American Samoa Community College (ASCC) student Ms. Vaimalu Vaiau recently received word of her acceptance to a 10-week summer internship in Washington D.C. with the national organization Asian Pacific American Advocates, which goes by the acronym OCA. Ms. Vaiau’s internship begins in early June and will last until mid-August. OCA will cover her travel expenses and also provide her with a stipend during the internship.
Ms. Vaiau, 24, resides in Alofau and is the daughter of Mr. Kitara and Eteuise Vaiau. A Political Science major at ASCC, Vaimalu is the current President of the Student Government Association, as well as a member of the Alpha Epsilon Mu chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. This trip to Washington D.C. will actually be her second occasion of employment in the nation’s capital. In 2010, while still attending Fagaitua High School, Ms. Vaiau spent the summer as a Congressional page, having been recommended for the internship by former Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin. Ms. Vaiau hopes to ultimately become a lawyer.
Founded in 1973, OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national membership driven organization dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans, touching tens of thousands of individuals each year through its extensive network of over 100 chapters, affiliates, and partners from around the country. In addition, the organization strives to foster development, leadership, and engagement through its various programs. Being headquartered in Washington, D.C. gives the OCA National Center an effective vantage point for monitoring legislation and policy issues affecting Asian Pacific Americans.
The OCA internship program aims to cultivate future leadership for the Asian Pacific American (APA) community by providing opportunities for participants to work in the public sector and learn about issues affecting APAs. While placed in various governmental and partner organizations, including non-profit organizations and corporations, interns learn to build relationships, meet with legislative officials, and engage in weekly leadership development workshops.
“We are very excited and happy for Ms.Vaiau achieving such a great milestone,” said ASCC Social Science instructor Mrs. Lilian Temese, who assisted her with the scholarship application process. “We hope that such rare opportunities will continue to be available for future Political Science students here at ASCC.”