31 ILF Fellows Unveiled Recommendations for Six Topics


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Leadership Foundation (ILF) was pleased to host its inaugural Emerging Leaders Policy Forum this past Thursday, July 20, 2017 at the Capital Hilton from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. After Fellows gave their presentations, Dr. Paul Hsu, ILF Chairman, and Mayor Lily Mei, of Fremont, CA, gave special remarks encouraging the Fellows to pursue their dreams and keep developing their leadership and technical skills. The event was attended by 100 people including ILF advisors, federal supervisors, as well as non-governmental industry leaders.

Fellows presented on the following topics:

  1. “Promoting the Economic Development of Minority Business Enterprises Through Increased Access to Federal Resources”
  2. “Funding Arts Education”
  3. “Menstrual Equity Today & Tomorrow (METT)”
  4. “U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): National Heat Wave Strategy”
  5. “Literacy & Multilingual Education for Native American Students”
  6. “A Patent System for the 21st Century”

Patricia Choi, Michael Chang, Preston Huang, Sophia He, Hana Kim, and Megha Torpunuri presented on “Promoting the Economic Development of Minority Business Enterprises Through Increased Access to Federal Resources.” The main problem they presented is that Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) do not readily have access to capital and the dollar value of contracts awarded to MBEs is proportionally low for the number of available MBE out there. By implementing a feedback system (especially feedback for rejected proposals), Choi & group argued that MBEs will achieve a higher success rate by learning from and incorporating feedback to make better proposals and thus obtain more grant money.

Kathryn Jian, Heidi Hsiao, Brian Le, Kion You, and Jinchen Zou presented on “Funding Arts Education.” They advocated shifting our educational focus from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) majors and curricula to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) majors and curricula. Jian and group presented relevant data from research that suggested students in secondary education programs who are active in the arts are more likely to obtain gainful employment, earn a college degree, and volunteer in their community than their non-active in the arts peers. By partnering with organizations like Americans for the Arts, Jian and group believe they can offer local arts workshops at local libraries and community centers that teach relevant skills to students like graphic design and music production.

Na-Yeon Park, Trenton Chang, So Jung Kim, Benjamin Soong, and Vaimalu Vaiau presented on “Menstrual Equity Today & Tomorrow (METT).” Non-governmental organizations and foreign governments are spearheading efforts in achieving gender equality through menstrual education and access to resources. However, there is much work to done in the United States to normalize this natural, physiological phenomenon and prioritize health of menstruating individuals. After conducting a multi-faceted policy analysis and interviewing grassroots parties and nongovernmental organizations, Park and group proposed a preliminary federal policy intervention through education: (1) curricula guidelines for menstrual education, (2) implementation through state education authorities, and (3) regular mandated data collection.

Madison Schumacher, Joy Chiu, Natasha Cox, Rebecca Wang, and Sean Liu presented on “U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): National Heat Wave Strategy.” Heat waves can be defined as three days of over 90° F temperatures. Given that heat waves are expected to increase dramatically and how they contribute to detrimental effects ranging from poor air quality to hindering food production, Schumacher and group proposed a “New National Strategy” whereby the EPA’s ten regional offices would provide raw data to the EPA’s Headquarters (HQ) here in D.C. and EPA HQ would then assess and make recommendations specific to each region’s specific situation and available resources. Each region would then implement the best recommendations over a ten-year period.

Jin-Mi Sohn, Angela He, Arria Lakha, Ryan Lee, and Neha Manu presented on “Literacy & Multilingual Education for Native American Students.” They recognized how, even within the minority community, Native Americans are still among the most neglected group when it comes to areas like education. To address this educational negligence, Sohn and group proposed a two-fold strategy: 1) curriculum improvements and 2) community engagement. By encouraging teacher autonomy, offering more generous grants, and launching public awareness campaigns, Sohn and group believe the government, the general public, and other stakeholders can all cooperate together in providing more educational opportunities and improvements for Native Americans.

Hank Wu, Sean Gu, Yijun “Tom” Feng, Kevin Yen, and Alexander Li presented on “A Patent System for the 21st Century.” The main problem they suggested was that “patent trolls” (people who only litigate to make a quick buck) were ruining the patent system and hindering innovational progress. Wu and group proposed simple steps like having the burden of legal fees fall on the plaintiffs (prosecutors) so that “patent trolls” would be financially deterred from engaging in numerous lawsuits. Furthermore, by having a small, more specific scope for what is exactly patentable will provide less “wiggle room” for “patent trolls” to operate under. By updating guidelines and rules, Wu and group believe America can disincentive “patent trolling” and protect legitimate, intellectual property.

This year’s cohort is comprised of 31 astute and ethnically diverse students from over 19 distinguished colleges and universities across the nation. The Fellows will intern across 25 offices within nine federal agencies and four offices at the U.S. Congress. Towards the end of the summer, each Fellow will have served an 8-week tour of duty and will have participated in a variety of educational seminars to develop a deeper understanding of public service and policy.

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.

Founded in 2000, the International Leadership Foundation (ILF) has promoted the civic awareness, public service, and economic prosperity of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community as a non-profit organization. ILF cultivates young leaders in the United States, Asia, and Pacific Rim countries in various professional fields especially in public affairs through support from ILF’s own national network of business and community leaders across 15 cities in the U.S. and abroad. For more information on ILF and the Civic Fellowship Program, please visit