2014 Shareholder Employment and Development College Support Program: Peter Sandvik

27721407861805PeterSandvik.jpgPeter Sandvik is from Columbus, Ohio, where he just finished his freshman year of college. He is earning a B.S. in chemical engineering from Ohio State University, one of the nation’s largest schools. This summer, through the NANA shareholder employment and development college support program, he is working as an intern with AKIMA in Herndon, VA, as a project coordinator. We talked about his trip to Kiana last summer to spend time with family and help work on their camps, what it’s like working as project coordinator, and related the labor he did out at camp to the work he is doing in Herndon. “I feel like I’m gaining the whole other side of what goes into a project, not just the technical part but the business part as well” Peter said about the experience he is getting with the NANA summer internship program. “In school we did a lot of things where we had to write reports, we had to manage numbers, we had to do all this different stuff that’s relevant to what I’m doing using tools like Excel, using various other tools”.

His grandmother, Ruth Sandvik, was born in Selawik and moved to Kiana when she was a child. He spent most of last summer out at his family’s camps around Kiana on the Kobuk River, fixing things, painting, and building walkways. “It was a lot of fun, definitely a cool experience and something a lot of people don’t get to do”. He had fun with that kind of work with its tangible results. “It’s like one of those things you can actually see everything that’s done at once. You see the big picture”.

The work he is doing in Herndon is different, but he still sees a lot of value in it and hopes to continue working with the college support program in the future. “There’s not a tangible item that you can hold” he said, “it’s like one piece in a bigger thing. I do something which helps out a bigger picture that I might not see. It might be a contract or something, or I never actually see the work that they’re doing because it’s top secret or stuff like that. I’m just doing a portion of that. It’s different”.

He remains optimistic about the insight he is getting into what it takes to approach large projects. “I’m excited to learn how everything comes together, like how I’m doing this portion and somebody else is doing another portion” he said about doing work that feels more intangible. “Entering these numbers basically impacts how much we charge the customer, which impacts how much funding we get, which impacts the revenue, which impacts basically our profits. So you see these smaller tasks come together”.

His experience at AKIMA is helping him see that bigger picture. “You can’t do all the technical stuff if you don’t have the money, if you don’t have the contract, if you don’t have any of that thing. If you don’t have the support on this end, then you can’t do any of that stuff out in the field, any of the development, anything like that”.

For more information on Akima visit their website.