An Insider’s View of the Ahtna Special Forces Program

Published October 2019

By Jasznia Marshall

Senior Groundwater Treatment System Operator Mark Fisler (L) explains pressure differentials across granularactivated carbon vessels at the Fort Ord Operable Unit 2 groundwater treatment plant to the U.S. Army BRAC Quality Control Representative (C) and Special Forces Program Special Operative Jasznia Marshall (R) during operations training on July 2, 2019.

Senior Groundwater Treatment System Operator Mark Fisler (L) explains pressure differentials across granularactivated carbon vessels at the Fort Ord Operable Unit 2 groundwater treatment plant to the U.S. Army BRAC Quality Control Representative (C) and Special Forces Program Special Operative Jasznia Marshall (R) during operations training on July 2, 2019. Photo by Derek Lieberman, AEI.

My name is Jasznia Marshall and I am a shareholder at Ahtna. I’m currently in my senior year as a writing major at Fort Lewis college. After recently finishing my third year of college, I was determined to work outside of Alaska when I was told of an opportunity to intern in California under Ahtna Environmental Services (AES). I was able to explore a completely new state while also working as a technical writer and editor for my Southwest Environmental (SWE) team. Although I am a writing major, this summer was my first time experiencing a hands-on way of formal writing. My team made great efforts to ensure that I felt well-rounded about their subsidiary. They made it a priority that I felt satisfied about my position in their team, as well as productive.

My first summer working as an intern for Ahtna was in 2018. I worked for Ahtna Support and Training Services (ASTS) in the Anchorage office and was only vaguely aware of what my corporation did. Now that I’ve completed my second summer of working for Ahtna I am more educated about all the company does for our people. One of my biggest efforts has been to learn about Ahtna culture which I’ve been able to do through this internship. Through conversation with other shareholders and my own experiences at the company I’ve been able to learn more about the culture and myself than I ever imagined.

My highlight of this internship was the camping trip. Although I visited Tazlina during holidays and summers to see my family when I was younger, it’s been hard to make the trip since I’ve been away for college. The camping trip included rafting, getting to know important people of Ahtna, and touring the villages. It was also an opportunity to get to know other shareholders who are also working towards the same goals. Since I was working away from the other interns the entire summer, I was grateful to get to spend time with them.

My advice for other young shareholders applying for this internship would be: don’t expect it to be an easy internship. It’s a lot of work and dedication but it’s well worth it. It can be challenging but it will push you to learn and grow, both in your identity and aspirations. I’m excited to see how the internship evolves and to meet the other bright, young shareholders who decide to join in the upcoming years.