Summer at the Smithsonian

Hello all! My name is Camly Tram, and I am a rising senior. I am majoring in Psychology with a minor in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (SISE). Currently, I am studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and I can’t wait to start a new adventure in Washington, D.C. where my internship is based. I will be interning with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC) on the development team.

I am a proud, Vietnamese-American woman who has lived her whole life in New Orleans. My story starts with my mother. She is a Vietnamese refugee and now an American citizen with a job, house, two children in higher education. She achieved the American dream. My mother left Vietnam on a boat and came to America with her family. She worked two jobs while in trade school in order to get a higher paying job to support her four younger brothers. I always want to tell her story because of how much her story and strength influences my life.

At APAC, I want to help tell stories that are not often told about other strong, Asian women. APAC curates pop-up exhibits and culture labs that turn museum visits into to immersive and engaging experiences. The APAC does not have a physical location, but instead intentionally chooses where to put on these pop-up exhibits and how to create these culture labs. I hope to accomplish a few things by the end of the summer:

  • I want to generally learn more about the Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) community because it is a community I want to work with in the future;
  • I want to learn how to approach members of the APIA community to collaborate on projects in an authentic, respectful manner;
  • I want to learn more about the curatorial obligations of putting on an exhibit because it is something I have never done before;
  • I want to gain more experience handling logistics and working on a team to carry out events and projects because it is something I genuinely enjoy and I believe I can always improve on;
  • I want to learn more about how to advocate for these communities and how to take action as a university student and discover my own agency.

In the future, I want to work in the nonprofit sector or with a socially conscious startup. I have been searching since high school for my what issue really strikes me to do something. I have recently found that I am fiercely passionate about engaging and empowering the APIA community. This opportunity will be give me a greater understanding of the APIA community as well as give me skills I can apply to my career goals.

I am also looking forward to living in Washington, D.C.! I have been there twice before, but this will definitely be my longest stay. I love cities, and I cannot wait to experience this vibrant city in the summer. The history of the city has also always amazed me; I am planning to wander the many museums on the weekends. Although I love New Orleans and Cape Town has stolen my heart, I think I have room to fall in love with one more city this summer.


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