On June 15, 2020, Sealaska welcomed 18 summer interns to our first ever entirely remote internship program. This year’s interns, like so many people across the country, are working from home, exchanging office time for video chats to stay connected to their teams.
In a year defined by a global pandemic, everyone has experienced its uncertainty and stress in different ways. For students, campuses suddenly closed across the country in March. They were quickly making housing and travel plans and facing job-market prospects that shifted from bright to bleak in a matter of days.
“Providing interns some kind of career experience was important to advocate for,” said Kayla Roberts, a former intern now running Sealaska’s intern program. “Who knows what jobs will look like after this? Gaining professional experience in their fields is valuable for their futures, and I hope interns use this experience to market themselves.”
Internship opportunities within the Sealaska family of companies are diverse. Converting each one into a remote job took collaboration and creativity. Interns studying anthropology, who would normally be working with artifacts within the Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) archives, are managing online databases and providing research. Our PC technician intern is aiding the IT team in its cybersecurity effort. Interns studying education are helping convert summer camps to virtual ones. Marketing and communication students are creating digital content from their homes for Spruce Root and SHI. Our natural resources, forestry and research analyst interns are each providing data and ideas around sustainable land management, carbon sequestration efforts, and potential maricultural projects. Finance, accounting, construction project management, database management — all these internships were reimagined where students could work safely and effectively from home.
For the few internships that were not able to convert to remote, Sealaska was able to offer tuition assistance and a deferred internship space next year.
Roberts and her teammates, Amalia Akagi and Heidi Perkins, also former interns, created new remote ways to help interns stay involved. Interns have access to self-guided learning opportunities. Each is participating in a team research project, pursuing a day of volunteering in their local communities, and conducting informational interviews with coworkers since they can’t simply grab coffees in person.
“We are so grateful that the interns are here to provide their curiosity, expertise, new ideas and energy to our teams this summer,” Roberts said. “We are all learning how to navigate this new work environment together, and I remain appreciative of their patience. This intern class is resilient, eager and enthusiastic, and I look forward to seeing their work.”
Sealaska internship opportunities are typically announced in October for the following summer, with applications due in January. Full details are available online at https://www.sealaska.com/careers/summer-internships/, including eligibility requirements.