CIRI Summer Interns Embrace the Present, Plan for the Future

CIRI summer interns L to R: William Wheeles, Ravynn Nothstine, John Sallee, Raymond Redmond, Brandi Wheelehan and Josh Franklin. Photo by Joel Irwin.
CIRI summer interns L to R: William Wheeles, Ravynn Nothstine, John Sallee, Raymond Redmond, Brandi Wheelehan and Josh Franklin. Photo by Joel Irwin.

Insight into CIRI’s culture and businesses, development and mentorship opportunities, professional networking and resume building – CIRI’s summer interns took full advantage of the myriad opportunities offered them (and had lots of fun while doing it!).

On Aug. 19, each of the summer interns presented to CIRI’s executive team, discussing what they had learned and outlining their plans for the future. Josh Franklin, a business administration major at Alaska Pacific University, interned in three departments – Human Resources, Real Estate and Risk Management. His respective tasks included updating the Alaska Native Hire website, surveying properties in downtown Anchorage and creating a spreadsheet of work-related injuries and illnesses for the purposes of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reporting.

“We Natives have inherited this responsibility to carry out our culture, our secrets to life, and to try and help others survive,” Franklin said. “I believe that’s the mission here at CIRI, and I feel it every day. I felt it the day I walked in here.”

An intern in CIRI’s Land and Resources department and an earth sciences major at Dartmouth College, one of Rayvnn Nothstine’s primary tasks was working with the Alaska Geological Materials Center to prepare core samples for possible donation. She also went on several site visits, including to the Johnson River prospect and Marsh Lake, where she worked with the Student Conservation Association on its trail construction project.

“Something I wasn’t considering before this internship is law school, but I was inspired by the Elders that we listened to and by (author, educator and politician) Willie Hensley,” Nothstine said. “I just think that having a law degree would be really useful as an Alaska Native person.”

Raymond Redmond, a construction management major at the University of Alaska Anchorage, interned with CIRI subsidiary Weldin Construction. This was his second year as a CIRI summer intern – last year he interned with CIRI Services Corp., Weldin’s parent company.

Redmond’s duties included job site visits, project bidding and estimates, traffic control plans and work clearance requests. “The work environment these last two summers has been great,” he said. “Everyone’s working together, everyone’s helping each other out.”

Writing a column, recording a podcast and managing CIRI’s Instagram account –John Sallee did a little of everything while interning in the Corporate Communications department. A journalism and public communications major at the University of Alaska Anchorage, he plans to pursue a career in the entertainment field.

“This internship has been nothing but amazing,” Sallee said. “It’s nice to know CIRI’s mission, CIRI’s values and what they believe in, and I can honestly say I’m very proud to be a part of that.”

An intern in both the Human Resources and Shareholder Relations departments, Brandi Wheelehan applied for CIRI’s summer internship program after two years interning with Bering Straits Native Corp. Her duties included employee recruitment, event planning and promoting shareholder and descendant programs. In the fall, she will return to her studies as a business administration management major at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

“Now is the time in life when you really have to try something new – broaden your horizons, find your passions, so I decided to do an internship with CIRI,” Wheelehan said. “And I’ve been asked a few times this summer, ‘Why did you choose CIRI?’ And the answer is simple: mission, vision and values.”

A recent graduate of the Alaska Institute of Technology, William Wheeles spent his summer in CIRI’s IT department responding to help desk tickets, building and rolling out tablet computers and troubleshooting computer issues.

“CIRI and its family of companies, they do so much for the community, so much for Alaska Natives, and I’m really on board with that,” Wheeles said. “You should want to help people – I definitely feel that way, and CIRI does a lot to help others.”

CIRI would like to thank our summer interns and commend them on a job well done!

For information on CIRI’s summer internship program, visit