Spotlight: Fall 2023 Learning Life Interns

Learning Life’s interns do vital work responsible for the energy and growth of our organization.  This fall, their work included outreach to thousands of people on Facebook and Linkedin to help grow the Family Diplomacy Initiative (FDI) worldwide, and our Democracy Learning Community (DLC) in the Washington DC capital region; assisting with in-person Democracy Dinners; supporting family diplomat trainees worldwide with the development of their family stories; research and writing to develop our DLC vision and action plan; research and outreach to develop Citizen Diplomacy International; and more.  Learning Life is very grateful for their dedicated work.  You can learn a little about each of them below.

Racquel Garcia

Year, major, and school: I am in my Senior year at the University of California, Merced graduating in May 2024 with my bachelor’s degree in political science. 

Hobbies: I love to sit down and ease my mind with some crochet projects while listening to podcasts or books, especially about current events in the news, history, politics, and fiction as well. 

Career aspirations: I am currently interested in studying to become a lawyer. I am interested in going to law school for either immigration law or labor law. 

Why Learning Life? Learning Life allows me to work on the Family Diplomacy Initiative where we work with people on an international level to help them develop, and grow their relationships with family and community via storytelling. 

Kayla Hoang
Year, major, and school: I am a third-year student double-majoring in English and History at the University of California, Irvine!
Hobbies: In my free time, I try to learn as many creative skills as possible, so I enjoy drawing and painting, crocheting, and I’ve started trying to teach myself some new instruments. Recently, I developed a newfound love for traveling and exploring new places and am working on incorporating those passions on a budget!
Career aspirations: I am really interested in advocating for educational access and equity, so I’m drawn to work in correctional education for a while and eventually to educational leadership or administration to push forward these goals in the long-term. More recently, I’ve been considering  international and/or government work to advance educational equity through policy.
Why Learning Life?  What drew me to Learning Life was the idea of spreading learning outside of the traditional academic setting, and being able to connect with people and professionals around the world. I wanted more experience in nonprofit work and to know more about how nonprofit organizations work behind-the-scenes. Working with Learning Life allowed me to develop my perspective about what it means to lead a nonprofit, but also the steps needed to make connections and interact with a wide range of people of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and cultures!

Alaina Leasure

Year, major, and school: I’m a sophomore majoring in law and policy with a minor in political science. I go to Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.

Hobbies: Almost every day, I make sure to go on a walk, then recharge with a cup of coffee and a good book. I like going to arts and crafts workshops, and recently started taking piano lessons.

Career aspirations: After I graduate from Dickinson, I plan to go to Penn State Dickinson Law School. I’m thinking of going into business law, but currently exploring other possibilities as well.

Why Learning Life?  I chose Learning Life to gain a better understanding of what it means to be a citizen diplomat. I believe that spreading the values of democracy and diplomacy is essential, as it will help to bridge the divides that exist between communities across the world.  The research and outreach I’ve conducted with Learning Life has given me valuable insight as to how a non-profit organization functions.

Mahum Shah

Year, major, and school: I am a public administration major with a concentration in non-profit management.  I am a senior at George Mason University and I will be graduating this May!

Hobbies: I love to go to the gym, paint, travel and journal.  I am also very family-oriented, so I love to spend time with my siblings and cousins in my free time.

Career Aspirations: I hope to work in the nonprofit sector with organizations such as UNICEF, in education, health, and human rights. I hope to be able to better the world both locally and globally.  I eventually want to start my own nonprofit and work in project management/public budgeting for government agencies or nonprofits.  

Why Learning Life?  I was interested in working with Learning Life to gain insight into the functions of a non-profit organization while tapping into my passion for helping others around the world. Learning Life helped me strengthen my passion for diplomacy, family, and education and I learned the importance of storytelling.  I got to work closely with many incredible individuals from all over the world via the Family Diplomacy Initiative and made many connections. I learned about so many different people’s lives and what they have gone through.  Being able to help them in any way I could was rewarding.  I am truly grateful for this opportunity.

Jiayi Wang

Year, major, and school: I am a junior at George Washington University in DC. I am majoring in International affairs and minoring in French, with a concentration in Asia studies and international development.

Hobbies: I love painting, dancing, skiing, and tennis. I do outdoor sketching regularly every month. And every winter, I go skiing with my friends or family.

Career aspirations:  Upon graduation, I am driven to pursue advanced studies, aiming for either a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree in International Relations. This academic path will allow me to delve deeper into specific areas such as diplomatic studies, conflict resolution, or global governance. I am particularly interested in contributing to academic research that informs diplomatic strategies and international policy. Simultaneously, I am eager to gain practical experience through internships that align with my academic focus. I aspire to secure internships within diplomatic missions, international organizations, or research institutions, where I can apply theoretical knowledge and my linguistic advantages to real-world challenges. These experiences will not only enhance my skills but also provide valuable insights into the operational aspects of international affairs.

Why Learning Life?  A fall internship at Learning Life presents an ideal opportunity for me to merge my passion for international affairs with a commitment to innovative education and citizen engagement. I am eager to contribute to projects that extend learning beyond traditional boundaries and resonate with my aspiration to foster global citizenship. The organization’s mission, coupled with its Washington, DC location, aligns perfectly with my academic focus and career goals, providing a unique platform to apply my skills and make a meaningful impact.

Maggie Yang

Year, major, and school: I’m a freshman majoring in Regional Studies in Asia at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Hobbies: In my free time, I love to read new novels, listen to political podcasts, and cook food with my sister. I like to spend time with friends and family whenever I get the chance. My favorite show of all time is Sherlock, the BBC version.
Career aspirations: For now, I’m hoping to finish a bachelor’s degree at Georgetown and eventually pursue a Master’s degree in international affairs. I hope to gain further experience working with both diplomacy-based think tanks and various government agencies, such as the Department of State.
Why Learning Life? Learning Life’s commitment to citizen diplomacy and ability to bring together people of different backgrounds and perspectives captivated my attention. I’m grateful for the opportunity to meet people from across the world, as well as conduct outreach with industry professionals across the country. Encouraging civic engagement through the understanding of democracy and diplomacy is more important than ever in a politically polarized world.