Meet the 2020 Ahtna Special Forces

Published April 2020

Kiana Carlson

Kiana Carlson – Ahtna Support and Training Services, LLC

Kiana Carlson has joined the Ahtna Special Forces as an Intern for Ahtna Support and Training Services (ASTS) working out of Ahtna’s Anchorage office. Her parents are Vernon and Susan Carlson and her grandparents are Bud and Edna Carlson (paternal) and Donna and Bob Ericksen (maternal). She grew up in Cantwell, Alaska and is currently living in Anchorage while attending the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). She plans to graduate in May, 2021 and is majoring in History and minoring in Alaska Native Studies. She is a member of the Taltsiine (Water) clan.

Why did you choose your major?

I chose to study history because I have always loved history. Growing up I loved listening to stories about old time Cantwell that my grandpa, dad and uncles would share. Studying history not only lets me do something that I genuinely love, but it also helps me in my future education and career goals.

What made you want to intern with Ahtna and what excites you about the internship?

I wanted to intern with Ahtna because I wanted to know more about the company that I’m a shareholder of. I not only wanted more work experience in an office setting but wanted work experience within an Alaska Native Corporation.

What knowledge or skills do you hope to gain through the internship?

I want to continue to strengthen my office skills, working with a team, and learn more about the rules that ANC businesses must follow.

How do you see the internship preparing you for your future career goals?
I’ll most likely end up working in an environment like Ahtna (if not Ahtna!), and I know that this internship will help prepare myself for that.

In what ways would you like to create value as an intern?

By doing tasks that are helpful, minuscule as they may seem. I know that the smallest things really help make everything else run smoothly and efficiently.

What role has Ahtna played in your educational and/or career pursuits?

Ahtna has supported me while I attend college through scholarships, supporting my club and allowing me to gain valuable work experience.

Who has been an inspiration to you in your educational and/or career pursuits and why?

My mom, my aunt and my cousin who all attended, or are attending, college while raising a family and living rural. My mom and aunt are both teachers, and my cousin is planning on doing the same. They are all an inspiration because it shows me that no matter the circumstance you can achieve your goals. You can have a family and go to school. You can live in Cantwell (or any rural community) and get your degree. They not only obtained their degrees, but they used those degrees to help our community.

What are your goals after graduation?
After I graduate, I hope to go to law school and obtain my JD focusing on American Indian Law.

What advice do you have for Ahtna youth?

I’ll share a piece of advice that another village member shared with me that I think is important. Keep furthering your education, whether it’s by going to college, vocational school, joining a union or working, because that’s one thing that no one can take from you.

What have been defining moments in your educational/career path and what have you learned along the way?

Working at Denali National Park has really helped me realize how much I want to study Alaska history and law to help my community with hunting, fishing and land rights. Every class that I’ve taken that has covered ANILCA and ANCSA also solidified my desire to study law and Alaska Native hunting and land rights.

What motivates you?

My family.

Do you have any volunteer or community service experience that you would like to share?

I volunteer regularly with my club, Native Student Council. I’ve volunteered at events such as the Giving Thanks Dance Festival, Smokehouse Gala, Reason to Live Suicide Awareness, and Indigenous Peoples Day celebration.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love spending time outside with my friends and family. I especially enjoy hunting, fishing, snowmachining, hiking and skijoring. I also love reading, painting and sketching.


Jaysen Ewan

Jaysen Ewan – Ahtna Construction & Primary Products Company, LLC

Jaysen Ewan has joined the Ahtna Special Forces as an Intern working out of Ahtna’s Anchorage office for Ahtna Construction & Primary Products Company, LLC. His mother is Faye Ewan and his grandparents are the late Peter and Annie Ewan. He grew up in Copper River, Alaska and is currently living in Anchorage. He is a member of the Udzisyu (Caribou) clan.

What made you want to intern with Ahtna and what excites you about the internship?

As an Ahtna shareholder and having been an employee on and off over the past 20 plus years, I concluded that applying in the Ahtna Shareholders Development program would ensure success as a future Project/Construction Manager with Ahtna, Inc.

What knowledge or skills do you hope to gain through the internship?

I hope to gain the know-how to manage construction projects in their entirety, from start to finish, such as bidding, budgeting, work scope, estimating, scheduling/time management, planning, take-off, closing, etc.

In what ways would you like to create value as an intern?

Creating value as an intern to me means having an opportunity to interact with Ahtna individual(s) and/or Ahtna village(s) to encourage such to participate in an internship with Ahtna, Inc. to further one’s education and/or career goals.

What role has Ahtna played in your educational and/or career pursuits?

Ahtna has financially supported my current endeavors through the Walter Charley Memorial Scholarship Foundation. I’ve taken trainings through the Learning Management System (LMS), Ahtna Special Forces Internship and an Online Project Management course. Ahtna, Inc. subsidiaries such as Ahtna Construction, AKHI, Ahtna Environmental & Ahtna Solutions have employed me throughout my career.

What are your goals after graduation?

My goal is to become a successful Ahtna Athabaskan Dene Construction Manager in an Ahtna, Inc. subsidiary.

Who has been an inspiration to you in your educational and/or career pursuits and why?

Arnold Lincoln of Copper River has inspired my Construction Management (C.M.) as I have known Mr. Lincoln all my life and seen his career flourish into his current position as a C.M. and I had also worked with Mr. Lincoln and seen his accomplishments in action.

What advice do you have for Ahtna youth?

It will take perseverance, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, self-esteem, determination and will power to achieve your goal(s) of self-betterment, but most of all, it will require belief in one’s self that it is possible and it will get easier. Put aside all negativity, procrastination, self-doubt, worries and bitterness for Our Creator to deal with and keep moving forward. In honor of Our Ancestors, Elders, and Parents, we are to live prosperous as they intended, as they had survived through eons of struggles and hardships to ensure for Our very own existence.

What have been defining moments in your educational/career path and what have you learned along the way?

Walking into a University classroom for the first time ever has been an experience of a lifetime for myself.

What motivates you?

Achieving a successful career that will enable me to provide for and secure for Family, Children, Loved Ones & Our Great Region.

Do you have any volunteer or community service experience that you would like to share?

Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity has been worthwhile towards humility. Helping building homes for families in need and with the Restore is giving back to the communities with good intentions.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

These days, nothing is more inviting than a day of relaxation!

Visit www.ahtna.com/internship to apply and learn more.