Kiara Johnson: Finding the Right Path

Kiara Johnson wanted to get her hands dirty. Not literally — she’d already worked in a fish cannery break room and on fishing vessels, so she knew about getting dirty — but she was ready for a professional position that would allow her to learn while she worked.

“That’s what attracted me to the Administrative Apprenticeship Program,” explained Kiara, who is originally from Emmonak. “It’s very hands-on, learning-based training.”

Because she was majoring in psychology at UAA, Kiara was placed with CITC’s Child & Family Services (CFS) department. There, she experienced a shift in perspective.

“I went in with a very different idea of what that department did,” Kiara admitted. “I thought it was focused on head start and funding for school. I discovered there’s more of a social work component. It’s very eye-opening to see all the programs that department oversees.”

Before her experience with CFS, Kiara was pursuing her psychology major and suspected that behavioral psychology would suit her best. Her apprenticeship helped confirm her choice.

“I learned that social work doesn’t match my personality as well as clinical work,” she said.

Having completed her apprenticeship, Kiara is currently working as an intern with CITC’s Recovery Services department, on its outpatient team.

Any department or organization would be lucky to have Kiara, according to her mentor, Sage O’Neill, a CFS administrative assistant. “It’s was good to have a young Native person in our department — it gave our staff a real morale boost. We definitely benefitted from having Kiara here, whether she was doing data entry, helping to keep participant spaces sanitized [for COVID safety], or working with the CITC activities committee. Wherever she ends up, she’ll do great.”

Once Kiara’s current internship is complete, she will focus on graduating from UAA, after which she may pursue a masters in clinical psychology.

Learn more about the Duch’deldih Administrative Apprenticeship Program.