CIRI Summer Interns Gain Real-World Work Experience While Immersing Themselves in Culture

CIRI summer interns (L to R) Chloe Tetpon, Elyse Decker and Maddie Mulcahey package salmon as part of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe’s educational fishery program. Photo by Darla Graham.

CIRI was thrilled to host interns Elyse Decker, Maddie Mulcahey and Chloe Tetpon this summer!

In addition to interning in their respective departments, Elyse, Maddie and Chloe participated in numerous cultural activities, including attending a traditional tattooing workshop, touring the Alaska Native Heritage Center and Anchorage Museum, and making akutaq (Eskimo ice cream). They created their own Dena’ina counting cords, learned to bead earrings and hosted a networking event for interns from the other Alaska Native regional corporations. In late July, they visited the villages of Seldovia and Ninilchik and fished with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe’s educational fishery program.

Thank you to our interns for a fantastic summer!


Hometown: Seattle, Washington
College: Swarthmore College
Major: Global studies with an Indigenous studies specialization, minor in Japanese
Graduation/expected graduation: May 2023
CIRI department: Shareholder and Descendant Programs
Favorite traditional activity: Beading
Hobbies and interests: Music (I’ve played the piano for 15 years and the Celtic lap harp for six years) and food (I’m a foodie and have been so grateful to try traditional foods this summer, such as moose and caribou).
Astrological sign: Pisces
Post-college/career plans: Pursue a Ph.D. and become an Indigenous studies professor
Other CIRI experiences: I was a member of the inaugural class of the CIRI virtual mentoring program (2021), which is also where I heard about the summer internship program!
Favorite Alaska experience: This summer has been my first time to Alaska, and I’ve enjoyed everything! The No. 1 thing would probably be visiting the village of Seldovia, where my relatives are from.


Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
College: West Chester University
Major: Anthropology, minors in Native American studies, geographic information systems, and sustainability and resilience
Graduation/expected graduation: 2024
CIRI department: Shareholder and Descendant Programs
Hobbies and interests: Beading, hiking and yoga
Favorite color: Forest green
Post-college/career plans: Attend law school. I am especially interested in the intersections between environmental law and Native American law/federal Indian policy.
Other CIRI experiences: Shareholder Participation Committees (now CIRI Participation Committee) youth representative (2017)
Most rewarding aspect of your CIRI summer internship: I have gained a deeper understanding of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, its role in establishing Alaska Native corporations and its impact on Alaska Native peoples. Gaining this perspective has been the most meaningful aspect of my summer, and I feel inspired to be part of the next generation of Alaska Native leaders!


Hometown: Amenia, New York
College: Kennesaw State University
Major: Marketing
Graduation/expected graduation: 2024
CIRI department: Corporate Communications
How did you hear about the CIRI summer internship, and what inspired you to apply? I read about the internship in the Raven’s Circle eNewsletter. After searching and interviewing with numerous internships, none of them felt as meaningful to me as this one.
What is your advice for young Shareholders and Descendants considering the CIRI summer internship opportunity? My advice is to apply! I never thought I would be in Alaska, learning about my culture and interning in my career field. This internship is more than I could have imagined, and it is something I will be proud of the rest of my life.
Hobbies and interests: Art, music and skateboarding
Post-college/career plans: I have learned so much during this internship that my expectations have changed in many ways. I hope to find a job in marketing for a company I respect.
Family: I am connected to CIRI through my father, original CIRI enrollee Sean Tetpon. I also have a twin brother!