2018 ILF Civic Fellows Descend On Washington



23 ILF Fellows to Intern at 19 Federal and Congressional Offices for Summer 2018


2018 ILF Civic Fellowship Orientation, Fellows with Leadership Team in the front row; L. Program Director Evelynn Bui; Founding President Chiling Tong; Executive Director Soo Kyung Koo.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Leadership Foundation (ILF) was pleased to welcome the 2018 cohort of Fellows at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center during the ILF Civic Fellowship Program Orientation Saturday, June 2nd. The Fellows were welcomed by the ILF Executive Leadership Team with Founding President Chiling Tong.

This year’s cohort is comprised of 23 diverse and ambitious students from 19 distinguished universities across the nation. The Fellows will intern across 19 offices within seven head federal agencies and three Congressional offices within both the House and Senate sides. Each Fellow will serve a minimum 8-week tour of duty and participate in educational seminars and professional training to develop a deeper understanding of public service and policy. This year, ILF also host workshops with federal government and private partners such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Since 2000, ILF has educated over 7,000 students locally, nationally, and globally through its unique programs, workshops, seminars, and conferences. Started with just six Fellows, the ILF Civic Fellowship program has since grown and provided internship placements and scholarships to 500 alumni, with approximately 30 students in every summer class. Along with its yearly commitments to managing and enhancing the Fellowship Program, ILF has maintained its partnership with other leading D.C. Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) organizations, sponsoring another 120 college students in similar leadership training programs. The strength of the Civic Fellowship Program continues to affirm ILF’s mission in facilitating AANHPI leadership development and its constitutive presence among the sweeping changes occurring across the U.S. and the world.

2018 Civic Fellow Stanley Shaw, fourth from the left in the front row, speaks to an attentive room of his peers in response to a question posed by Founding President Chiling Tong (L).

“It all begins with the Fellows,” notes ILF Program Director Evelynn Bui. The Fellows create an exemplary Civic Fellowship Program due to their tireless dedication to service, growth in leadership, and championing advocacy and inclusion above all. ILF Executive Director Soo Kyung Koo (具秀慶) shared her excitement for the upcoming class, stating “the ILF Civic Fellowship program aims to build a pipeline of emerging young leaders who are civic-minded and community-focused.” Furthermore, the longevity of ILF can be attributed to the array of passions the Fellows pursue. This year’s Fellows interests range in careers in public service pertaining to education, social change, health policy, environmental law, and others. ILF is a platform for them to pursue their interests, gain a unique deeper insight into the inner workings of government, as well as an opportunity for Fellows to learn more about themselves and leverage the experience and insight of those around them.

Fellow JoAnn Jung (정주원) from Wellesley College, was initially drawn to take part in the Civic Fellow Program, because she was “motivated to join a movement that seeks to empower Asian-Americans to pursue leadership not merely to obtain a seat at the table in federal agencies, but so that they can actively participate in a multicultural democracy in an interconnected world.” She previously had the privilege of researching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she realized that “in so many of the public sectors, particularly in education, Asian-American voices in decision-making are treated as futile, thus often neglected.” Therefore, through the fellowship, she hopes to “gain insight into the inner-workings of government agencies and strengthen [her] understanding of federal sectors at large by actively engaging in dialogues with [her] colleagues at [her] internship” with the office of International and Foreign Language Education at the U.S. Department of Education “as well as the civic fellows.” When asked what she hopes to contribute to ILF and the community at large, she said, “Asian Americans play a critical role in weaving the United States’ social and economic fabric, and I hope to strengthen my community’s voice for the duration of this fellowship and onward, by bringing the things I have learned in the past and in my internship to the ILF fellows and government officials.”

2018 Civic Fellow Jaime Martin Atilano (standing) speaks passionately about his interests and ambitions to his peers.

Fellows also utilize their diverse professional and personal experiences to better serve the community. Fellow Jaime Martin Ko Atilano from the University of Maryland College Park is utilizing his background in Economics/Business Marketing, LGBT Studies, and his experiences as an immigrant to become a better champion for others. He immigrated from the Philippines, and he wants to “contribute that background, as well as the message that Asian American immigrants can become political leaders, and that they shouldn’t be afraid to push for change.” He hopes to “use [his] skills to positively influence the right narrative and market better public policy changes to create effective change and impact to our communities.” This to him means “encouraging private and public sectors to be more socially conscious and take action against the injustices of society.”

