Xiaomeng Xu is a USC graduate student studying public policy and an international student from Tianjin, China. Last year, she served as the office management and donor management intern for Living Advantage Inc. We sat down with Xiaomeng recently to discuss her time with Living Advantage Inc. and how it helped with her individual and professional development.
Before Xiaomeng came to the US, she attended Tianjin Foreign Studies University and studied English translation and interpretation. However, she always had an interest in service and public policy, especially since her mother is a civil servant for the Chinese government.
“In my daily life, when I hear people complaining about policy issues, I reply with, “who can make an impact? Who can make changes about that?”” said Xiaomeng. “It draws me to think about public policy [because it] makes people’s lives better.”
When she started school at USC, she did not know a lot about the nonprofit sector in the United States. After taking multiple classes and doing a project about foster youth in Los Angeles, Xiaomeng became very interested in serving foster youth. Luckily, through a career fair event hosted by the Price School of Public Policy, she met Program Director Eugenia Wilson and Executive Director Pamela Clay, and they gave Xiaomeng an opportunity to learn more about the problems foster youth face.
As an intern, she was responsible for researching donors, managing the donor database, and managing customer relations for Living Advantage Inc.
“After I interned, I found that [Living Advantage Inc.] is quite comprehensive. It has its own objectives and goals to [provide] tutoring [for foster youth], to find [them] a future career, and [ultimately] to make an impact on their lives,” said Xiaomeng. “This organization is relatively small, and organizations on a smaller scale will know better about local needs and provide services better and more accurately than bigger organizations. It helps children according to their real interests and needs.”
After graduation, Xiaomeng aims to first accumulate experience in the US by serving communities and people, which she can then utilize back home in China. She says she wants to broaden her horizon in the future by working in multiple areas of public policy, eventually working on international development policy in the future.
“Living Advantage Inc. really cares about the real needs and interests of foster youth, so I hope this organization [will] grow bigger and have a more influential impact in the future.”
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