Spring 2023 Mentoring Program Intern Spotlight – Olivia Lancaster

Hello everyone! My name is Olivia Lancaster (she/her), and I am currently a second-semester sophomore at American University. I am a Communication Studies major with a minor in International Studies. Apart from being a full-time student, I am also AALEAD’s spring 2023 Mentoring Program intern!

I applied to AALEAD because I love that they are focused on providing resources and role models for Asian and Asian-American youth.

When I first found out about the organization, I recalled what it felt like to move to the United States from South Korea and gradually lose that part of my identity as I distanced myself from Korean culture to fit in with the white-American culture around me. I grew up not fully understanding what it meant to be Korean outside of eating kimchi jjigae and kimbap a couple times a month. Fortunately, I rediscovered what being Asian meant to me during high school and have proudly identified myself as Korean/Asian ever since. However, discovering AALEAD made me realize that if I had had something like the organization’s after-school or mentoring program when I was younger, I would’ve fostered the self-love for my culture much earlier.

With my work as an intern for AALEAD, I hope to support the Asian and Asian-American youth in the DMV to give them the same opportunities to learn about and love themselves that I wish I had.

I am so eager to be here for the organization and the community involved, and I can’t wait to learn more about how to be an effective advocate for the AAPI community.

Outside of school work and my internship, I love to listen to music; my all-time favorite artists are SZA, Frank Ocean, and Japanese Breakfast, but a recent favorite has been Heize! I definitely encourage anyone to send me music recommendations 🙂

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