Intern-To-Intern 2015: Danny Wells

The eighth in a series. Communications intern Kally Greene-Gudmundson interviews our 2015 summer interns.


Meet Danny Wells, Project Coordinator Intern, AKIMA.

What is your Iñupiaq name? Who were you named after?

My Iñupiaq name is Iyagun. I am named after my great-grandfather, Paul Ballot.

Where are you from? Where did you grow up?

I’m from Noorvik. I grew up there, and have lived there my whole life. (This is the first time I’ve been to Virginia and the east coast, but so far I like being down here!)

What are your family ties to NANA?

I’m a shareholder. My dad, Keith Wells, is full-Iñupiaq, so he’s a shareholder as well.

Who has inspired you? What is your favorite memory of this person?

I would have to say my grandfather, David Seppilu, from my mom’s side. I thought he was a fighter; throughout life he had it pretty hard, and he always had a “keep going” kind of attitude. I’m grateful for the time we spent together. I really looked up to him. 

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I like talking about my ethnicity. I’ve never really met anyone with the same culture as me. I’m half Iñupiaq and a quarter Siberian Yupik. People, especially down here, are really fascinated by it.

Where are you going to school?

I just completed my second year at the University of Alaska Anchorage. My first year I was at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, but I transferred. I wanted to change my degree and UAF didn’t have what I was looking for.

What are you studying?

I’m studying geomatic engineering (geomatics). I’m concentrating on land surveying. You do a lot of mapping. You measure areas where buildings are going to be built, and, based off of those measurements, other engineers know where to focus.

What year of school will you be coming in this fall?

I’ll be coming into my third year.

What was your first experience with (or memory of) NANA?

My first memory was probably of the NANA annual meetings. People from all of the villages travel by snow machine or plane to attend these meetings. Growing up in the village, that’s usually the first interaction you get with NANA.

Have you interned with NANA before and if so, what was your position?

No, this is my first internship with NANA, but I do like it so far. This is my seventh week, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot.

Who introduced the idea to work for NANA to you?

Nobody really. Living in Noorvik, I always knew a lot about NANA. My family encouraged me, but I always knew working for the corporation was an available opportunity.

What are your job responsibilities this summer?

As a project coordinator, I’ve been helping the entire company become more organized and more efficient with all of the information we have. We’re in the process of transitioning from paper to electronic files.

What goals do you hope to accomplish through your internship?

I hope to gain work experience and professionalism. Basically, I want to learn to do this work on my own. I think it’s definitely important to have some work experience when you apply for a job. At the end of the day, it can only help your success.  

“NANA will improve the quality of life for our people”

NANA internships give students the opportunity to:

  • Gain valuable applied experience.
  • Promote personal development.
  • Develop interpersonal and professional skills.

For more information visit the shareholder employment & development page.