The Civic Fellow Program also offers an opportunity for Fellows to gain a deeper insight into their future career paths by offering a unique opportunity to shadow those at the forefront of their careers. Fellow Isaac Kim from Brown University, who is going to be doing Brown’s MD/PhD Program this fall knows that he wants to go into academia and become a physician-scientist. However, he is also thinking about twenty or thirty years down the line, and what “bigger impact outside of medicine” he wants to make. Therefore, he found ILF to be a “good program that would show [him] what being in policy making is like” and “what kind of career [he wanted] to lead down the road.” He will be interning with HRSA as part of the Department of Health and Human Services, and later interning with Senator Tim Scott. Potentially in the future, he wants to “work towards becoming a public health official, or an appointee in the Department of Human Services, or running for an office focusing on health.”

In addition to providing unique fellowship opportunities, ILF is comprised of a coalition of leaders dedicated to providing their insight and experience to Fellows. During orientation, Founding President Chiling Tong spoke on her experience building successful networks, and how her ability to build lasting relationships provided her “the ability to offer an option that would otherwise not have been available” during a tense situation. This resonated with Stanley Shaw from the University of California, Berkley who has a “strongly vested interest in the public sector, and [wants to] eventually work in the public sector within the field of environmental law.” To Stanley, the concept of networking as an alliance was a new notion for him. As he faces the summer, Stanley said, “The ILF orientation also reminded the other fellows and me that what we have to gain from our experience this summer is completely up to us. As Ms. Chiling Tong put it, we have total “ownership and agency” over our actions here in the nations so we only get from the program as much as we put in. Those are words that I will strive to live by for these coming weeks.”

About ILF

The International Leadership Foundation (ILF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that promotes the civic engagement, leadership empowerment, and economic prosperity of the Asian Pacific American (APA, including Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders) community to enhance the representation of diversity in our country. Our mission is to develop young leaders in the United States, Asia, and Pacific Rim countries in the fields of public service, entrepreneurship, and international business and politics through a network of business and community leaders. Our mission is accomplished through civic leadership training and support from the ILF’s network of 15 national and global advisory boards. Since 2000, ILF has provided scholarships and educational programs (ILF Civic Fellowship program, Young Ambassadors program, Youth Leadership Academy/Workshop) to over 7,000 students to cultivate the next generation of emerging leaders.

  1. Ha, Albert; Boston College, U.S. Department of Transportation
  2. Lin, Louis; University of Pennsylvania, U.S. Department of Transportation
  3. Nguyen-Phan, Drew; Virginia Tech, U.S. Department of Transportation
  4. Warner, Daniel; University of Michigan, U.S. Department of Transportation
  5. Jung, JoAnn; Wellesley College, U.S. Department of Education
  6. Andukuri, Manjula; The University of Texas at Austin, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  7. Lee, Dorothy; Rutgers University, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  8. Shaw, Stanley; University of California, Berkeley, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  9. Su, Rachel; Vanderbilt University, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  10. Chen, Monica; Brandeis University, U.S. Department of Human and Health Services
  11. Han, Kevin; University of Virginia, U.S. Department of Human and Health Services
  12. Khalfay, Nuha; University of California, Berkeley, U.S. Department of Human and Health Services
  13. Kim, Isaac; Brown University, U.S. Department of Human and Health Services
  14. Li, Jessica; Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and Sciences Po, U.S. Department of Human and Health Services
  15. Liu, Emerson; Georgetown University, U.S. House of Representatives
  16. Jiao, Lena; London School of Economics and Political Science, U.S. Department of Commerce
  17. Wang, Casey; Georgetown University, U.S. Department of Commerce
  18. Chang, Kristen; Wellesley College, U.S. Department of Commerce
  19. Wu, Angela; Princeton University, U.S. Senate
  20. Wiederkehr, Alexander; Purdue University, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  21. Castillo, Charles; American University, U.S. Agency for International Development
  22. Sun, Cynthia; Georgetown University, U.S. Agency for International Development
  23. Atilano, Jaime Martin; University of Maryland College Park, U.S. Department of Agriculture