Intern-al affairs, September 2015

by Josh Henrikson

Participants in CIRI’s summer internship program met with the CIRI Board at a lunch organized by Darla Graham, CIRI shareholder and manager of CIRI Shareholder Employment Programs.
Participants in CIRI’s summer internship program met with the CIRI Board at a lunch organized by Darla Graham, CIRI shareholder and manager of CIRI Shareholder Employment Programs.

What a year! The other interns and I had a blast this summer working behind the scenes at CIRI and getting to know the nice folks who make up the corporation. For most of us, this was our first taste of corporate life and working behind a desk. Sometimes I found myself having flashbacks to the manual labor jobs I’ve had in the past – toiling in the kitchen or boxing up Bratz dolls at Target at 3 a.m. It all seems to be in the rearview mirror now, but having worked those jobs, I’ve gained a great deal of perspective.

Right now I’m sitting at a desk wearing a button-up shirt and tie, typing away at my keyboard. After work, I’ll take the button-up shirt to the dry cleaners and figure out some way to make it through the week without having to do two laundry runs. But more than dress shirts and coffee runs, this internship marks the beginnings of my entry into a professional career.

One of the things I truly enjoyed about this program is CIRI’s involvement with its nonprofits, which provided an opportunity for us to help out the community. Other internships might include some small community-oriented activity, but giving back to the Alaska Native community is integral here at CIRI. Each week, we had the opportunity to learn more about the many different nonprofit organizations affiliated with CIRI through visits and tours.

Ask anyone here in the summer program what they’re going to do next, and you’ll be met with blank stares and nervous laughter. And that’s just fine. I don’t even want to know the 20-year-old who has his or her life mapped out for the next 40 years. That’s part of what makes life so interesting – not knowing what’s next, but taking on the next hurdle even so. You have to be prepared, and you have to have the right tools in order to overcome those challenges. This internship, The CIRI Foundation and the friendships and working connections made here are exactly the kind of preparation that will help me face future challenges.

If you’re interested in next year’s summer internship program, I encourage you to apply at There are a wide range of opportunities that will be available. If you didn’t see something you were looking for this year, there may be different CIRI departments – like Real Estate or Human Resources – participating in the internship in the future. And while you’re online, you can check out the video I helped produce!