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Formerly known as Leadership In Action

LEAP Emerge

Summer Internship Program

Formerly known as Leadership In Action, LEAP Emerge 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 community in Southern California. 

Program Dates & Locations

Ran from June 17, 2019 to August 9, 2019. Applicants were required to commit to the full eight-week program and attend the mandatory events in 2020

Leadership Retreat Week
June 2020 Dates to be announced

Weekly Emerge Leadership Trainings
July/August 2020 Dates to be announced.

LEAP Leadership Awards Celebration
July 2020 Date to be announced

August 2020 Date to be announced

Includes the days that interns are to be present at their assigned nonprofit organization
8 hours per day from Mondays - Thursdays, starting June 2020 to August 2020 to be announced.


Program Structure

  • Intern four days a week at a Southern California community-based organization that serves the Asian and Pacific Islander community

  • Gather one day a week for leadership development trainings to build and strengthen leadership skills

  • Work with intern cohort over eight weeks on a Team Community Impact Project

Program Length and Stipend

Interns will receive a stipend of $4,140 for successful completion of the program.

Interns are responsible for their own housing, transportation, and insurance.



Applicants must have completed two years of college by June 15, 2020 and currently enrolled in college, or a recent graduate.


Ideal Participants should have:

  • A passion for learning and growing their leadership skills

  • An interest in gaining work experience in an API-serving community-based nonprofit organization

  • Experience working and collaborating with the Asian and Pacific Islander community (preferred but not necessary)

Key Benefits

  • Explore issues affecting Asian and Pacific Islanders.

  • Expand self awareness and deepen understanding of your values.

  • Explore and engage with different leadership styles.

  • Practice leadership and workforce development skills such as communication, teamwork, public speaking, and giving/receiving feedback.

  • Preparation and experience to volunteer and work in the nonprofit sector.

Apply for LEAP Emerge

Applications for the 2019 LEAP Emerge Program are now closed.
To be alerted when applications for the 2020 LEAP Emerge program open up, please contact Eledy Vargas ( / (213) 485-1422 x4118)

The LEAP Emerge: Summer Internship Program is sponsored by


Southwest Airlines is the official airline of the LEAP Emerge program.


2019 LEAP Emerge Interns


Left to Right: Brendan Kim, Catherine Pereda, Gia Dacayanan, Kristie Lam, Kelepi Ahoia, Francis Ray Rettinger, H’ Abigail Mlo

LEAP Emerge 2019 Interns and Nonprofit Placements

Kelepi Ahoia (California State University, Cal Poly Pomona)/ Empowering Pacific Islander Communities
Gia Dacayanan (Willamette University)/ API Equality - LA
Brendan Kim (Occidental College)/East West Players
Kristie Lam (The Ohio State University)/ Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment
H’Abigail Mlo (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)/ Little Tokyo Service Center
Catherine Pereda (University of California, Los Angeles)/ Thai Community Development Center
Francis Ray Rettinger (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)/ LEAP

2018 LEAP Emerge Interns

_MG_7406 edited.jpg

Left to Right: Joon Sung Choe, Grace Lee, Alyssa Gonzaga, Samantha Kim, Theresa Tran, Chee Cia Her, Brian Kohaya


Joon Sung Choe (Northwestern University)/ LEAP
Alyssa Gonzaga (University of California, Berkeley)/ Faith and Community Empowerment
Chee Cia Her (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire)/ Asian Pacific Community Fund

Samantha Kim (Loyola Marymount University) / Korean American Family Services 
 Brian Kohaya (University of California, Los Angeles)/ Asian Business Association of Los Angeles, Inc
Grace Lee (University of California, Los Angeles)/ API Equality - LA
Theresa Tran (University of Massachusetts, Boston)/ South Asian Network



2017 LEAP Emerge Interns

LIA_2017 (1).jpg

Left to Right: Josh Jiang, Sue Abdurahman, Angela Yip, Lena Pham, Alison Choi, Kevin Hang, Isa Sasi


2017 LEAP Emerge interns and nonprofit organization placements

Lena Pham (Hendrix College) / Thai Community Development Center 

Joshua Jiang (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) / Visual Communications

Kevin Hang  (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities) / LEAP

Alison Choi (Pomona College) / East West Players

Susana (Sue) Abdurahman (University of California, Santa Barbara) / Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement

Angela Yip (University of California, Los Angeles) / Empowering Pacific Islander Communities 

Louisa (Isa) Sasi (Santa Ana College) / Little Tokyo Service Center

This promotional video is created by the 2016 LEAP Emerge alumni cohort as part of their community impact project.

Check out previous interns, their blogs, and their community impact projects.


More LEAP Programs