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Calista Summer 2020 Interns Gain Valuable Experience in Alaska

Program offered virtual sessions due to COVID-19

Storyknife, July/August 2020 edition, Leaders from the Region

Calista Corporation’s Internship Program moved forward this summer with an Alaska-centric scope due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a normal year, many interns are placed in Lower 48 Calista subsidiaries. This year, all interns work in Alaska and many of them are teleworking.

Calista 2020 Summer interns worked in Anchorage and Bethel.

Four interns are working for Bilista Holding companies that specialize in construction, transportation, equipment, and environmental services. This gives them an opportunity to support projects that provide rural infrastructure in Alaska and the Lower 48.

For example, Charitie Ropati of Kongiganak and Xenia Guy of Napaskiak have interned for Brice Civil Constructors, supporting a drinking water line construction project at the Kodiak Coast Guard Base, a bridge repair project at Fort Wainwright, and a river dredging project in Morgan City, Louisiana.

Charitie, a Columbia University engineering/political science major, and Xenia, a University of Alaska Anchorage accounting major, began by working on expense reports, accounts payable and per diem. Since then, they have progressed to handling work plans and purchasing material for the construction sites.

Their supervisor, Jon McVay, president of Brice Civil Constructors, originally had one opening for an intern but decided to expand to two interns at a time when fewer internships are available to Shareholders.

“This is our third year working with Calista interns and every time, I’m impressed with the caliber of the students who come to us,” McVay says.

Bradley Lake of Hooper Bay is an HRintern for Bilista. Many of his tasks relate to data entry and filing paperwork for new hires. An elementary education major at UAF, Bradley says the work is interesting and he enjoys contributing to HR efforts to keep the company “flowing and going.”

Bradley works in the same building with the other Bilista interns as well as former intern Kasila Carey. After graduating, Kasila joined Brice Environmental Services as an administrative assistant and project coordinator, and is supervising intern Jasmine Woods, of Pitka’s Point, a UAA mechanical engineering student who is working for a sister company, Brice Engineering.

This year, in lieu of in-person training sessions, Calista’s HR Department hosts weekly virtual meetings to cover topics such as cultural heritage and history, the future of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and other topics. The summer program will end with a drum-making session taught by Aassanaaq “Ossie” Kairaiuak.

“Our goal of the internship program is to increase Shareholder hire, strengthen the interns’ cultural and Calista Corporation/ANCSA knowledge, and help our Shareholders build their resumes by applying what they’ve learned,” says Brenda Pacarro, Calista’s Workforce and Shareholder Development Supervisor.

Calista 2020 Summer Interns by the Numbers:

  • 11 Interns
  • Locations: Anchorage and Bethel
  • Calista Corp. Placements: Accounting, Legal, Lands, IT, Shareholder Services, Calista Education and Culture, Inc.
  • Subsidiary Placements: Bilista HR, Brice Inc., Brice Civil Constructors, Brice Engineering

Find out more about Calista Internships and Shareholder Development Opportunities!