Christy Hanson – APU intern, First Alaskans Institute

Alaska Pacific University is among public and private sector employers statewide taking part in a summer internship program through Anchorage-based First Alaskans Institute.

Christy HansonChristy Hanson began her 10-week internship at APU on June 11, after completing a bachelor’s of arts degree in English from New Mexico State University Las Cruces.

Hanson, a member of the Bitter Water Clan of the Navajo Nation, arrived in time for a stretch of unseasonably cool temperatures and rain. She donned her APU hoodie, declared the weather just right and set to work.

“I’m really happy to be here,” Hanson said of her APU assignment. “I want to focus on developing leadership skills and discovering new strengths.”

As an intern assigned to projects in Student Financial Services, Liberal Studies and web development, among others, Hanson said she wants to apply her interest in technical communication and journalism to contribute to APU’s outreach to Alaska Native people.

“I have yet to find my true calling,” said Hanson. She said her love of writing was inspired by her middle school language arts teacher, a Navajo Nation member who stressed knowledge of Shakespeare along with Navajo cultural values, language and ceremony. “I’m also thinking of returning to the Navajo Nation to teach,” Hanson said.

Dr. Esther Beth Sullivan, chairperson of the Liberal Studies Department and among Hanson’s on-campus supervisors, said FAI internships are a natural extension of APU’s emphasis on experiential learning as well as its mission to serve Alaska Native people.

“Christy wants to develop as a writer by doing writing,” Sullivan said. “She’s a perfect fit for APU. We’re thrilled to be working with First Alaskans and its internship program.”

First Alaskans Institute recruits college students for competitive internships in government, oil and gas, finance, health care, arts and culture, and other venues. Rural and urban Alaska internships are offered.

Ella Tonuchuk, APU ’11 and leadership development specialist for FAI, said interns gain practical experience in professional settings and awareness of issues and opportunities involving Alaska Native and indigenous people. Roughly 190 interns have taken part since FAI began its summer program in 2004