Where are they now? Joel DeJesus, KNBA summer intern

As the application deadline for the CITC Summer Internship Partner Program approaches, we’re taking this opportunity to look back the first cohort that took part in this program — and checking in with those interns to see what they’re up to one year later.

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Ever since he was a kid, Joel DeJesus envisioned himself working for his Native corporation one day. That’s still part of his goal — but after interning at KNBA through the CITC Summer Internship Partner Program, he has a new perspective on how he can serve his people.

“Working for any Native corporation or organization helps our Native people, and that’s what I want to accomplish,” Joel said. “And working at KNBA — ‘Alaska’s Native voice’ — has really opened my eyes to understanding that. I not only take pride in the work I’m doing here; I take a lot of personal satisfaction and pleasure from it.”

During his internship, Joel helped amplify that Native voice by helping produce a video about the annual whaling feast celebrated by his home village, Point Hope, for KNBA’s Frontier of Change series. He hosted the video’s premiere at the Anchorage Museum, followed by a Q and A with individuals from Point Hope. “That’s how traditions are passed down, through interactive talking, storytelling,” Joel explained. “That’s our culture. So I thought, why don’t we bring someone from the community to answer questions and fill in the holes in the story people might want to know about.”

“Working for any Native organization helps our Native people, and that’s what I want to accomplish. I not only take pride in the work I’m doing here; I take a lot of personal satisfaction and pleasure from it.”

After participating in CITC’s Summer internship program, Joel was invited to continue working at KNBA. He has taken on increased responsibilities there while stepping away from school for a time to focus on developing his career and more firmly rooting himself in the community. In the long term, Joel plans to return to school to complete his business management administration.

Joel particularly appreciated the way the CITC internship program created ways for him to network with individuals interning with other businesses and organizations. “When you’re surrounded by people who have the same questions as you do about work culture or being in a professional environment, you’re able to talk openly about those things, and you know your fellow interns understand exactly what you’re experiencing.”

Are you interested in a paid summer internship with CITC and its partners? Apply before March 31 to be considered for this year’s program. Learn more here. Contact Nikki Graham at (907) 793-3183 or ngraham@citci.org with questions.