Empowering Communities: Congratulations to the 2015 Leadership In Action Interns

On August 7, 2015, LEAP completed its 18th Annual Leadership In Action (LIA) summer internship program. Leadership In Action is an eight-week paid summer internship program designed to develop emerging young leaders by providing college students with practical leadership skills and the opportunity to work hands-on in the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community in Southern California. Selected interns are placed at their assigned community based organization for 4 days out of the week and 1 day at LEAP for leadership development.  The graduation was held at Search to Involve Pilipino Americans in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles, and attended by over 70 people which included intern supervisors, family, friends, and LEAP sponsors. 

This year’s nine participants are:

      • Ronia Auelua from the University of Hawaii (Placement: Empowering Pacific Islander Communities);
      • Trisha Hongcharti from the University of Virginia (Placement: Teach for America - Asian American Pacific Islander Initiative);
      • Andrew Hua from the University of California, San Diego (Placement: API Equality -- Los Angeles);
      • Avalon Igawa from the University of Southern California (Placement: East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center);
      • Nathan Lee from Loyola Marymount University (Placement: API Obesity Prevention Alliance);
      • Johnson Nguyen from the University of Washington (Placement: Japanese American Citizens League -- Pacific Southwest);
      • Jimmy Tang from American University (Placement: Asian Youth Center);
      • Maikoau Vang from the University of Wisconsin - Madison (Placement: Koreatown Youth and Community Center); and
      • Carl "Gio" Viray from California State University, Northridge (Placement: Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics

Left to Right (top): Nathan Lee Carl "Gio" Viray, Johnson Nguyen, Andrew Hua, and Jimmy Tang
Left to Right (bottom): Ronia Auelua; Avalon Igawa; Maikoau Vang; Trisha Hongcharti; and Linda Akutagawa, LEAP President & CEO

This summer the LIA interns participated in an array of workshops including: 21st Century Leader, Communicating with Style, Branding Yourself as a Leader, and Speaking with Impact. Interns also had an opportunity to attend LEAP’s 33rd Annual Leadership Awards Gala where they met LEAP’s board members, sponsors, alumni, and friends.

LIA interns at the LEAP gala

As part of the program, the 2015 LIA interns were tasked with delivering a group community impact project and presenting it at their graduation. For their project, they created an interactive API historical timeline and workshop.  They collaborated with the Student Coalition for Asian Pacific Empowerment (SCAPE) at the University of Southern California to host an event that included an opportunity for members to participate in the workshop.  After the event, they captured their results and best practices and created a toolkit for future student leaders and community members to use if interested in conducting their own API historical timeline workshop.  The LIA interns created this API Timeline Toolkit with a goal to educate, create cross-cultural bonds, and honor API history and heritage. To view their API Timeline toolkit, visit: bit.ly/API_timeline.

LIA interns working hard on their group project



Thank you to our sponsors who helped made LIA possible:







Southwest is the official airline of Leadership In Action.


In Memory of Chieh Huang


 And the 2014 Bid for Empowerment Donors


We wish our interns - now LEAP alums - the best of luck in their future endeavors!

Left to Right (top): Johnson Nguyen, Andrew Hua, Carl "Gio" Viray, and Maikoau Vang
Left to Right (bottom): Trisha Hongcharti, Ronia Auelua, Jimmy Tang, Avalon Igawa and Nathan Lee

For more information about LIA, visit: www.leap.org/empower_lia.

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