the University of California, Los Angeles

Intern at the Office of Congressmember Judy Chu

Jenny Feng

Jenny Feng 馮佳瑜

Rising Senior at the University of California Berkeley

Intern at Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA)

Jocelyn Chi

Jocelyn Chi 季珏汝

Rising Sophomore at Santa Clara University

Intern at the Office of Senator Ed Hernandez

Joradn Agricula

Jordan Agricula

Rising Junior at Wesleyan University

Intern at the Office of Congressmember Grace Napolitano

Katherine Hsuo

Katherine Hsu 许子凌

Rising Sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania

Intern at the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Leann Pham

Leann Pham Thuy-Huong Thai

Rising Senior at the University of California, Los Angeles

Intern at Nakatomi & Associates

Pranett Chhunpen

Pranett Chhunpen

Graduating Senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills

Intern at Imprenta Communications Group

Yumei Lin

Yumei Lin 林宇玫

Rising Freshman at Tufts University

Intern at the Office of Assemblymember Miguel Santiago

Alumni Spotlight

  • "Through the Leadership Academy and all its wonderful opportunities--from our legislative internship placement, to our weekly forums with respected civic leaders, to our legislative conference in Sacramento, and our group project, my passion for politics only continued to blossom."

    Kristie Sham Student at UC Berkeley, CLA Class of 2015
  • "I witnessed how great leaders work tirelessly together in order to find solutions that ultimately benefit society at large. This is something that I take away with me as I lead my student body at USC."

    Edwin Saucedo USC Student Body President, CLA Class of 2014 & 2016