INTERN-al Affairs

CIRI summer intern Rinnah Andrew, center, with her parents.

My name is Rinnah Andrew and I was born and raised in Anchorage. I am connected to CIRI through my father, Tony Andrew, who is Yup’ik and Caucasian and whose family hails from Tuluksak, Alaska. My mother, Nancy Andrew, is Yup’ik and hails from St. Mary’s, Alaska. Through my mother, I am also a descendant of Calista Corp. and St. Mary’s Native Corp.

I received my undergraduate degree in business administration management with minors in dance and Alaska Native studies from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), and I am currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree in general management with an emphasis in leadership at UAA. My estimated graduation date is spring 2021. UAA shut down mid-semester, and my in-person MBA courses switched to online. In response, I set up a home office and learned to produce assignments from home.

CIRI employees have been working from home since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As summer approached, I nonetheless decided to apply to CITC’s Internship Partner Program in the hopes I would be placed with CIRI. I already had a home office and knew I’d be able to work effectively from home. When I was offered a position with CIRI and told I was going to be supervised by Darla Graham (senior manager, CIRI shareholder engagement), I was ecstatic!

Some of the projects assigned to me by CIRI include editing and improving CIRI’s descendant webpages, trying to procure additional shareholder discounts and incentives, and helping start a virtual mentorship program. I also learned to record, edit and post a private video to YouTube to share with my intern cohort and CIRI and CITC employees.

I’ve known I wanted to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in business and work for an Alaska Native entity since the age of 14. Over the years I have worked for First Alaskans Institute and CIRI-affiliated nonprofits CITC, Southcentral Foundation and The CIRI Foundation. These experiences only increased my desire to work for CIRI in the future. I want to help grow the Corporation and assist shareholders and descendants in fulfilling their goals.

I am happy CIRI can continue to offer mentorship opportunities during the pandemic for CIRI’s youth and the next generation, while also increasing mentorship opportunities to CIRI’s out-of-state shareholders and descendants. And I am especially grateful to Darla, who assigned me interesting and challenging projects this summer to help grow my leadership skills. Assisting Darla in starting a virtual mentorship program is a transferable skill I will use for the rest of my career.

Until next time,