When people ask me what my identity is, the first thing that comes to mind is a melange of red, white, and blue with a comically large eagle sprawled across it, and superimposed on our Constitution. What I’m saying is, that all my life, I felt blessed to be American, and I knew I wanted to serve my country. As a little kid, I thought George Washington, MLK, FDR, Lincoln and Jefferson were all unbelievably cool, and I wanted to be just like them. though people around me pointed out that a little half-asian girl could never be like FDR, my ex-hippie, sociology-loving mother never let me in on this secret. My father, as a military-loving, staunchly American Reagan-supporter defies Asian stereotypes. My older brother Nathaniel considers himself a conservative, but wants to save the environment and voted for Bernie Sanders. My family is a mish-mash of stereotypically conflicting positions, so I now willfully continue the blissful idealism they instilled in me.

Of course, there are cracks in the vision. Slavery, war, brutality, idiocy, Agent Orange, segregation, the Muslim Ban… I could go on, but that just made me want to go into public service all the more. We made some big claims in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and we have the people and the resources to execute these ideals. I love my country and I’d love to be a part of making these visions concrete.

That’s why the Ward Fellowship was so appealing to me. It was a massive jump-start into the public sector. I was particularly pleased to get to work with Speaker DeLeo, as I find him impressively moderate and restrained, two qualities I need to work on in myself. There’s so much to be learned by simply being in the State House, let alone sponsor meetings and mentoring, and I’m so grateful that something as amazing as the Ward Fellowship exists. There’s so much forward motion going on at the state level, and it makes me wonder for the first time, if I should pursue a career in local politics. It was a given that I should apply to the fellowship, and anyone who is even remotely interested in any kind of public service will do well to sign up too!

This fall, I will be leaving my alma mater Boston Latin, my fantastic fencing team, and my wonderful choir, to venture off to George Washington University. I will pursue a major in International Affairs, as well as a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology, because I think that scientific development and innovation ought to be the most defining element of our American future, not racism and homophobia. Also, I just love electrons, they’re fantastic.